A clever landscape designer fits a swimming pool, garden, lawn, and fountains on a city lot—without crowding
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The spray of jets from just outside its rim lets the pool serve double duty as a place to swim and as a decorative water feature. Daylilies and other perennials line one side of the pool.
SIZE 3,000 square feet
A testament to the power of good editing, this backyard in Kenwood is a neat composition of lawn, pool, and plantings whose crowning touch—six jets of water arcing gracefully into the pool—was created only because there wasn’t room for a more elaborate moving-water feature.
Because Marc and Liza Brooks wanted an abundantly green yard on their 50-foot-wide urban site, their landscape designers did away with the usual paved pool deck from which water jets like these often sprout. Instead, jets were installed among daylilies and other perennials on one side of the pool and in the lawn on the other, creating a lyrical visual effect. The shimmery arcs seem to appear out of nowhere. “It’s a playful and soothing element that we could fit into the space,” says David Migdal, president of Garden Consultants, the firm that did the project.
A hot tub is set inside the pool; these and other rectilinear components of the landscape design are arranged like boxes inside larger boxes. The furniture, made with synthetic fiber caning, was selected by Tom Stringer Design Partners from Janus et Cie.
Even a swimming pool only 13 feet wide, as this one is, eats up a lot of room in a yard when you factor in the space needed around it. Zoning doesn’t allow a pool to be close to a lot line, but in this design that setback became a virtue. The area between pool and fence now has scarlet-blooming daylilies and golden-leafed sedges low, at waterside, and feathery Swiss stone pine trees behind them.
On the opposite side of the yard is a row of columnar European hornbeam trees underplanted with tufted hair grass. The hornbeam line—these upright growers will eventually get to be 40 feet tall—also turns to march across the front of the garage, screening it from view. The plant palette is simple—just six major components.
On an urban lot, one needs to exercise restraint to keep from crowding too much in, “but you can still get lushness,” Migdal says. Using large plantings of a few selections—only two of them, daylilies and hydrangea, are bloomers, though they’re both generous ones—the design enhances privacy and doesn’t force plants to compete for attention with the pool and its dancing fountains.
Photography: Linda Oyama Bryan