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  • Writer's pictureWELD

Sleek and Simple San Jose Landscape Design Challenge

Part of great landscape design is knowing when to keep things simple. In today’s landscape design challenge, we visit a recently completed project at a local San Jose property. The clients had a decent space to work with, but were focused on achieving a sleek and simple backyard that would be great for relaxing, entertaining, and spending time with family and friends.


On their list was a new firepit, covered living and dining space, and an outdoor spa they could enjoy year round. They wanted a sleek, modern look and plenty of comfortable, low maintenance green space, as well as an updated planting and lighting plan to elevate the backyard living space. While many clients stop at the backyard, these homeowners were looking for a front yard facelift as well. On the docket was a brand new driveway and front approach to upgrade the home’s curb appeal, while matching the new backyard living space.


After several meetings with the clients, we approved a design direction and construction began. Today, the space is finished and the homeowners will be able to enjoy their new outdoor living space for years to come.


The Finished Space

front yard approach curb appeal landscape design in San Jose ca

Starting in the front of the home, you see the simple but effective upgrades to the property’s curb appeal. On the left, a large lawn space adds a shock of green. Bisecting the yard is a large front approach. Creating this pathway are concrete pavers inlaid into a bed of gravel and dotted with pathway lighting. To the right of the pathway, the space is softened by a planting bed, finished with low growing and flowering plants for color and texture.

techobloc paver driver modern paver driveway

Seen above, the new driveway has been finished, offering ample parking space. The modern TechoBloc pavers in a variegated slate gray finish mirror those used in the back of the home, creating cohesion between the two yards. The color lends itself to a timeless, modern design while the geometric pattern adds personality and dimension. The finished result is a beautiful, inviting front yard that looks great, even from the street.

backyard landscape design southern ca finish lawn landscaping

Moving through the gate toward the backyard, you see the TechoBloc pavers from the driveway continue to form a pathway into the living space. Studded with more pathway lighting and softened with native grasses, the pathway leads the homeowners into the space, and toward their covered dining area.

covered living space pergola custom outdoor dining and outdoor kitchen

Stepping up onto their new dining area, the clients are shielded from the harsh midday sun by a slatted wooden pergola finished with steel supports and anchored on three sides of the home by SkyLife hardware. Underfoot, cool toned TimberTech composite decking blends seamlessly into the gray TechoBloc pavers. Alongside the house, a new green and bar peninsula create plenty of room for outdoor cooking.

string lights custom fire pit

From the covered dining area, the homeowners step down into their living space. Centered in the middle of the TechoBloc patio is a large, TechoBloc Borealis fire pit, the same unique material that lines the walls of the outdoor kitchen and bar. Again, repeating these materials in different areas of the design creates a natural through line. This way, each space functions independently, but ties back to other areas throughout the yard.


Above the living area, string lights twinkle as the sun goes down. Attached at one end to the pergola, and the other to a steel arbor, this creates both enhanced ambience as well as functional light that allows this backyard living space to transition easily from day to night.

custom outdoor spa private spa design outdoor landscape design San Jose

As discussed, the homeowners were also looking to add a custom spa to their outdoor space. To this, we created a custom gunite spa, complete with concrete coping and feature lighting. Set in a corner of the space, the spa functions as sort of a distanced retreat from the main outdoor living area. It is set back from the center of the yard by a sequence of concrete steppers, and surrounded on all sides by greenery and flowering landscaping. The impact is a design feature that functions almost as an island, offering a quieter retreat from the main drag without feeling cut off.

finished landscape design

Looking at the space from an aerial view, you see the simplistic but highly functional layout that brings this finished backyard together. Enclosing the perimeter of the property is a new, eight foot tall cedar fence that offers privacy and some warm wood appeal, bouncing off the cool grays of the hardscaping. Finally, a new planting plan adds greenery, while turf leaves room for kids or pets to play.


All projects are unique. In this San Jose design challenge, simplicity reigned supreme. At the end of the day, our clients were left with a beautiful, functional backyard that offers space for the whole family. To explore more modern designs visit our blog! For day to day updates on all of the latest Water and Earth projects, follow us on Instagram.



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