Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek |
A Little Rock family turns a blank-slate backyard into an oasis that appears to have formed naturally over time
When Tracy Rhodes and her family moved into their newly constructed West Little Rock home in 2011, she knew there was one area that wasn’t quite complete. “We had plenty of space in the backyard, and we thought that when our girls were older and were strong swimmers we would want to put in a pool,” Tracy says. In 2016, the time seemed right and she and her husband, Dr. David Rhodes, reached out to Clay Brooks of Brooks Pool Company to begin the process of completing their dream backyard.
“Tracy contacted us and began to talk about using boulders and doing a very natural approach to the design,” Clay says. “I immediately thought to bring in the guys at Landscape Associates because we’ve done a number of projects with them and they can help to achieve this look.”
“Both Clay and Scott Connerly at Landscape Associates really saw the vision we had and knew what to use to make it come to life,” Tracy says.
For starters, flagstone now covers much of the previously grassy area. Its neutral hues give the appearance of natural rock and complement the boulders in the landscape and pool design, which is an organic shape that mimics a naturally occurring pond. Additionally, vivid plantings—including black-eyed Susans, hibiscus, purple coneflowers, and begonias—dot the landscape in much the same manner that Mother Nature would sprinkle them.
When the project was complete, Tracy called Scott to let him know a Canadian goose nested in the yard and hatched her goslings there. “She said they took a swim in the pool and left,” he recalls. “And, I can’t think of a better compliment than for a goose and her goslings to consider this a natural environment.”
While the pool is home to plenty of action (“I’ve been surprised at how often we use it,” Tracy says), its organic shape also gives it a peaceful allure. A sun ledge located on the deep end allows the family to pull chaise lounges into the water and then dive directly into the pool when it’s time to cool off. For durability, the homeowners selected a Pebble Tec finish that also adheres to the overall style of the space.
Path Less Traveled
Flagstone pathways lead from the back of the house to defined areas, including the fire pit, the spa, and, of course, the pool. Once Tracy and David shared their vision for a naturalistic space and the desire to use boulders in the design, Scott knew the flagstone would be a functional and attractive choice for the pool surround and walkways. Plus, it gives the look of an undisturbed nature setting.
Colors of the Season
Containers spill over with plantings in shades of purple and yellow, including a hibiscus, and mimic what is seen throughout the rest of the garden. These planters provide an opportunity to change out color throughout the year, thus giving the space a quick refresh for the season.
A Place to Unwind
A fire pit and spa make the outdoor area attractive for year-round use. “Many of the pools you see today have spas that are connected, but we moved this one to an area of its own so it would have more privacy. Also, this allows them to cover it,” Clay notes. A Hollywood juniper takes center stage in the raised bed located behind the fire pit, seasonal plantings provide color throughout the landscape, while ivy covers the exterior wall of the home.
The screened porch, which features a built-in grill, was completed with the home and previously looked out onto a grassy knoll that sloped away from the house. Scott notes that the Landscape Associates team had to install a retaining wall to be able to create the pool’s waterfall and paved areas.
Two large existing crepe myrtles were transplanted to new locations in the yard; one can be seen at the corner of the porch. Along the path, black-eyed Susans, purple coneflowers, sedum, and begonias lend both color and vitality.
Landscape and outdoor design Landscape Associates, LLC
Pool and spa Brooks Pool Company
Stone Bennett Brothers