A Serene Sanctuary Calls for Reflection


Near the base of the Superstition Mountains, this modern, curvaceous home was begging for a more appealing yard and landscape design than just the typical closed in pool and patio. Joe and Diane Corvino, while living out of state for nearly the entire project, entrusted Kirk to bring his insights to their AZ home-away-from-home. Bianchi, delighted at the opportunity, sought to reflect and integrate the surrounding desert landscape of boulders and cacti to create an expansive, seamless-with-nature outdoor living experience.


Several large mature “salvaged” trees are craned in while the pool is yet under excavation, positioned in key locations to provide reflections from multiple living areas, both indoors and outdoors.

Three elements would be instrumental in Bianchi’s approach: unobtrusive fencing, an “edgeless” pool that blended into the native surroundings, and several large scale mature salvaged trees, craned in place, to bring the desert context right into the patio area.

By introducing a vanishing edge overflow detail to reflect the surroundings, Bianchi was able to take advantage of the incredible mountain backdrop and create a visually seamless transition between the patio, pool, and natural areas. Bianchi wanted the viewer to feel as though the desert spills down into the back patio.

The colors and materials were also key in blending the setting to the surrounding. Richer than your average travertine pavers were selected, to pick up the amber and caramel tones found in the home’s stone cladding and the desert floor beyond. A steel colored tile was used for the pool overflow, and a glass spa, crowning the jewel of the yard, was also blended by selecting a tile that pulled from the yellow brittle bush flowers and palo verde greens immediately behind the setting.


The amber and grey green glass tiles were chosen by Bianchi for the spa to visually merge the coloration of the mountains and desert landscape.

The stone cladding of the home was further distributed around the yard as well, adorning several site walls, seat benches, and even the bbq facing.

Barely visible, the rebar fence is the key to this scenes success. It’s lack of a top horizontal bar, and staggered height, dissolves the line that would otherwise catch ones eye and enclose the space.

Bianchi, loving to collaborate with experts in their craft, brought designer Morgan Holt of EarthArt Landscape in to further the planting and lighting design, and then implement the construction of the site work, while Tyler Matthews of Natural Reflections was instrumental in bringing the pool to fruition.

Holt crafted a fence that blended perfectly into the landscape, made of 1” rebar stakes, 4” gaps to keep out large animals, and rust-colored to match the desert coloration. Each stake is at a different height in order to dissolve what could otherwise be a clearly delineated and distracting fence line. The staggered heights make it harder for the eye to follow, rendering the fence all the more invisible.


Holt carried over the vanishing edge and modern design from the swimming pool to create a showpiece front entry planter.  The symmetrical cacti flow straight into the desert landscape echoed the concept of the vanishing edge pool.

One of the striking characteristics of the home was a sweeping radius arc that delineated the roofline and shape of the back patio. Always looking for cues and precedent, this line could not be ignored. Instead, Bianchi reinforced this feature by carrying the same curvatures out into the patio and form of the pool itself, so that the elements then played off of each other.

The swimming pool borrowed lines from the home’s curvaceous architecture, and was positioned to reflect the mountain and vegetation from every angle.

“It was a privilege to bring this site to its full potential for the Corvino’s,” Bianchi says. “When one enters the space, immediately you feel light, and your cares lift away, and you never want to leave! THAT is what I do. Pools, landscape, lighting, these are merely tools to bring about that emotional response. For every client, no matter the scale or setting, I seek to create that perfect place to live out every day, the place you long to come back to, the place to call home.”


Paradise Restored

The artful touch of Bianchi Design on this home unlocks the jewel hidden within.

A neglected ’60s ranch in Paradise Valley, Az, situated along the north face of Camelback Mountain was not only dated, it was never designed to take in the spectacular setting afforded by its prime location in the first place.

Recognizing the opportunity at hand, Bianchi was entrusted to craft and unveil a vision for this property that would completely transform it into the gem it longed to be.

Celebrate, share, and watch as the metamorphosis unfolds!

A Complete Metamorphosis

A complete metamorphosis was needed to bring out the buried treasure hidden beneath this yard, and a family of five rattlesnakes had to find a new home!

A glass tile vanishing edge spa becomes the foreground focal point.

Here’s the short list of the awkward elements that had to be remedied:


View of neighbors living room and kitchen windows, and corner ramada from the no-room-to-stand patio.

First, the neighbors’ living room window peered perpetually (like, all the time) and directly into the yard with no privacy whatsoever. None.

Second, the vast deep end swallowed up the patio and provided no place for furniture, or walking. Only tripping and treading water was allowed.


