With the summer months rapidly approaching and summer planning underway, there’s one place on your property that makes paradise just steps away, even beyond summertime. By redesigning your backyard into a year-round oasis, life at home can instantly transform into heaven on Earth.
Mark Meahl, founder of Gardenview Landscape, Nursery & Pools, says transforming a backyard into a miniature resort not only increases the value of the home, but allows the homeowner to enjoy the amenities until they are ready to sell. Though Meahl warns, after the drastic transformation, some homeowners decide to stay and enjoy the view for a little while longer.
In Meahl’s world, balancing luxury and comfort is the name of the game. The goal is to make the space look like something you would go to great lengths to visit, but not so fragile that you’re afraid to use it at all.
From breathtaking infinity pools, intricate stone work, full service outdoor kitchens, comfortable seating arrangements and various water and fire features, Meahl says there’s no project that is too extravagant to take on, and the sky’s the limit as to what can be done to a backyard. And when it comes to equity, Meahl says grand is the way to go.
“If you’re just putting a simple hole in your backyard, in many cases, if it’s unimaginative, real estate agents are going to tell you that you won’t get your investment back. And most people aren’t putting in very imaginative pools. But if you can do something imaginative, people who can afford to pick where they want to live, they want to see how they don’t have to go far to get a little piece of vacation after a long day at work,” says Meahl.
The process starts with a visit from Meahl. Together he and the client will sit down and sort through hundreds of photos that depict potential styles and themes. The homeowners have an open dialogue and discuss what looks they love, and the ones they don’t.
“The conversation serves as a starting off point. We can make a cohesive collage of the things you like while also giving you that custom, tailored look,” says Meahl.
After the hour and a half consultation, Meahl and his team work diligently and quickly to create a 3D video of the property with the conceptual design, and present the vision to the homeowners to ensure everyone is pleased with the concept. The design process incorporates both art and Feng Shui as a way to balance the different elements, aesthetics and functions.
Once the concept has been approved by the homeowners, the nitty gritty of construction and budget begins. A group of estimators determine where each dollar of the investment is going, and perform cost to benefit ratios.
While it is best to start with a budget in mind, Meahl says it is important to be realistic about how far your dollar will go. Starting with a “blank slate” of a backyard has many advantages, but it can also grow costly to install entirely new piping for water features and pools. On the other hand, a home with an existing pool or water feature may only need a quick cosmetic fix to bring it back into style. But, a home can hold a thousand secrets, and most are unbeknownst to homeowners until construction has already begun. From old and exhausted pipes for pools and other obstructions, the reconstruction process can present unforeseen challenges.
Though such challenges are part of any large construction project, Meahl says his design/ build approach to construction leaves the stress to the professionals, and the enjoyment to the homeowners. The team that designed the 3D model video of the project is the same group that will install it, so permitting is as straightforward as possible. Additionally, if an obstacle arises that requires a shift in gears from a design standpoint, there is no waiting period to transfer information between an architect and a contractor because they are one in the same.
“When you’re in the initial phases, the homeowner is looking at the big picture instead of the details. But when you get into the project now you have someone working on building your barbeque for two weeks, little details pop up. And how the details and the craftsmanship come together to make this feature is of course important, because they need to flow and move together,” says Meahl.
Meahl says being able to put your own touch on the project and reaping its benefits while knowing the investment is increasing the value of your property are a couple of reasons he made his own outdoor oasis at home. His space is complete with a comfortable sofa, white chairs, coffee tables and large fans to keep both the heat and the bugs at bay.
“It’s just an extension of your home. You can still relax and watch TV, but you have the freedom of being outside and enjoying that serenity after a long day while watching the sunset or under the stars.”
“From my view, it can really make a house your home.”
Gardenview Landscape, Nursery & Pools
417 E. Huntington Drive, Suite 100, Monrovia