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Morgan Hill Landscape Design Challenge

At the beginning of this year we released a series of blog posts detailing future design projects inside the new Borello Ranch estates community in Morgan Hill. We detailed the background behind the project, and provided a full look into four separate outdoor designs we had been hired to create. At the time, these projects were under construction. Today, they are nearly finished. One by one, we are going to show you the completed outdoor space.


In today’s blog post, we’ll revisit the fourth property to see how the clients’ dream outdoor space has been fully realized. This property featured a long, linear backyard that shared a property line with another one of the Borello Ranch projects in Morgan Hill. The clients were looking for a space that fit their modern, California aesthetic.


On the wishlist was a pool, outdoor spa, covered seating, and designated space for their dogs to run. After a few meetings and talking through different ideas with the clients, we settled on a practical layout that centered the pool, provided a covered spa and seating area, and plenty of room for landscaping to grow.


The before photos, seen below, show the beginning state of the property. Because all of the Borello Ranch constructions were new builds, the yards were blank slates.


The backyard before any construction or design intervention. This property shared a line with another of the Borello Ranch designs.


The Finished Space

Reviewing the finished space, we are thrilled with how this project came out. From covered spa and dining space, to the custom pool and sunken fire pit, this backyard can do it all. The best outdoor spaces are multi-purpose. This Borello Ranch backyard can seamlessly transition from Sunday mornings with the family to late night parties with friends.

A look at the new, custom pool complete with baja shelf, in-pool lighting, and tilework.

The main feature of the space is the pool. The homeowners were eager to have a pool that would serve as both an aesthetic and functional centerpoint. To create the custom pool of their dreams, we designed a long, linear swimming pool. At the close end, a square baja shelf provides a gentle entry and space for dogs and kids to splash. In-pool lighting transitions the space from day to night while adding ambience for safety and entertaining.

The covered living space. A pergola covers the new spa, dining area, and small outdoor kitchen.

Another item high on the client’s wishlist was outdoor living space. To them, this meant a covered space where they could sit and socialize, watch tv, eat a meal, or unwind after a long day. To create this, we build a custom pergola, closed on one side by a slatted privacy screen.


Against the far wall, a tv is mounted above a small sink and bar area. Against the privacy screen is the new spa. The pergola is large enough to house additional outdoor seating, as well as a large dining table to the left of the spa. Underfoot, interlocking concrete pavers keep the space looking modern while adding dimensional interest to the design.

A look at landscaped space, including a bench and winding gravel path.

The homeowners were clear that they didn’t want their backyard to feel like a concrete jungle. They wanted some green space, and landscaping that would grow and fill in as the years went on. To accommodate this, we included two auxiliary spaces on both sides of the main living space.


Above, you can see a gravel path that winds through landscaping that will continue to get larger and more lush. A bench at the back of the space provides a quiet opportunity for reflection, away from the noise and bustle of the pool.


The second auxiliary space, finished with seating, looking over the sunken fire pit and pool.

The second natural space is opposite the first. Looking over the fire pit and pool, a raised auxiliary patio is nestled into a corner amongst more native plantings. From here, the homeowners have a quieter, private space to sit and relax with family and friends without feeling completely isolated. To access this small patio, the homeowners walk along an angular path, surrounding a center island of greenery.


In the back half of the frame, you can see a fence. The long fence separates a large, green yard space that is cordoned off from the living area. This is the designated dog area. Keeping this space separate from the rest of the design gives the clients the freedom to let their dogs off leash without worrying about pool safety, or destruction to landscaping.


The fire feature, sunken in a “conversation pit” style.

As mentioned, the auxiliary patio looks over the new, custom fire pit. We wanted to inject a little bit of unexpected personality into this space. One of our favorite ways to do this is to play with elevation. To create a more intimate feel without using additional square footage, we decided to create a sunken fire pit next to the pool. Finished in the same coping and pavers as the pool and patio, the fit pit is both its own space and a continuation of the rest of the yard.


Explore More Finished Designs

This is the first of the finished Borello Ranch properties, but it will not be the last. We are excited to showcase each of the finished properties in the coming weeks. In the meantime, visit our blog for more deep dives into completed and in-process designs.


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