Closeup of lawn pit and the why-would-I-come-here ramada.

Third, the sunken lawn must have been an arena of some sort! Intentionally excavated from natural grade a full -42″ from the patio, for no good reason.

Fourth, the not-worth-a-visit ramada was the focal point for the entire yard. See it up close! It’s gone.

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A spa is way over there. Don’t step in the boulders. Don’t fall in the trough. Or the deep end.

Fifth, the spa was shoved against the farthest wall and provided no invitation. It was so bad, it never had a photo taken! See the statue peeing between the two short columns? It’s over there. Peeing in the corner as all little boys are want to do.

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How do I get over there, and, do I want to?

Sixth, the bbq and fire place were non-functional and equally uninviting, and here’s a better view of just how crowded the furniture is. Don’t fall in!


View from the matador’s arena. What else could it have been for?

Last, we will not mention the boulder pile droppings distributed around the yard. Oops! Sorry.HoosePool5.29.14The first order of business was to spend several weeks tearing out everything but the pool shell. Then another few weeks were spent wheelbarrowing in a few hundred yards of top soil (there was no access) to fill the matador pit flush to a more relatable -18″. The large gaping trough was then discretely hidden with large removable stones, so it was out of sight but still serviceable.

Second, the neighbor was screened instantly with a row of mature Texas Ebony trees in a raised planter, that also housed a sculptural ironwood tree as the focal point of the property, soon to be reflected in the pool’s richer Midnight Blue pebble tec finish.

A hundred or so yards of shotcrete filled not only the reclaimed deep end, but also created a sun shelf and spa ledge, now the focal jewel in the foreground as a 360 overflow vanishing edge spa clad in Pewter glass tile from Oceanside Glass, and viewed from all the interior living spaces.

The BBQ was tucked around the corner out of sight but still easy access. The fireplace for two gave way to a large inviting built in banco, with a splashes of colorful fabrics to draw one out. The fire pit serves about 10 people easily, for hours at a time.

Last but not least, the foreground of the pool became a sweeping entry shelf extending the full length of the pool, bedecked with fiberoptic starlights and six glowing bubblers set low, to just barely break the surface of the water, giving a lovely and tranquil sound while sleeping away with all retractable doors wide open.

Simple. Serene. Self-evident.  That is the remedy.

If your project needs a similar touch, more or less, drop me a line and we’ll figure out a plan.

Enjoy the before and after pictures below!

Kirk Bianchi



Outdoor Living as an Art Form

As an outdoor architectural designer, I bring together three disciplines; landscape, swimming pool, and exterior architecture, to form one harmonious vision that will transform and liven your outdoor experience. Ordinary settings become extraordinary.

For a complimentary consult, drop a line at our Contact page.

Professional Pool and Landscape Designer vs. Swimming Pool Salesmen

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Many people have the misconception that qualified designers are only needed for extremely high-priced projects. In reality, every project needs a good designer. A good design ensures that you end up with a tastefully completed project. It can also help you get more value for your construction dollars and swimming pool cost.

This geometrically distinct home was stuck with a boring, arbitrary kidney shaped pool, but by integrating a patio and landscape design that amplified and stitched the shapes together, the two were reconciled.

This geometrically distinct home was stuck with a boring, arbitrary kidney shaped pool, but by integrating a patio and landscape design that amplified and stitched the shapes together, the two were reconciled.

You don’t want to get stuck with a run of the mill design, or one that is in poor taste. Find yourself a professional designer and then a builder, not just a pool salesman or a well-intentioned contractor. Any Joe with a pencil and paper can draw a “design” with a pile of rock waterfall at one end. But more cunning, 3D software is now available so that even entry-level sales people / contractors can prepare “sophisticated” looking 3D renderings. However, it takes someone with actual architectural design and artistic education and innate skills, along with construction experience, to design and build you a pool and landscaping that is appropriate, in keeping with the architectural style of your home, and something truly unique to your backyard.
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Why do people get in a rut and end up settling for less? Sometimes it’s because we don’t realize what we are missing out on or are apprehensive about the supposed disruptions and effort it will take to make a change.

We might say, “I don’t know what I don’t know. I don’t know where to start, and I’m afraid to make a costly mistake.”


Or, like the homeowner who recently demolished a dysfunctional and off-putting, non-inviting backyard and pool design and had it completely redone with the help of Phoenix landscape design and pool experts, we fear the embarrassment or financial regret that comes from having made the wrong or uninformed decision.
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