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The Green Scene in Landscape Contractor, Sept. 2011

"Elegant Backyard Retreat"

 Fernandez Spa and Palapa

The fire features were built by Grand Effects and have automatic igniters. The fire can be started with a remote control or the homeowner's iPhone.

When Scott Cohen of The Green Scene first encountered this California project, he came face to face with a backyard that had a lap pool with no spa, and concrete that had heaved one inch above the pool. The lot's grading was poor, with steps and trees blocking the flow of traffic through the yard. The homeowners challenged Cohen to create a completely new yard suitable for entertaining and vacationing in their own backyard in style and luxury.

Cohen's design took advantage of the home's stunning views, adding outdoor rooms, a swimming pool, and conversation areas to take advantage of the home's prime viewing vistas. To achieve this, the contractor based his design around a large fan-shaped vanishing edge swimming pool with a swim-up bar. Adjacent to the pool, he built a solid roof pavilion with a recessed dining patio. To continue the outdoor living motif, a full service outdoor kitchen was built as well. An outdoor living room with a fireplace, two putting greens, and a fire elements round out the backyard features.

Removing the Old, Adding the New
The contractor's first order of business was removing the former swimming pool with a Bobcat tractor. They shot the new pool in gunite, but kept the depths shallow to retain year-round warmth.

Outdoor Living
To start things off he installed a Versailles pattern with travertine pavers to create a patio deck deck design to add interest without looking busy. The outdoor kitchen area has travertine paver flooring, split-level cooking and bar service combined with built-in round tables. The kitchen includes a grill, beverage center, and fridge.

The Swim-Up Bar Area
The cast in place concrete swim up bar is adjacent to the dining room, and includes embedded "earth mix" crushed recycled glass. The swimming pool has underwater color changing LED lights. By building a perimeter overflow hydrotherapy illusion spa with a built-in cocktail table and fire effects, the contractor created a dynamic nighttime scene. The spa also has a deep well hydrotherapy tube. Visitors in the living room area are treated to chandeliers, surround sound speakers, and two television sets.

Outdoor Kitchen Fernandez Palapa
Fire Features
Cohen installed fire features in each of the four outdoor rooms. A substantial outdoor fireplace anchors the outdoor living room, and dual fire and water bowls spill into the pool. The conversation area with built-in seating surrounds a fire pit and faces the evening sunset views. Concrete stepping pads surrounded by grass lead people throughout the yard. In the end, Scott Cohen and The Green Scene transformed a marginally functional back yard into a backyard vacation paradise.

Fernandez Baja shelf