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Case Study: York, PA Landscaping & Pool Design Masterpiece

Posted On: October 24,2017 By: Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

York, PA landscaping and pool design including a kitchen, plantings, lighting, and more.When tackling a project as important as a backyard renovation complete with a new pool, you want to work with the best company for the job. It’s a big investment and a space that you plan to enjoy for many years to come. Knowing that your decision in hiring a contractor will impact all of this, you should be determined to choose wisely.

Of course, the most typical pattern of thought when having a pool built is to hire a pool company. It sounds logical, after all. There are some amazing pool builders in York, PA and surrounding areas like Lancaster, Reading, and Hershey. But the truth is that we’ve seen some pool companies fail to think of some of the pool design essentials that would make your space truly complete.

That was exactly the challenge that these York, PA homeowners were faced with when they wanted to have a complete pool space designed and built in their backyard. They could choose from amongst the various York, PA pool companies out there, or they could choose a skilled landscape contractor, with experience overseeing large pool projects.

That decision led them to Earth, Turf, & Wood over hiring a pool contractor in York, PA. They had many important details they cared about that went beyond the pool itself. The homeowners had a lot they wanted to achieve, including everything from a gorgeous pool patio, beautiful landscaping, a pool pavilion, an outdoor kitchen, and more. Each of those details was important and they wanted a company that could look at the big picture to ensure it all fits together perfectly.


Working with a Slope in this York, PA Landscape Design

Of course, like any project, this one was not without some challenges. One of the biggest challenges of this York, PA landscape design was the fact that the property featured a significant slope. Building a pool on a sloped yard, and still ensuring it looks nice, is not exactly a small feat. In the end, it’s important that all of the levels look like they flow well and were meant to always be that way.

York, PA landscaping and pool design including a kitchen, plantings, lighting, and more.

The solution to sloping on this property required extensive site grading as well as planning to ensure that everything looked and operated properly. On the upper side of the slope, on a raised area, the addition of some chairs for lounging, created a nice space for sunbathers to relax. Since the raised view oversees the entire pool it’s also a great place to watch people swim or even just enjoy the gorgeous view of the poolscape.

The area also required a large retaining wall, but the addition of some sheer descent fountains as well as some spouting lion heads helped keep the wall interesting. These water features not only add the appealing sound of running water but also some artistic detail that makes the wall look more like a piece of art than a functional retaining wall (even though it is that, too).


Pool Pavilion on the Hill

Another want on the homeowners’ list was a pool pavilion so that they would have a shady place to relax while watching others swim. It also serves as a wonderful gathering space when the family is entertaining. While the pavilion could have been built level to the pool, that made the whole area seem too flat and made the raised area with the chairs stand out.

The homeowners also desired steps leading up to the pavilion, to make it feel like it’s own special space. For these reasons, it made sense to raise the pavilion up. The end result is a better balance of the different grades of the entire layout.

York, PA landscaping and pool design including a kitchen, plantings, lighting, and more.

Elevating the pavilion also achieved the goal of making it feel like a special showpiece. The pavilion also features a gorgeous stone fireplace, that the family wanted to add to make the space feel even cozier. It’s also a great gathering space when entertaining.

While there was a lot of stone used in this York, PA landscape design, the home itself was made of brick. Because we are always looking to mimic the architectural styles of the property as a whole, we built a stone fireplace with a brick chimney that complements that of the home.

On either side of the pavilion, we added large boulders that help mask some of the sloping in an aesthetically appealing way. The property had boulders in other locations as well, making it another complementing feature. In addition, we discreetly hid the pool equipment behind the fireplace so that it wasn’t an eyesore.


A Complementing Pool Patio

Another area in which the home is complemented is in some of the shades of red in the pool patio, as well as in the coping, which is a blue granite with red flecks throughout. Because there is so much paved surface, the border and some addition of color helps add a little bit of interest.

York, PA landscaping and pool design including a kitchen, plantings, lighting, and more.

The color also helps serve the purpose of unifying multiple spaces. Since the homeowners had an all-brick home, tying in some of that red, made the outdoor living space look like it was meant to be part of the home’s landscape. The end result is a seamless flow of styles—a detail that could be easily overlooked by some pool builders in York, PA.


Adding Landscape Lighting

With as detailed as the pavilion was, it was also essential that landscape lighting was used to the best of its ability. We not only wanted to highlight specific details such as the columns and the stonework, but we also wanted the space to be highly functional. That meant ensuring it was well-lit for evening use.

