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Landscape Design

Terraced Backyard Swimming Pool

Two Georgia homeowners get a new multi-level outdoor entertaining space complete with a pool and spa, waterfall, pavilion and fire pit

  • This view across the pool shows the multi-level design of the landscape.
  • In the foreground of this shot is the fire pit and reverse bond beam wall and in the background is the pavilion.
  • Shown here is the pool and landscape lit at night for both safety and ambiance.
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Project Highlights:

  • Location: Woodstock, GA
  • Property size: 9,000 square feet
  • Budget: $225K

The owners of this home were looking for a way to turn their sloped backyard into a place where they could entertain friends and family. What they got was a pool and spa, pavilion with a kitchen, bathroom and storage, a fire pit and plenty of plants. Artistic Landscapes, the company responsible for this transformation, specializes in designing and installing the finest outdoor living spaces in the Atlanta-area.

According to Mark Keightley, owner of the company, there was more than 20 feet of elevation grade change from the back of the house to the property line. “Multi-terraced poolscapes are popular in Georgia and have become our specialty,” he says. “We saw the perfect opportunity to turn this hillside into a series of spaces that sit at different levels, yet still feel like a cohesive outdoor area.”

A series of four retaining walls were built to help take up the grade and create useable space. The highest wall is four feet tall and built of modular block, while the lower walls are half as tall and made of stacked stone. The pool sits in between the walls, with some space above and some space below. On the upper side of the pool, a raised bond beam supports a sun-bathing ledge as well as a naturalistic waterfall. On the lower side, a reverse bond beam wall features a unique stone design depicting the sun setting between mountain peaks.

Overall there are three main areas for entertaining in this backyard, the pool, the pavilion and the fire pit. Each space sits on a different level. The pavilion looks down onto the pool and the pool looks down on the fire pit. However, everything is tied together with the use of Tennessee medium stack stone and stamped concrete throughout. The pool was constructed using shotcrete and a freeform design was chosen to give the yard a natural feel.

The dirt that was excavated for the pool was then used to build up the area for the fire pit. “We brought in a Bobcat and packed down the dirt that was removed for the pool. This gave us a nice stable, flat area for constructing the fire pit,” Keightley says. Essentially the backyard was reshaped using all dirt from onsite.

At night, the landscape comes to life with lighting in the pool, along paths and in the trees. “The pool lights are color-changing LEDs that put on quite the show,” says Keightley. It is important to think about both safety and ambiance when lighting a landscape. Here, path lights illuminate steps and areas near walls, while uplights add drama by showing off the structure of various trees.

With the help of Artistic Landscapes, this backyard went from a neglected slope with drainage problems to an incredible outdoor living space that hosts family gatherings and even the occasional baptism. Suffice it to say that the homeowners are very satisfied.

Artistic Landscapes
Woodstock, GA

Contributing Author:

Sarah Hutchinson, contributing writer for Landscaping Network

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