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Surrounded by lush shrubberies, the pool is beautifully illuminated from within.

Dramatic Discovery

A dazzling design brings luxury living outdoors

MAY/JUNE 2010

When landscape architect Scott Brinitzer encountered this new Bethesda, Maryland, house, it sat alone high upon a hill, isolated from its surroundings. The homeowners wanted an entry sequence so that visitors wouldn’t have to walk up the driveway, in addition to a pool and an outdoor “room” in back. 


To marry the house to its surroundings, Brinitzer designed a series of retaining walls that step down gracefully from the house to street level, creating broad terraces, with a walkway through them, that allow room for handsome plantings.  To the left of the entry-level terrace, a magnificent Southern magnolia nestles in a bed of white azaleas. To the right, three serviceberries obscure the view of the house while still allowing visitors to see through to the front door.


Patterned after the architectural lines of the residence, the area behind the house includes a stucco fireplace, swimming pool and patio. Little Girl magnolias form an intimate canopy around the swimming pool and patio, and soften the effect of the 100-foot-tall tulip poplars that were already present on the property. A raised bed screens the garden beyond the pool, accessible through the small dining terrace. Brinitzer explains that the design moves people through the landscape in such a way that it cannot be seen all at once. “It makes the site more interesting,” he says, “and gives people the illusion of discovery in the garden.”


LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE: Scott Brinitzer, Brinitzer Design Associates, Washington, DC. CONTRACTOR: Gibson Builders, Washington, DC. POOL DESIGN & INSTALLATION: Alpine Pool, Annandale, Virginia. PHOTOGRAPHY: Roger Foley, Arlington, Virginia.

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