Architectural Gardens, Inc
4 Reviews

Before-and-After: Forested Retreat

This contemporary split-level home now sits amid a woodland oasis complete with a turquoise pool, koi pond, two stone waterfalls, and a spa – with plenty of space for al fresco lounging and dining. The large property, nestled in a wooded area, was extensively renovated to suit the active lifestyle of the new owners.

The primary focus was transforming the 1970’s era backyard and pool area into a contemporary outdoor living space with resort-caliber amenities and scenic vistas. Working cautiously around the existing in-ground pool, all other elements in the dated landscape were removed. The size of the pool deck was nearly doubled to accommodate an outdoor kitchen, spa, spacious dining and lounging areas, a fire pit, and a waterfall-slide feature. The homeowners also added a pool house and game room at one end – featuring wall-to-wall folding glass doors that open on to the idyllic setting.

To expand the terrace outward and create more space for seating and planting, a new 3’ high retaining wall was built along the back of the pool. The expanded pool deck with its improved circulation easily accommodates 25 guests and offers numerous seating options. The custom-built outdoor kitchen features a grill, refrigerator, closed storage, prep areas, and bar seating. The placement of the structure affords easy access to the house while it partitions the dining area from the high activity of the pool area.

A naturalistic pond and waterfall was constructed in a clearing surrounded by dense woods toward the front of the property - where the owners could look upon it from their home office. The approximately 22’ x 15’ pond narrows in the center where the owners could place a wooden foot-bridge. Off to the side is a cozy sitting area ideal for enjoying quiet moments and the beauty of nature.

The landscape renovation concluded with the re-design of the front entry for a more spacious and updated walk and reception area. The same pavers used for the rear patio and pool deck were also used at the front entry for continuity.
Country: United States
Before Photo
Forested Retreat - Before and After
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The new homeowners wanted to keep the existing in-ground pool which was in good shape. However, the disjointed layout with its Astro Turf-covered pool deck, rotting timber walls, and dated hedges, would be eliminated.
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Forested Retreat - Before and After
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Water, electrical, irrigation, lighting, and A/V runs were routed under the new 2200 s.f. pool deck. Approximately 15 low voltage lighting fixtures illuminate the area at night.The expanded pool deck provides new opportunities for enjoying the landscape from several perspectives and provides ample seating for larger gatherings. Flowering shrubs and perennials along the border ...More
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Forested Retreat - Before and After
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In conjunction with the landscape renovation, the owners decided to put on an addition which would serve as a game room and pool house. The foundation for that structure was formed and poured prior to the start of the landscape renovation.
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Forested Retreat - Before and After
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A custom outdoor kitchen of Eden stone with a granite countertop was constructed with all the amenities the homeowners desired - including casual bar seating. The masonry base separates the cooking area from poolside activities.
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Forested Retreat - Before and After
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This well-built brick home located in suburban Chicago was situated on a large, secluded lot which offered both open and wooded spaces. A dramatic landscape makeover would transform this "diamond in the rough" into a resort-like oasis for the new homeowners.
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Forested Retreat - Before and After
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The homeowners wanted enough space around the pool for lounge chairs. A new 119 ft. long retaining wall was constructed 8’ away from where the previous wall was located. The grade was filled-in utilizing excavated clay from the pool house addition.
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Forested Retreat - Before and After
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The property drops off on the left, just outside the hedge. To widen the pool deck the existing retaining wall was removed and the area was back-filled to order to gain an additional 325 s.f. of living space along the back side of the pool.
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Forested Retreat - Before and After
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Careful planning and coordination with other contractors was needed so that the new addition, built-in spa, new waterfall/slide feature, as well as the landscape renovation could progress simultaneously. The finished pool-scape and patio and garden areas created the outdoor retreat the clients wanted.
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Forested Retreat - Before and After
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With such a large and secluded property, the owners wanted to create usable destinations in several areas, not just in the back yard. Naturally screened by the woodland, this area toward the front of the property was chosen for the koi pond and a sitting area.
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Forested Retreat - Before and After
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A cozy seating nook alongside the koi pond allows the homeowners to connect with nature and enjoy the beauty and tranquility of their large, wooded property. Yellow flag iris are planted at the pond edge for their striking foliage.
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