Pleasing The Palette

Alternatively, the 12-foot outdoor wood-burning fireplace, constructed with Mt. Moriah stacked stone, provides a desired glow and heat.

The casita’s roof, trim, custom gutters, and stacked stone are in harmony with the palette of the home. The casita is also equipped with an outdoor tile shower.

Anyone For A Dip?

This home and backyard retreat utilize water and its relaxing properties more than most. The main pool measures 20 feet by 40 feet, while the wading pool provides for the non-swimmers. The spa completes the invitation to get wet.

Numerous water spitters/fountains made of decorative copper are appropriately placed, while supportive LED lights enhance the effects of this wet-and-wild area.

As if the allure of the water isn’t enough, the beauty of the pools will definitely grab one’s attention. To enhance this beauty, there are 2,200 square feet of imported Turkish marble in walnut and Tahoe-blue colors laid in an Ashlar pattern. Finished with a coping of color-infused bull-nose concrete, it is an irresistible attraction.

The mechanics of the pool include a saltwater generator and LED lights, which are high-energy efficient and state-of-the-art.

Water features grace the landscape as well. A drip wall was created from mosaic tiles imported from India. These hand-laid tiles create a unique design not only appealing to the eye, but functional. The feature’s pools and troughs guide the water through a path that ultimately ends as a recycling and recirculation pathway.

A Stroke Of Genius

A custom putting green was installed, utilizing synthetic grass for those who want to sharpen their game. The green rolls on a stimp meter of 10, while offering four challenging holes. A small chipping area provides a great starting point to improve those “ups and downs.”

Outdoor Lighting

The home is softly illuminated with over 80 outdoor custom cooper and bronze light fixtures, strategically placed to draw attention to the various features of the spaces. A warm, rich ambience envelops the entire area during the evening hours.

We Did Start The Fire

A 4-foot gas fire pit at the north end of the project completed the amenities of the yard. To highlight the imported tiles, we utilized broken fire glass of various colors, which complemented the overall palette. Standard firebrick for temperature control in conjunction with regular CMU block was used for the basic construction of the box. The top deck of the pit was created from colored concrete, similarly used on the pool coping, and matching stacked stone as displayed in the 12-foot fireplace, discussed above.

Soft Shoulder Ahead

To soften the hardscape lines and change to vertical, numerous varieties of native California plants were introduced. Utilizing a combination of some tropical varieties allowed for blending and modifying the areas immediately surrounding the hardscape features.

Strategically placed plantings also provided the needed continuum of the color sequencing, while affording the opportunity to give a “splash” of highlights throughout. Numerous species and varieties of plants as well as many hard-to-obtain trees and shrubbery were provided with irrigation on an elaborate schedule and frequency.

Not Without Issues

As landscape designers and builders, we are aware of the normal problems that occur on any project. The delays due to obtaining permits, waiting for regulatory inspections, and often changinge orders are anticipated and dealt with on a daily basis, as they were with this project. With a project utilizing so many exotic and unique materials from Italy, India, and Brazil (to mention a few), those normal daily nuisances seemed insignificant by comparison to a delivery delay of off-shore materials.

However, with the benefits of detailed planning, total understanding of the project by subcontractors, work crews, and most importantly the homeowners, these delays were often minimized. Faced with an unexpected delivery delay, we were able to shift our focus to other aspects of the project and continue progress.

All in all, it actually worked out for the better!

Matt Preuss is the owner of The Cutting Edge, a landscape design firm in Carson, Calif. He can be reached at (310) 406-2251, visit

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