bluestone and made of glass tiles with a pebble sheen interior finish, it sparkles invitingly. Water from the 180-square-foot raised spa gently cascades into the main pool, imparting an extra level of soothing relaxation. The sensory experience continues with the fragrances, colors and textures afforded by diverse greenery and flora. “The pool is clearly the centerpiece, but the plantings bring the whole backyard to life,” says the homeowner. “Brian is passionate about plants and flowers, and that passion yields incredible results.” Hundreds of lush plantings present a vibrant display. Four Sioux Crape Myrtle trees frame the pool and raised spa in pink perfection while a profusion of annuals, perennials and grasses spills forth from the dry-laid Pennsylvania Colonial walls that wind around one side of the pool or nestle in between the boulders and rock walls that dot the surroundings. To address drainage concerns, French drains were installed along the edges of the patio perimeters; they carry all water to eight dry well tanks buried in the lawn. Cabana leaders and two sump pumps also access this system. To compensate for nonexistent natural draining opportunities, all pool equipment was located nine feet below grade within the cabana basement. “This was done to protect the equipment, especially in the winter; it was also an aesthetic choice to conceal the unsightly apparatus,” Koribanick explains, adding that, as an extra safety measure, an emergency control security system was installed. If anything were to break and threaten leaking in the cabana’s basement, valve closures automatically would be initiated to prevent water damage. “We really love everything about it,” Marcus says of the finished backyard. “It’s beautiful and at the same time extremely functional. After the project, there’s no place we’d rather spend our time. It’s really changed the way we live.”
This page: The pool area, situated between the home and outlying open green space, offers a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor living. Four pink Sioux Crape Myrtles frame the pool and raised spa, while dry-laid Pennsylvania Colonial fieldstone stonework delineates the change in grade. Opposite page, top: The tranquil sound of water flowing into the pool from the raised spa and the bursts of color and textures from trees and flowers add to the serene beauty of this poolside paradise. The nearby cabana, which complements the house’s design, offers easy access. Bottom: The gracious home’s airy windows have prime views of the backyard oasis.
“The raw space before the project was actually quite beautiful,” he continues. “We had lots of grass and trees. It just wasn’t the kind of yard you’d want to hang out in all day, every day, all summer long.” Instead, the family “dreamed of an outdoor space that would be the focal point of our family’s summertime activities,” Marcus says. They envisioned a “fun magnet”—a pool and spa with an adjacent cabana that would draw everyone together for leisure-time pleasures. To turn the design-desolate yard into a welcoming oasis, they enlisted Brian J. Koribanick, owner of Landscape Techniques in Nutley. Working with the existing rustic beauty of the property and utilizing the yard’s natural grade changes to maximum advantage, Koribanick came up with clean, simple concepts that harmoniously married landscape and hardscape. “We approached this as we do all of our projects,” he says. “Our approach is to offer our clients multiple preliminary proposals. We’ll help them choose different elements and features from the various options until we custom-create precisely what they want.” In this instance, the clients were very receptive to design collaboration and had realistic expectations of the time that would be required. “We had a great working relationship,” adds the landscape designer. “Our team was on site every day. I’d meet with the owners once a week to consult on details, then follow through accordingly on the work in progress.” “We continued to make modifications throughout the process,” says Marcus. “We were in constant communication, and eventually we got to a place we were happy with.” Over eight months, from one summer into the following spring (with a winter gap), the backyard gradually came to beautiful fruition. The focal jewel is the 1,100-square-foot, free-form pool. Framed by 3,900 square feet of wet-laid, full-range, natural cleft
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