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Las Estrellas Streamlined

A Sleek Solution, Streamlined

This edited, lighter design still features overlapping rectangular forms to unite the varying locations in the yard.

This refined version of the previous design shows that it is really the underlying layout that drives the design. As long as that is intact, a lot of elements can be reduced to their essence without detracting from the overall effect.

In this example, all of the raised planter walls have been eliminated and the landscape is flush to the ground plane, yet the organization and grouping of focal elements remain the same.  The spa that was once raised 12″ above grade, is now only slightly so. Seven inches above water makes it flush to the ground plane.

The backdrop to the fire, instead of a wall with a cantilevered trellis, has been distilled down to three vertical trellis panels. A lighter version that still defines the space and distracts ones view to the neighbors house beyond. The same vertical motif was repeated at the spa in lieu of the Saguaro cacti.

An element that is retained is the tile retaining edge at both planters and lawn. Small details like this are affordable and have a great impact toward dissolving the defined edges of the pool, allowing it to be more seamlessly integrated in the space.



Las Estrellas Design One

A Sleek Solution

Overlapping rectangular forms were crafted to weave foreground, central spaces with distant corners of this elongated, shallow yard.

To create interplay between distant spaces,  strong focal elements were established throughout the yard, and edges were erased by thinning boundary profiles to their thinnest component. The result is that panels of lawn then merge seamlessly with panels of water, while slightly elevated rectangular vessels serve as weighty sockets for key landscape features to plug into, drawing the eye from afar.

An art wall does double duty, serving also as a screen wall (to shield a view to a neighbors house beyond), and as a structural support for an elongated, cantilevered trellis. The overhead element lends both shade and a sense of intimacy to the “floating” couch beneath.

A sun shelf in the foreground perfectly aligns to a slightly elevated planter behind, showcasing a specimen Joshua Tree viewed directly from the main living area. Nine rills of water also accentuate this focal point, serving as the main water feature. Westward to the right, a similar socket continues the language and features organ pipe cacti, to be viewed from the master bedroom. Relief is interjected between these two weighty elements by visually lightening the wall that connects the two planters.  Tile facing set 2″ higher than the connecting wall allows it to be covered over with granite, obscuring it and rendering its mass wafer thin. A similar raised tile profile on the foreground pool edge allows the lawn and water to merge visually, blurring the edges even further.

Continuing the theme of interlaced rectangles, the diagonal focal point of the yard is a vanishing edge spa, with a fire feature just beyond. The flames were set to dance and reflect in the spas mirrored surface, while casting a warm, inviting and flickering light over the more secluded side of the yard.

Enjoy the tour and let me know your thoughts below!


Transform Your Back Yard with Good Swimming Pool Design and Quality Landscaping Ideas

“My backyard is ugly and uninviting… not a place that I would welcome friends and family.” Does this sound familiar? Plenty of people buy their home based on how it looks from the curb or how the rooms are laid out with little regard to the outdoor living areas. In fact, very often the back yard is completely neglected. Eventually, the idea occurs to homeowners that they could maximize the beauty and enjoyment of their home by giving this area some attention, so they begin to field the options for pool and landscape design. And here’s where a lot of well-meaning people run into trouble.

BEFORE: This elliptical but generic pool with useless decking areas and no visual focal point for a backdrop left the homeowners very uninspired.

BEFORE: This elliptical but generic pool with useless decking areas and no visual focal point for a backdrop left the homeowners very uninspired.

That’s because they either try the DIY way hoping to achieve the “magazine cover” effect, or something close to it, or they end up placing their big project in the hands of contractors and salespeople who are neither architects nor designers.
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