outdoor environment

Coordinated Perspective
In a word, the project pictured in these pages is about the power and value of collaboration. I was originally called in to consult on the planting design for a backyard in need of remodeling.  A couple of months into the process, the clients informed me that they hated their existing pool and asked me if I knew of a pool contractor named Randy Beard, who had worked with them previously on another of their residences.  I offered to contact Beard and discuss the project with him:  We had known about each other for years, mostly through WaterShapes columns and articles, but to that point we'd never had the opportunity to work together.  The clients had said they wanted to remove the spa from the pool and perhaps raise it to create a spillway into the pool.  Beard and I quickly came to the same conclusion:  Revamping the pool would neither be cost-effective nor would it achieve the outcome the clients desired.  Pointed discussions and budget reviews led to the determination that the existing pool/spa combination should be abandoned in favor of something that worked better to generate a sense of space, greater functionality and enhanced aesthetic appeal.  Although we didn't set out to tackle the project as a team, Beard and I wound up working hand in glove with a synergy that was valuable to both of us - especially in
Splashes of Color
If you can't see potential in every backyard you walk into, then you're in the wrong business.   Yes, some projects are more inspiring than others, and some spaces seem to offer you more to work with than others.  Without exception, however, our clients' yards present us with opportunities to develop programs that take advantage of what's there in ways that bring balance and harmony and interest to any setting. Speaking for myself, I'm no more energized in a project than when I get the opportunity to right a wrong and replace a past mistake with a fresh, interesting design - and that was certainly the case in the project discussed in this article and in my past several "Details" columns in this magazine.  The setting was special, the clients were great and I was given free rein to work with color, shape and line in vivid, interesting and even startling ways - all in keeping with their wants and desires.   SETTING THE SCENE To recap information from recent "Details," this pool/spa combination with its associated decking, walls, planters, outdoor cooking facilities and private garden area are located in a narrow yard at the base of a slope in Pacific Palisades, Calif.  It's a spectacular