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If you live in middle Tennessee, there’s a good chance you have new neighbors popping up everywhere you turn. You might find there are five more houses in your neighborhood than there were before, and you’re running out of yard and wooded areas. Or, perhaps you chose a small outdoor footprint to begin with.
While smaller outdoor spaces may require less maintenance, these yards can also require more creativity when it comes to maximizing the design and accommodating all your desired outdoor amenities.
That’s exactly what the Ruby family was wanting when they hired Gardens of Babylon and Palmingo Pools to partner together and tackle their backyard dreams.
What were the homeowners looking for?
The family of four was looking for a space they could relax and rest in without leaving the comfort of home, while still creating a space that looked polished and intentional.
“They were also looking for a true partner who could handle their project from design through execution to lighten their load by maintaining open communication and driving progress forward,” Amanda Stone, founder and general contractor of Palmingo Pools, said.
What did the property look like before the project began?
As Mike Omar, landscape designer at Gardens of Babylon, put it, the Rubys’ backyard “was nothing but a poorly drained yard with lots of tall weeds,” a disjointed deck and a sloped lawn.
They had less than 1,500 square-feet with which to work, all of which was squeezed between their house, garage and their neighbor’s property. In fact, the homeowners were unsure if they even had space to install a pool, especially with the backyard having a dramatic slope.
What was the biggest challenge?
The tight space created the biggest challenge in all aspects of this project. The dramatic slope and small outdoor footprint can be daunting even for the most skilled designer. The biggest challenge with this project quickly became the one needing conquering first.
How did you overcome that challenge?
“We worked closely with the Gardens of Babylon team on a layout that would open up the space, flow easily between features, and use different materials for aesthetic interest,” Stone said.
For the yard’s slope, a concrete wall was built on the property line in order to add more usable space to the backyard and level it out to accommodate a pool. While one might not think you could fit a usable pool and entertainment area in that small space, the teams were able to install a pool that was both big enough to entertain and small enough to heat with natural gas.
The teams decided on a Latham Corinthian 12’x25’ fiberglass pool with a Stationary Swim System Fast Lane Pro by Endless Pools. Not only is this pool choice great for a workout, but it’s also optimized for relaxation with a tanning ledge for lounging and two bench seats in the corner. They also opted to heat the pool with natural gas, so they can lengthen poolside entertainment well into the fall.
What was it like partnering with another company?
“The Gardens of Babylon team has such a unique eye for design,” Stone said. “Our partnership is strong because of our shared values of open communication, problem solving, and anticipating ripple effects of circumstances and changes.”
Having different teams working on the same project can be a pain for homeowners when they aren’t willing to work together or communicate. Hiring contractors with a preexisting relationship and who enjoy working together is essential for ensuring great design, open communication, and fewer headaches.
“Amanda Stone and I brainstormed two years ago on developing a relationship focusing on optional pool ideas for small spaces,” Omar said. “Our communication from the design to the installation to the follow up is seamless and a great experience for the client.”
What was your favorite part of the project?
“My favorite moment in the project was when we landed on the final design and we were off to the races,” Stone said. “It’s like the space was made for this design!”
As for the final product, both Omar and Stone noted the uses of artificial turf as a showstopper, and the composite wood fence and decking as another favorite feature that helped pull the final design together. And, they couldn’t forget the pool!
“Pools are like people-magnets!” Stone said. “The pool is the crown jewel of the yard, but what makes it so beautiful and custom is all that is happening around it with the stonework, artificial turf, and composite decking.”
How could homeowners implement these designs in their own yard?
The key to any home design project is not getting stuck in what the project looks like before you begin. It’s easy to let the “before” hinder you from creating your dream design for the after.
Omar suggested using horizontal lines throughout a design like this because it can be essential for such a small space – it creates an optical illusion and makes an area appear larger than it is. Stone suggested mixing materials and elevations – much like the horizontal lines, stonework, wood, and turf – to create interest, as “opposed to a ‘copy and paste’ look.”
Your yard doesn’t have to be bland because it’s small. With a little bit of creativity and hard work, you can create the outdoor space of your dreams. Do you need help getting started or want someone else to take care of the entire process for you? Come see us at the garden center, or schedule a consultation with one of our designers to have us bring your vision to life.