San Jose Landscape Design: Custom Pool, Raised Deck, and More
Many of the before and after landscape design challenges we showcase on the blog are yards that are starting from square one. Often, the outdoor space is empty, and our clients are looking to transform the space from a blank canvas. However, this is not always the case. In today’s San Jose landscape design challenge, we will visit a finished project that started in a yard that featured a good deal of previous design work.
As you can see above, a good deal of work had already been done in this outdoor space by the time Water and Earth got involved. When we were contacted by these homeowners, their backyard already housed two separate patio spaces, a pool, gazebo, and spa. However, they were not happy with the overall cohesion, look, or function of the existing space and were ready to kick things up a notch.
Above you can see the old finished pool and overflow spa. Like the rest of the yard, the old space was a far cry from the sleek, modern aesthetics of the homeowners. Additionally, the yard was lacking functionality and many of the features that our clients were looking for. In addition to a new design direction, they were looking to add a functional outdoor kitchen, covered living space, a fire pit, and upgrade their landscaping and fencing.
After sitting down with the clients and talking through their dreams and goals for their backyard, we got to work. The space was large, and we knew that we had a good deal of room to create a design that they would truly love. This collaboration with the homeowners resulted in a presentation of two design directions–Concept A and Concept B.
The first design direction, seen above, uses modern hardscaping, geometric angles, and custom hardscaping to create a finished space that is as unique as it is practical. Starting at the left side of the rendering, the homeowners enter the space from the front yard by stepping through a gate and onto a large, paver pathway. As the walk along the path, the brand new sunning deck is elevated above the custom pool, finished with a water feature wall using three waterfall scuppers.
From this paver walkway, the clients can step beneath their new covered outdoor kitchen and bar. Leaving plenty of dining space, the custom covered structure gives the homeowners all-season access to their outdoor space. From here, the homeowners can step toward the back of their property to gather with friends around the fire pit, or left to their new, in-pool spa and baja shelf.
Green space was also important for this family. Flanking a long pathway of concrete steppers, a large turf sport court and play area give kids and pets plenty of room to run, jump, and play. Finishing the design is a brand new retaining wall, completed with large natural plantings and the home’s existing old-growth trees.
In the second design concept, seen above, many of the same factors are at play. However, the layout has essentially been flipped on its head. Upon entering along the same paver walkway on the left side of the frame, the homeowners are not greeted by the pool, but by the large turf and spot court area. Relocating this green space means that the living and entertainment areas are now along the back perimeter of the home.
As the paver walkway commences, the homeowners overlook their new pool and spa area. Here, the pool is nestled along the back boundary of the property. The large water feature wall overlooks a new baja shelf, in-pool spa, and a new raised tanning desk.
From here, the clients would step down onto a paver patio covered by a custom patio cover that is anchored to the main home. Beneath the cover is the main living space, featuring a firepit and outdoor kitchen and bar. Continuing further right, the clients step out and into their outdoor dining space with additional patio square footage. As in the first design, the backyard is finished with a large retaining wall and landscaping, as well as Outdeco garden panels and a brand new lighting plan.
After viewing both design concepts, the clients decided that the first design direction, Concept A, featured the most favorable layout. However, they wanted to make some minor adjustments and additions before they committed.
Changes in the final design include a raised deck and bar in the upper left corner of the space. As well as this, the homeowners wanted additional auxiliary patio space. To allow this to fit, the side of the sports court was slightly reduced to make room for a large auxiliary patio and dining area along the right side of the outdoor living space.
After reviewing this final design direction, the clients were satisfied and were eager to see the 2D renderings brought to life. To do this, we moved to the next step of the process–3D renderings.
We are always excited when a design reaches the 3D rendering stage. While 2D is a critical first step in the design process, there is little that beats the excitement from showing a client their design brought to life. 3D renderings allow the clients to see what their finished space will really look like when all is said and done. For many clients, this promised vision of their finished space makes the months of construction easier to endure.
Above you see the final concept brought to life. The paver pathway leads the clients into the space, nestled among old grown trees and lush landscaping. Pathway lights add extra functionality and navigability at all hours. As the clients walk, the pathway ends and the space opens up into their new backyard.
In the aerial rendering above, you see the brand new pool, spa, and baja shelf. The inlaid spa, custom coping, and inlaid tanning space give the homeowners plenty of room to splash around, relax, or soak up the sun.
Directly behind the finished pool is the raised deck that was added in the final addition of the design. In this rendering you can see how it is elevated above the rest of the space. This choice, as well as the TimberTech planks, lends an “adult treehouse” feel to the deck. Here, a bar provides additional seating, and a place to sit and look over the rest of the backyard.
Stepping down from the deck, you see the new covered kitchen and dining space rendered above. The kitchen offers plenty of counter space for food preparation, as well as a large island that doubles as bar seating. Behind the bar is the new fire pit, finished with a built-in seat wall that extends from the new retaining wall along the backside of the property.
Finally, the far side of the yard features the extended auxiliary paver patio complete with dining furniture and a basketball hoop. The remainder of the yard is finished with turf and dense natural planting that add greenery and organic texture back into this modern outdoor living space.
The Finished Space
When construction was finished, the homeowners in this San Jose landscape design challenge were left with a custom outdoor living space of their dreams. Seeing the rendering spring to life is always exciting, but when they match this closely, it's always very special.
Entering the backyard, the homeowners step onto their new concrete walkway. Surrounding the new path are their old growth trees and warm toned mulching. Spot lighting brings the trees to life as the sun goes down, while pathway lights help carry foot traffic through the darker corners safely.
Stepping into the yard, you see the landscaping continues with flowering planted in a bed behind the brand new custom pool. Along the fence, trees are staked. Over the years these will grow and create additional privacy and shade for the homeowners. In the center of this space is the new custom pool, complete with an integrated spa and tanning shelf. The pool deck is finished with sleek TechoBloc Para style pavers, which are seen again on the auxiliary patio space at the other side of the yard.
At the back of the yard you find one of the most unique elements of this outdoor living space. The raised deck is elevated above the rest of the space. The tone of the TimberTech boards ties beautifully into the natural color of the bark of the property’s existing trees, creating an effect that is reminiscent of a tree house. To finish the space staggered step lights illuminated the two tiers of the deck, emitting a warm and inviting glow in the evenings.
Stepping down off of the deck, the Para pavers continue, forming the base for the new firepit. From this vantage point you can see beneath the custom patio cover fitted with recessed lighting, outdoor fans, and a mounted TV.
Beneath the custom patio cover, a new pattern emerges in the form of TechoBloc Westmount style pavers. Changing this hardscaping allows the covered dining space to feel separated from the rest of the entertainment space, contributing to a more elevated indoor/outdoor feel.
The outdoor kitchen is fully functional, and fitted with a top of the line grill, pizza oven, sink, and storage space. The walls of the island and kitchen space are finished in Techo-Bloc Graphix Wall pattern, giving more texture and dimension to the finished design. Along the perimeter of the yard you see a new, white stucco retaining wall with mounted spotlights.
Moving from the covered patio space to the far side of the yard, you see the original Para pavers continue along the large turf play space. This greenery adds a functional area for kids, pets, and friends to play and stretch their legs. In the corner of the frame you see the cap of the retaining wall, created with another Techo-Bloc product called a Raffinato Cap.
Looking over the entire space from an aerial vantage point you can see how all of these new elements and materials combine to create the modern backyard getaway these clients were dreaming of. From the custom pool and spa, to the funky, fun elevated deck and the sleek covered kitchen, this finished San Jose landscape design has everything a family could want.