Date: February 21, 2019 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek |
Areas for playing, gardening, and lounging abound in this spacious Northwest Arkansas outdoor retreat
Practicality and poise go hand-in-hand in this backyard, which received a full renovation after a young family moved into the home. Designer Daniel Keeley of DK Design shared the couple’s vision for an elegant yet relaxed outdoor living area and helped them create a space they can enjoy for years to come.
Prior to the renovation, the back of the home included an upstairs/downstairs deck and a pool but was otherwise a blank slate. The deck was removed and replaced with brick terraces, which are an extension of the home and match the style of both the interior as well as the garden to create a sense of continuity. A vegetable garden and “she shed” were also on the homeowner’s wish list for the space. “She actively works in the garden with her children, teaching them to grow and harvest plants,” Daniel says. The pool also received a full-scale makeover, including a re-plastering of the shell, along with the addition of a spa and retractable cover.
“Overall, this is an updated traditional design; it’s very classic but there’s a hint of modern edge,” Daniel says. For example, a limited palette and repeated symmetry reflect the timeless appeal of the garden, while clean lines and industrial materials, including concrete and iron, are indicative of a modern approach. “As this garden ages, it’s going to become even better and more defined,” Keeley concludes.
Arkansas artist George Dombek created the tree sculpture that is permanently planted in a bed of hydrangeas and purple and white angelonia. “The homeowners knew they wanted a piece from him, and early on in the design process they tasked me with finding a place to incorporate it,” Daniel says. The sculpture can be seen from the back of the home looking over the pool into the seasonal beds.
“Overall, this is an updated traditional design; it’s very classic but there’s a hint of modern edge.”
—Daniel Keeley, designer
A Study in Symmetry
“The entire pool area is balanced and symmetrical,” Daniel says of the design, which features a fire pit area opposite chaise lounges. The existing pool was re-plastered and a spa was added at one end. “All of the inspiration pictures she showed had square tiles with grass joints, so we incorporated this around the pool’s perimeter,” Daniel says. Four brick pillars capped with limestone-look concrete and surrounded by seasonal color further define the pool’s entry areas.
The back of the home opens up to the expanse of the yard and was a collaborative design between Daniel, contractor David Harris, and the home’s interior designer, Melissa Haynes. Plantings of purple and white angelonia and hydrangeas hint at what’s to come deeper into the outdoor space.
The lower level of the home’s back terrace is a less formal, more masculine hangout. Upholstered outdoor furniture and a contemporary concrete coffee table lend a current feel while still adhering to the overall style of the garden.
Along the back of the home, the interior living areas open to an upstairs terrace, which houses a grilling and dining area. The hood was inspired by the one found in the home’s kitchen, while lattice chairs paired with a stone table echo the comfortable feel of interior furniture. Patio heaters, recessed in the ceiling, make the space usable throughout much of the year.
A bocce court is a draw when the family entertains guests. A raised bed constructed from regional Smokey Mountain Blue stacked stone and a border of arborvitae outline the court, while a casual seating area offers a place for players to lounge.
The four corners of the gated pool area house oversized iron containers (they are 42 inches tall!). The English-style planters give a manmade contrast to the greenery of the space. Supertunia’s purple ‘Bordeaux’ trailing petunias pair with a white duranta tree in the center.
Room to Grow
One of the homeowners loves to garden, and Daniel worked closely with her on the design of the she shed. The structure creates a focal point in the lower rear garden and is in close proximity to the edible and flower gardens, meaning tools and seeds are close at hand. “This is really an experimental place for her. She and her children plant different things, care for them, and then harvest and cook what’s in the garden,” Daniel says.
A sleek fire pit featuring spherical stones lends a slightly contemporary feel to the design. The fire pit features a large outer ledge with enough room to place drinks, allowing it to double as a coffee table. This seating space also serves as an observation area for the bocce court just below.
Landscape and pool design Daniel Keeley, DK Design Art (sculpture) George Dombek Exterior flooring and fire pit Ozark Pattern Concrete Outdoor