York, PA landscaping and pool design including a kitchen, plantings, lighting, and more.

This was true of the space as a whole. Everything is well-lit so that it can be enjoyed in the evening hours, as well. With how much lighting was needed around the property, it was important that it was done in a way that it served a purpose of illuminating the space, without being overburdening.


An Outdoor Kitchen for Entertaining

These homeowners entertained frequently so an outdoor kitchen was also an essential part of this York, PA landscape design. With a built-in grill, running water, and a lot of countertop seating, there is plenty of room to entertain.

York, PA landscaping and pool design including a kitchen, plantings, lighting, and more.

Because this family often hosted church youth group activities, one of the challenges we were posed with was creating a space that could accommodate large groups of 25 or more. But the homeowners also wanted the space to feel intimidate enough when it was just their family of four enjoying it. We achieved that by keeping everything close enough together that it still felt cozy.


Additional Details of this York, PA Landscape Design

In addition to some of the big items like the pool pavilion, the patio, and the outdoor kitchen, this project would not have been complete without other important details such as the fence surrounding the pool, which was purposefully designed in a way that the space still felt open and airy while being fenced in to code. Nobody likes feeling like they are swimming in a playpen, plus these particular homeowners had a beautiful surrounding landscape that they still wanted to be able to enjoy.

York, PA landscaping and pool design including a kitchen, plantings, lighting, and more.

The homeowners also liked the look of columns being integrated with the fencing for added interest.This was also another way to incorporate some of the stone that they really liked.

Of course, landscaping for this York, PA project was also key. Pops of color brighten up the entire space and add even more visual interest. While landscaping around a pool area, materials that will not be windblown or tracked into the pool is an important consideration which is why stone was used here. It’s another seemingly “small” detail that is actually quite a big deal and might be overlooked by some pool contractors in York, PA.


A Pool Project That Has it All

While having a pool put in is a big deal, and it’s easy to get caught up on the pool itself, the truth is that a project like this has an array of important details—and the pool is just one of them. You’ll want a space to sit and relax when you’re not swimming, an area to dine by the pool or to get a drink while you’re drying off, and maybe even a place to escape the sun when you’re just outside to enjoy your pool’s view. With so many important elements wrapped up in the overall design, it’s essential that you find the right expert to advise you on your project.

York, PA landscaping and pool design including a kitchen, plantings, lighting, and more.

Although your first instinct may be to hire a pool company, hopefully now you realize that finding someone who can address the area as a whole—and think of all those details that help make the space great—will get you the most out of your investment.

Every project is different and can pose its own challenges. This particular York, PA landscape design had the extensive site grading to deal with and as a result also required a significant amount of stormwater management. Those kinds of challenges might be out of the realm of experience of some pool companies or the average landscaper. That is another reason why you must choose a company that can handle some of the serious issues that can arise in the landscape during a pool build.

York, PA landscaping and pool design including a kitchen, plantings, lighting, and more.

At Earth, Turf, & Wood, our Registered Landscape Architect (RLA) was able to handle the stormwater management in-house, saving the homeowners a lot of money from needing to bring in an engineer. This project required a very large trench pit to account for stormwater infiltration, and that’s no small feat. If done wrong, it could also be disastrous. But that is something that our RLA has experience in doing.

By choosing a company that can take your project from start to finish, add all of those details that make it special, and even handle challenges that arise, you’ll have it all under one roof—rather than having to work with multiple companies to get what you want or being unsatisfied with the finished project. After all, with something as important as your pool build, you don’t want to cut any corners or take any chances.

If you’re ready to start a conversation about your York, PA pool design, or another outdoor living project, contact us for a free consultation or give us a call at (717) 276-9447. We also serve clients in Reading, Lancaster, Lebanon, and Hershey, PA.

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Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

Written by Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

Mary Hatch Dresser is a Registered Landscape Architect with a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia School of Environmental Design. Mary has designed landscapes for 32 years and joined ETW exclusively in 2009. Mary is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA); and also serves on the Shade Tree Committee in Strasburg Borough where she resides. Mary prides herself in carefully listening to her clients to professionally meld their ideas and personal criteria with sound, experienced design practice.

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Serving Southeast Pennsylvania including: Lancaster, Reading, Lebanon, York, Hershey, Harrisburg and surrounding areas.