A couple in West Houston by the name of Murphy commissioned us to renovate their pool and build a flagstone patio around it. They wanted new landscape pathways installed that led up to and away from the pool, and they also wanted something added that would allow them to enjoy their back yard throughout the year, regardless of weather conditions.
We began our flagstone landscaping project with a complete renovation of the pool. Built in the old 1960s style with small entry steps, it appeared visibly dated and worn, and it badly needed remodeling. We broke out the walls of the pool and reshaped it from a square structure into a round structure with a wider, elongated far end. We added much larger steps to create a sense of grand and generous entrance to the pool, and we added a spa at the near end. The bottom of the pool was also remodeled with a more decorative, dark plaster called sunstone. Finally, to create a water element that would not break up the landscape with a fountain or water wall, we installed water jets to create a 3D water movement.
The next step of our project involved replacing the original pea gravel aggregate with a flagstone patio that centered the landscape. We used a very unique construction technique to create this structure. Most flagstones, due to their irregular shape, are often laid down in such a way that it does not fit well together and does not provide a smooth surface upon which to walk. One of the hallmarks of our service is creating flagstone landscapes and patios fit where individual stones are carefully placed together by hand like a pieces from a jigsaw puzzle, then sealed with small grout joints. This method enables us to create a very smooth surface to walk over, (even while barefoot), but with a decorative sense created by the slight geometric irregularity.
To add function to our flagstone décor, we created two distinctive pathways into the pool area from divergent points on the landscape. One ran directly from the master bedroom to the spa, while the second pathway led from around the house for guests to come in through a rear garden entry. We installed custom drain grates made from stone and brass to maintain a dray surface along these walkways without compromising aesthetic.
Generous seating was then installed all around the pool. At the far end of the pool, we broke a small section out of the flagstone to plant a small redbud tree. On the near side of the pool, we created a very special area that the Murphy’s had always wanted as a component of their landscape—a fire pit with a separate seating area. To accentuate this area, we created a raised gravel patio and built a small wall around the fire pit. The stone enclosure provided both a visual compliment to the flagstone, and a warm place to congregate for conversation on chilly evenings that allows people to enjoy the landscape throughout the year. Fire adds a nice sense of ambiance to any environment, and allows one to enjoy an evening near the pool even when it is far too cold to swim.
We further accentuated the area both around the flagstone patio and throughout the entire landscape with a variety of native ground cover and drought tolerant plants. Iris grasses were added to bring white flowers every spring. We planted potato vines for color, and a type of rose known as “Knockout” which requires very little spraying and fertilizing. To add a touch of red to the ground cover, we planted Caladiums, which is a popular plant for landscaping all over the Houston area. Two types of shrubbery were added to the Murphy yard as well. Pineapple guave was planted to create bluish-gray contrast to the greens and reds of other vegetation. Hollies were also added to provide a framing perspective and backdrop for up lighting at night.
Flagstone landscapes like the one we did for the Murphy’s do not necessarily have to be constructed around a pool. Because flagstone so closely mimics natural stone shapes, it can also be used to ornament garden edges, waterfalls, and fountains. Call Exterior Worlds today to see how our unique construction methods can enhance and magnify your landscape design.