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Outdoor Room With a View
By Sandi Fields, Sandi Fields Landscape and Design
Published by LandscapeOnline.com
Sandi Fields Landscape and Design was initially contacted by the Rolling Hills, California client to fix the home’s failing retaining wall that was, in turn, causing the pool deck to fail. Additionally, the owners wanted to upgrade the pool and to create a more usable and functional space for outdoor living and entertaining, and to take advantage of the phenomenal view of the surrounding canyons and the Los Angeles basin.
In collaboration with Roy Lindahl of Roy’s Concrete and Masonry as well as Ideal Pools, the contractor tackled the many challenges they faced with the project. As Palos Verdes stone (the stone natural to the area) was scarce, the contractor chose Lompoc Stone for the project, as it most closely resembles PV stone.
Located in Rolling Hills, California, this Sandi Fields Landscape and Design project was a complete makeover that updated the patios, pool, outdoor living area and included a new putting green and retaining wall. The patio area was previously a grassy-sloped area, which the contractor excavated. After bringing in additional soil and leveling the area, they built the 15x8-foot fire pit sitting area. The fire pit itself measures 3-1/2 x 4 feet. Workers ran a 65-foot gas line to feed the pit, and then ran electrical to power the fire pit’s igniter system. The company then added lava rock as a final touch. The hardscape crew installed more than eight tons of stone on the entire project, which took two months to complete.
When the contractor arrived, the home’s retaining wall and pool equipment were separating from the deck. Workers demolished the entire wall and replaced it with a new one with a larger footing. After removing and relocating the pool pumps and heaters, workers backfilled the area with additional soil.
The hardscape crew replaced the failed retaining wall with a new stone capped one that also serves as an 18-inch high x 12-inch wide seat wall along the perimeter’s entirety. It was extended further along the slope to create a seating area with an L-shaped built-in stone bench and table-height rectangular gas fire pit. The design was specific to take advantage of the backyard’s canyon and city view.
The hardscape crew built the 18-inch-high bench-back of masonry block and then veneered it with Lompoc Stone. It also serves as a seat wall for the upper patio side. The bench measures 33 inches in height, and the seat portion is 16 inches deep with a sloping bench back.
The Fire Pit
Workers excavated and leveled the fire-pit area as well, as it was previously a sloped hill. They trucked in additional soil, to bring the area to a level grade. The crew built the walls and benches using cinder blocks, and then covered them in Lompoc Stone.
This design also accommodated the expansion of the existing chaise lounge area that was previously cramped. The built-in bench serves a dual purpose as it doubles as a seat wall from the upper patio. An oleander hedge that had run the length of the wall was removed, opening up the previously blocked view.
The Pool Area
The 29x14-foot pool retained its size and dimensions, but the contractor ripped out all the existing hardscape and replaced it. They built two 4-foot benches with step-outs and added new entry steps. Plumbers added new lines for additional water cascades and jets, and ran them to a dedicated pump.
(Before) The pool façade had a decidedly dated look before the contractor replaced the old brick and small blue tile work with a more modern-looking natural stone veneer.
(Before) In addition to changing out the brick and tile facade with natural stone, the contractor enlarged the spa width by 18 inches and added three 18-inch sheer-descent water cascades.
(After) The pool’s 29x14-foot size and shape did not change, however, the contractor removed the brick and blue-tile façade and veneered it with Lompoc Stone. The pool crew installed sheer descents separate from the pool system and plumbed them to a dedicated 1-HP pump.
(After) The pool remodel included installing snap-cut Lompoc Stone coping. Plumbers then installed eight additional therapy jets and three 18-inch wide sheer descent cascades and a matching spa spillway. The hardscape crew installed new entry steps in the shallow end and a 4-foot swim out bench in the deep end. They replaced the pool’s white plaster finish with Pebble Sheen.
The Putting Green
As the owners are avid golfers, they asked for a putting green behind the outdoor kitchen area. When the contractor arrived, the putting green area was a wild forest of trees and shrubs. So, the first order of business was to remove the plant material. Workers attacked the area with chainsaws, taking the area to the ground. They built the perimeter rubble retaining wall using dry-stack Palos Verdes rock.
Workers transformed this area to make way for the steps, the outdoor kitchen area (which was built where the previous pool equipment was located) and the 40x15-foot putting green. This area is in a setback, so no mortared walls were permitted, only a dry-stack rubble wall with a 30-inch maximum height. Workers placed local Palos Verdes stone to build the rubble wall, which measured out to more than 100 lineal feet. The putting green was laid with .50-inch artificial turf over a compacted soil base.
In front of the putting green, the contractor built the outdoor kitchen area. It features a stone veneered cooking area and includes a 42-inch Lynx grill, a sink, and granite countertops with two seating and serving areas on two separate levels. Workers also built a new elevated outdoor dining area adjacent to the kitchen area.
The contractor replaced all the old concrete with Sandstone-colored concrete with a washed-sand finish and patterned it with saw-cut diagonals on a 4-foot spacing. Hardscape workers installed 4-inch wide bands of artificial turf in a diagonal pattern between concrete pavers on the lower pool deck, creating a nice visual from the upper area.
The 24 to 30-inch square colored concrete pavers were poured in place, and then workers installed artificial turf between the pavers. They installed the turf in 4-inch wide strips over three inches of DG with a weed mat, and then secured down the turf with 5-inch nails every four-to-six inches.
The project took two months to complete and employed six workers every day. A total of nearly eight tons of stone were used. Once completed, the area offered much improved traffic flow, and use of the area was much more functional for outdoor living and entertaining.