Project Highlights

Location: Near West End, Richmond, Virginia

Key Features: 18’ x 36’ Gunite Pool, 800 Square foot Paver Pool Deck and Patio, Pergola and a Stunning Maintenance Landscape

Biggest Obstacle: As with most pool projects, configuring the grade and setting the height of the pool was the greatest obstacle of this project. Though the property’s slope was not drastic, 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. For creative flair, the hardscape design included an attractive circular stepdown into the pool.


Project Story

As with most of our projects, this outdoor space was designed specifically for an active family. Always on the go, our clients were looking 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 as well as the pleasing sound of running water. For added color and sparkle, a Blue Pearl Sunstone finish from Cline Industries has been applied. Around the edge, the pool features a band of Atlantic Green frost-free tile and bluestone coping.

Before this pool and patio, the backyard featured a beautiful landscape. As part of this project, it was important to the client that the new design feature a new, stunning landscape to soften the many hardscape elements. The traditional landscape was designed to create privacy along the borders and includes interest throughout the year. Purple flowering shrubs and perennials (Hydrangeas, lilacs and salvia) were chosen to highlight the client’s favorite color and now pair perfectly with purple accents in the furniture. For added interest and to further engage the senses, magnolias and lilacs were included to provide beautiful scent throughout the Spring and Summer months.



Biggest Obstacle: Setting the Pool Grade

As with most every pool project, setting the grade was the biggest obstacle of this project. Though the property did not feature an extensive slope, there was an 8” drop from one side of the proposed pool location to the other. Under normal circumstances, 8” would be pretty easy to work with, but this property featured an existing fence that the client did not want to rebuild.

To accommodate this slope, we created a design that features a two-tiered hardscape with a simple step down. This two-tiered hardscape design provided us with just enough elevation control to make the pool work seamlessly. For added interest, we created a circular step down into the pool that perfectly matches the circular steps inside the pool. This subtle design feature looks stunning from the house’s second floor porch.


Pergola to Block Eyesores

Normally, as explained in other gallery write ups, pergolas pose a design challenge. Because outdoor spaces are typically located closer to the home, it can be a challenge to locate pergolas so that they do not block windows. With this project, we got lucky with a client that actually wanted an obstructed view.

Though full of charm, city property’s very often have views that are unsightly. With this client, their back window provided a view of power lines, aging swing sets and overgrown and dying ivy. The placement and height of this pergola helps to block these views as the client waits for the 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. When approaching any outdoor project, it’s equally important that the likes the materials and that they go well with the house.

For this project, our initial goal was to match the cream color found on the house trim and mortar. To do this, we look at the Beige Cream products offered by Techo-Bloc. The initial products selected were 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.

From here, we decided to go a more traditional route with grey tones to resemble slate, granite and bluestone. To do this, we considered Techo-Bloc’s BLU 60 Slate products in Shale Grey and Champlain Grey. Ultimately, the decision was made to go with 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

At Outdoor Dreams, we pride ourselves in taking a holistic approach to every project, including outdoor furniture and furnishings. Not only is it important that furniture fit, it is important that the furniture matches and goes well with 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. For this project, we developed our landscape plan around the client’s favorite color of purple. The plant combination includes hydrangeas, lilacs and other purple flowering perennials. To bring everything together, purple accent pillows, a purple umbrella and other purple accessories were chosen to furnish the space. 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

Ready to make your Outdoor Dreams a reality?