It’s difficult to imagine why anyone would allow a pool contractor to locate unsightly pool equipment in plain view. Hiding the tanks and pipes and meters was one thing that immediately came to Howard Cohen’s mind when he met with clients in Reston who wanted to replace the decking around their pool. As discussions proceeded, the clients decided “to take the project to a completely different level,” says Cohen.
In the end, Surrounds ripped out everything in the yard except for the shell of the pool itself. An old wall that cut the yard in half was knocked out and the site was re-graded to open up the entire back yard. Timber walls were torn down and replaced with gently curving stone walls of Tennessee ashlar to match the house. Cohen re-worked a steep staircase down to the pool, adding an extra step for a more gradual descent. He also convinced the clients to put in a new, higher and safer fence. “Usually pools are grandfathered in,” he explained, “and a lot of old pools don’t have fences up to code.”
The old pool decking was replaced with concrete pavers that look like flagstone, and a spacious circular patio was created at one end of the pool. New plantings were added to circular planters, and mulched beds along one long side were converted into an expansive lawn. Cohen says the entire area has been dramatically transformed, and the homeowners now have “much more useable space.”
Landscape Architecture: Howard Cohen, Surrounds; Landscape Architecture and Construction, Sterling, Virginia; Photography: Ron Blunt, Washington, DC