Anthony Wilder Design/Build's landscape design for a Gibson Island family features a fire pit beside the pool.
A 15-by-35-foot saltwater pool includes a sculptural-stone diving board.
A before photo of the backyard.
An outdoor shower was added for rinsing off after a day at the beach.
A 15-by-35-foot saltwater pool includes a sculptural-stone diving board.
A before photo of the backyard.
An outdoor shower was added for rinsing off after a day at the beach.

Outdoor Living

Anthony Wilder Design/Build turns an empty backyard into an al fresco oasis

A family on Maryland’s Gibson Island asked Anthony Wilder Design/Build to create a welcoming outdoor-living and entertaining space on their waterfront property overlooking the Chesapeake Bay.

“The home offered a great view—but there was nothing to see in the broad swath of plain, backyard lawn,” says architect George Bott, who headed the project. “There were no natural conversation spots; it needed an attractive feature where people could gather.”

Wilder’s team conceived a spacious design around a rectangular, 15-by-35-foot saltwater pool, sited close to the house to ensure the easy supervision of kids swimming. The design includes several distinct zones: a grilling and food-prep center; a dining area; a wood-burning fire pit and an area poolside for lounging.

The pool, with a durable pebble finish, features a low-sheet waterfall along one side and a diving stone made from a natural slab that evokes a chiseled, sculptural effect. The Pennsylvania bluestone patio is complemented by flagstone on the retaining walls, fire pit and grilling station.

An outdoor shower makes rinsing off from a day at the beach easy. “Materials were chosen for extra durability, without skimping on appearance,” Bott notes. The shower surround is hardy PVC and hooks are made of sailboat cleats. An inlaid-pebble floor is both decorative and slip-resistant.

Design: George Bott, AIA, LEED AP, Anthony Wilder Design/Build. Contracting: Anthony Wilder Design/Build, Cabin John, Maryland.  Award: Residential Landscape Design/Outdoor Living.