Play Station

A backyard redo in Northern Virginia adds resort-worthy amenities

What could make a suburban backyard so appealing and “cool” that teenagers would want to hang out there with all their friends? That was the question facing a Northern Virginia family as three daughters approached their active high school years. The solution was a multi-faceted site plan by Kane Landscapes, which transformed the backyard into an entertainment complex with water sports and outdoor dining at its heart. “The client wanted a pool that had something different—a ‘wow’ factor to make friends and family want to come back,” says principal Josh Kane.

Delights include a 90-jet hot tub; a pavilion equipped with fireplace; lounge; sports-ready bar with flat-screen television; and a full kitchen. The star attraction is a 30-foot-long, commercial-quality water slide. Equipped with a five-horsepower water pump for a quicker ride, it sends swimmers splish-splashing into a 50-by-25-foot rectangular pool. Among the challenges facing Kane: finding space to stage the tons of Scabos travertine for the pool decking and curvaceous walkways, as well as decorative boulders, which lead energetic climbers to the top of the water slide.

Trees planted by Kane a decade ago provide a lush backdrop for a new purple-leaved Bloodgood Japanese maple, several transplanted crape myrtle trees, boxwood, knockout roses, catmint, black-eyed Susans and Shasta daisies. The designer aspired to a plant palette that would resist deer, while acknowledging that the herbivores “will eat just about anything.”

Award: Distinction, Outdoor Living Area (Design/Build). Landscape Design: Josh Kane, Kane Landscapes, Inc., Potomac Falls, Virginia.