By Stacy Moser
The temperature is soaring and you’re feeling frazzled. Close your eyes and imagine relaxing next to a babbling brook or wiggling your toes in the sand while the ocean’s waves crash around you. No time for a beach vacation? Try adding a tantalizing splash to your environment, like these savvy landscape designers did—bringing the serenity of the water’s edge to their clients’ backyards.
This stunning backyard combines the natural elements of fire and water with a unique, modern twist. “We put a gas burner inside a fountain in the middle of the patio to make it look like the water is on fire,”explains Evan Horning, a partner with Neptune Pools. The playful design features a path across the pool made from concrete pavers that seem to float across the surface of the water. Adding to the ambience, the sound of rushing water emanates from several fountains throughout the space. And rough-hewn stone tiles lining the pool create a beautiful contrast with the polished surface of the concrete.
Pool size: 40,000 square feet
Design and installation: Atlantis Pools & Spas, LLC | AtlantisPoolsGa.com
Just because your yard is situated on a steep slope doesn’t mean you don’t have design options for a swimming pool. “This home was situated on a rough landscape with a pond at the bottom of the yard and a 16-foot drop in elevation,” says Atlantis Pools & Spas, LLC owner and designer Bruce Todd. “The solution was to use the side yard for the pool installation.” Todd used several retaining walls to hold back the slope and create terraces for shrubs.A water slide is a focal point, running from the top of the slope to the pool at the bottom. He had relaxation in mind, too, when he designed the pool with a tanning ledge entry, complete with a built-in receptacle to hold a beach umbrella.
Consult a professional. Retaining walls require careful design and construction—consult a professional about proper materials and installation methods.
Pond size: 430 square feet
Design and installation: Artistic Landscapes | ArtisticLandscapes.com
Mark Keightley, owner of Artistic Landscapes, put his design skills to the test with this peaceful retreat in his own backyard. He started with over a dozen Japanese Maples to establish the feel of a forest and used river rock to create the fireplace. “I added lighting, irrigation, shrubbery—the works!” he explains. He then turned his attention to the garden’s water feature—the koi pond. “My favorite part of my pond is the championship koi I’ve collected over the years. Many are rare and irreplaceable. I use high-quality filtration equipment to keep the pond clean and healthy.”He also uses low-voltage LED fixtures to light the pond and waterfall. “Fish are strongly attracted to light and they congregate in well-lit sections of the pond, putting on a nighttime show!”
Did you know? Koi fish can live over 50 years and weigh 20 pounds each—so plan a pond that gives them lots of room.
Fun Water Ideas for Hotlanta
Simple, budget-friendly options for people and pets
12 square feet
Timothy S. Adams
T.S. Adams Studio,
While an outdoor shower where hikers, bikers, and dogs can clean up may seem like a decadent idea, it’s surprisingly easy to install and is budget-friendly.
“The challenge we encountered here was finding the ideal location for the shower, both for convenience and privacy,” says architect Timothy S. Adams. Locating the shower in a side yard makes use of a normally ignored outdoor space where privacy and access are typically plentiful. “This shower head is right around seven and a half feet above the shower floor.
We felt it was important to include a handheld nozzle and a foot wash. Both hot and cold water lines were installed for those chilly mornings or warm afternoons,” Adams explains.
Visit your home-improvement store for birdbaths, sprinklers, and pet water fountains.