Project Highlights

Location: Near West End, Richmond, Virginia 23230

Key Features: This project consists of an 18’ x 36’ gunite pool, 800 square foot paver pool deck and patio, pergola, and a stunning low- maintenance landscape.

Biggest Obstacle: Configuring the grade and setting the height of the pool was the greatest obstacle of this project. The property’s slope was not drastic but the existing fence drastically limited our options.

Solution: We created a two-tiered hardscape design that accommodated the slope and allowed us to keep the existing fence. The two-tiered patio allowed us to include an attractive circular stepdown into the pool entrance.


Project Story

This outdoor space was designed specifically for an active family. Our clients are always on the go and wanted to create a special place for their family to slow down and relax. Instead of investing in a vacation home that might only get limited use, this client invested in creating a backyard vacation spot that could be used every day.

The hardscape for this space is composed entirely of Techo-Bloc products. The patio and pool deck is composed of BLU 60 slabs with two Antika paver inlays. When selecting material colors, we chose Champlain Grey because its three-color blend provided everything the client was looking for. The two greys in the blend created a traditional look and the auburn-tan tied in beautifully with the antique brick of the house.

The pool is custom gunite with circular stairs and benches in the deep end. On the perimeter, the pool features 4 deck fountain jets that add visual interest and the pleasant sound of running water. A Blue Pearl Sunstone finish from Cline Industries was applied for added color and sparkle. Around the edge, the pool features a band of Atlantic Green frost-free tile and bluestone coping.

It was important to the client that the new design feature a stunning landscape to soften the hardscape elements. A traditional landscape was designed to create privacy along the borders with interesting elements throughout the year. Purple flowering shrubs and perennials (Hydrangeas, lilacs, and salvia) were chosen to highlight the client’s favorite color and pair perfectly with the furniture. Magnolias and lilacs were also included to provide beautiful scents throughout the Spring and Summer months.


Biggest Obstacle: Setting the Pool Grade

Setting the grade was the biggest obstacle of this project. There was an 8” drop from one side of the proposed pool location to the other. The client also wanted to keep the existing fence which limited the options for handling this slope.

We solved this problem by creating a two-tiered patio with a simple step down. This two-tiered hardscape design provided us with just enough elevation control to make the pool location work perfectly. This configuration allowed us to include a circular step down at the pool entrance that matches the circular steps inside the pool. The resulting view from the second-floor porch is stunning.




Pergola to Block Eyesores

Pergolas normally pose a design challenge because they can block window views from the house. With this project, we got lucky with a client that actually wanted an obstructed view.

City properties very often have views that are unsightly. This client could see power lines, aging swing sets, and overgrown ivy from their back windows. The placement and height of this pergola helped to block these views as the client waits for the new privacy trees to fill in.


Getting the Materials Right

At Outdoor Dreams, we go to great lengths to ensure each project features the right materials for both our client as well as their home. Our initial goal with this project was to match the cream color found on the house trim and mortar. We looked at the Beige Cream products offered by Techo-Bloc and initially selected BLU 60 Smooth for the patio and pool decking and Bullnose Grande caps for the pool coping. After bringing out numerous samples it was decided that, even though the color was perfect, all of Techo-Bloc’s materials in Beige Cream were too contemporary for the client and their traditional, Richmond home.

We decided to go a more traditional route with grey tones to resemble slate, granite, and bluestone. The client selected Techo-Bloc’s BLU 60 Slate product Champlain Grey because the tan found in the three-color blend has an auburn hue that pairs perfectly with brick. This little auburn/tan touch helps to subtly, yet perfectly, tie the hardscape and house together.

Though it took a little extra effort and multiple sets of samples, getting the materials right is of the utmost importance.


Tie Everything Together with Your Favorite Color

We pride ourselves in taking a holistic approach to every project, including outdoor furniture and furnishings. It is important that the furniture layout fits and matches the aesthetic of the space.

One of the best ways to tie your entire space together is with a color theme that is incorporated into the landscape, furniture, and other accessories. We developed our landscape plan around the client’s favorite color of purple. The plant combination includes hydrangeas, lilacs, and other purple flowering perennials. Purple accent pillows, a purple umbrella, and other purple accessories were chosen to furnish the space to bring everything together. This level of coordination creates a truly cohesive look that adds to the beauty of the space.


More Project Details

Patio: BLU 60 Slabs from Techo-Bloc (Champlain Grey), Antika Pavers from Techo-Bloc (Sandlewood and Shale Grey)
Step Up: Mini-Creta Architectural from Techo-Bloc (Champlain Grey) and Architectural Caps from Techo-Bloc (Champlain Grey)
Edging: Belgik edging blocks from Techo-Bloc (Champlain Grey)

Plant Combination: ‘Emerald’ Arborvitae, ‘Endless Summer’ Hydrangea, ‘Alta’ Magnolia, ‘Walker’s Low’ Catmint, ‘Becky’ Shasta Daisy, ‘Bloomerang’ Korean Lilac, ‘Bloodgood’ Japanese Maple, ‘Winter Gem’ Boxwood, Rosemary, ‘May Night’ Salvia and ‘Limelight’ Hydrangea

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