When residential architect Robert Nor-ris of Atlanta tackled his house renovation seven years ago, he was determined that the house and garden would work together with a good flow from inside to out. "I wanted the garden to feel natural, yet have a sense of structure to it," Norris explains.
The design had to provide for Atlanta's notorious rainy weather—hidden details include a creek-bed path to ease runoff—but the swimming pool is the social heart of the backyard (90 by 86 feet). Norris gave it some special details, not an easy task, as he discovered. "In designing the pool, I had a few struggles. I knew exactly the shape I wanted, but
many of the pool companies wanted to change it into either a kidney shape or some other crazy idea," he says.
The symmetry of the rectangular pool is offset by elegant steps notched out of one corner and a spa on the other. This unfussy organization helps establish the sense of unforced calm that defines the whole space.
The back of the pool, a fieldstone retaining wall which faces the house, also functions as a water feature, with a horizontal slot continuously spilling a shining band of water into the pool. "The sound of water in a garden is so tranquil," says Norris.
The site slopes up quite steeply from the house, so to ease a runoff problem a trench lined with landscape cloth and filled with a layer of sand was installed beneath a trail of stepping stones.This allows water to drain away quickly under the surface.
At the bottom of this rustic path, a large drain diverts water away into the main lines. Foliage plants such as ferns, grasses, sedums and butterbur (Petasites japonicus var. gigan-teus 'Nishiki-buki') were planted among the pebbles to ensure that the alley of stones blends as naturally as possible with the rest of the garden.—joanna fortnam
Was this article helpful?