From 3D rendering to living breathing reality
The homeowner tells us that landscape architect Howard Cohen’s design concept for this Herndon Virginia swimming pool, spa and waterfall design was “98% accurate.” The 3D renderings were beautiful, he said, and really helped him to visualize the final outcome. The finished outdoor environment turned out even more beautiful than he’d imagined it would be. Everyone loves it—especially the snakes. The what? We’ll get to that….
Creating a balanced composition
It took some grit and imagination to finesse a plan that would deliver the elaborate pool environment the client desired. The landscape architect was challenged to extract maximum functionality from limited space. A fair portion of the buildable area was already occupied by an outdoor fireplace, patio and retaining wall. These existing landscape features had to be preserved and woven successfully into the overall design. The trick was to create a balanced composition, one that would not look or feel crowded with too many features set too closely together.
The grass steps that Howard designed were really amazing. That’s one really cool thing that stands out on the property that I really enjoy. Surrounds client, Herndon VA
These photos of the finished project demonstrate how seamlessly the new swimming pool and waterfall environment integrates with the fireplace and patio area.
A surprise benefit
An unexpected benefit of the landscape design is privacy. The homeowner attributes this to the way the landscape architect developed the site. He says, “You’d think that neighbors walking by would be able to see something that takes up that much area. But you can’t. The way it slopes down hill it is impossible to see that pool from the street. It’s just at a perfect angle to be hidden especially with the landscaping.”
The pitch of the slope and the various levels of landscaping work together to create what feels like a completely natural screening—but it is the result of a thoughtful design plan.
You can see in the photos that the swimming pool is set very close to the house, much closer than we would normally prescribe. This, too, is a result of our need to get all the features we wanted into a limited area. The many levels and curving lines create visual definition and help soften the edges where landscape features meet. The plantings also help to soften borders and define areas so the visual effect is composed.
A different kind of surprise
This happens rarely according to our pool installer, Town & Country Pools. But it does happen sometimes when you create an outdoor environment with rock walls and boulders. And our Herndon homeowner tells us it happened to him every day at around 2pm: “When you build that beautiful rock wall waterfall, it is a natural habitat for a snake to have a nice Saturday afternoon in the sun. They love it. They love to lay on the rocks. They aren’t poisonous but people hate them. They don’t bother me because I lived on a farm and I’ve dealt with them for a long time. But there are a couple of people that swam in my pool that won’t come back….”
Well. This was embarrassing. It wasn’t anyone’s fault—least of all—the snakes. But still… Our friends at Town & Country Pools were kind enough to tell us about a product called Snake Away that is easy to use. It’s a granular product that you spread around the perimeter of the area where your serpentine party crashers congregate. Our client told us that he spread the product all around the rocks: “And sure enough, that was the end of them. They never came back. It’s like an invisible fence. My neighbor had a problem with them around one his basement windows. He put some of that stuff out and never had a problem after that.”
Why mention this? Are we trying to scare you away from building one of our most popular type of water features? Of course not. We think it’s good for our clients to be informed. It’s the same when we are selecting plants or specimen trees for a garden. We want you to know if a species requires special care or is vulnerable to certain diseases or pests because, when you make an informed choice, you can take proper steps to maintain and protect the health of the plant. Same thing here. In the unlikely event that your particular neighborhood has a population of critters that are attracted to your water features. We have humane ways of discouraging them. That’s really all there is to it. We thank our client for bringing this to our attention. And we hope that all his guests will return to enjoy great times at his gorgeous waterfall and swimming pool.
If you would like to explore possibilities for making the most of your backyard (or front yard), please feel free contact one of our landscape architects.