When you walk into this backyard oasis, there are three areas where you can spend your time: the pool (now re-done), the sunken fire pit, or the hidden hot tub in the back corner. By creating a yard with multiple 'layers,' we wanted to have an oasis (or three!) within an oasis right in this Virginia Beach homeowner's backyard.
While some of this structure already existed, it wasn't welcoming - pea gravel around the pool isn't exactly friendly to bare feet! - and needed a big upgrade. We surrounded the pool with pavers and re-made their diving board, adding two full palettes of concrete to create a solid foundation. For the sunken fire pit, we made sure the space felt connected to the pool while still being separate, with a small step as a transition piece. Techo bloc creates an eye-catching area for a table and chairs to break up the paver pattern, and behind wooden panels is a hot tub area for a private, intimate setting so guests can truly get away.
This driveway was originally asphalt layered with gravel and it just wasn't working for these homeowners. We transformed the non-workable space into a 5500 square foot paver-style driveway complete with some extra flair.
Because we built this in Newport News, there were a few extra steps: permits, approvals, a reinforced apron, and more. We also dealt with some surprising angles to make this as friendly to driving in and out as possible and create a family-friendly space for the homeowners and their grandkids.
Are you landscaping around the ugly parts?
It’s not uncommon to have something in the yard you want to hide. Utility boxes, telephone poles, fire hydrants, maybe a power box. Unfortunately, these are often in the middle of the yard, creating an unsightly feature in a place where you are trying to relax and enjoy nature.
For a lot of people, the prevailing wisdom might be to plant a group of bushes around these utilities to hide them. Some use a clump of flowering drift roses or maybe some low Ligustrum, I even see some grasses with a boulder and river rock placed around unwanted yard elements.
I usually discourage from this practice. Even if the plants add beauty to the yard, placing them right next to the object you are trying to hide often draws even more attention to it. Sure, there might be a beautiful bed of white roses...but you'll also notice the power box behind the bush as you enjoy your flowering plant. Even worse, in the winter, flowers and bushes are often bare, which creates layers of objects that you'd rather draw attention away from instead of highlighting them!
So the question reminds: how can you hide ugly parts of your yard or installations that you wish you could move? My vote might surprise you: just leave them alone! Instead, spend time and effort creating an amazing landscape at the front of the house. A welcoming entrance and landscaping can pull attention to your home, which in turn draws the eyes away from those yard elements that you wish would just disappear.
Here are a few examples of some homeowners who did just that using outdoor lighting, beautiful landscaping, stunning patio designs, and more!
About Easton Outdoors
We started out as the neighborhood lawn boys – a group of high school friends trying to make some pocket change. It soon became more. We realized how much we enjoyed landscaping. Over the years, we've transformed hundreds of properties, beautified countless landscapes, and made many homeowners proud. This has become our passion!