This project, designed by Elizabeth Baird Architecture & Design for a creative couple and their two children, converted a non-descript backyard into an outdoor living space with a pool and new freestanding casita building for additional living and entertaining space. The site, nestled in the Zilker neighborhood, presented many development challenges, including a protected tree as well as impervious cover and height restrictions. Photography by Andrea Calo.
The new design creates a strong central axis between the existing house living room, new pool, and new casita building anchoring the back of the site, tying the elements together compositionally. The existing ground plane was carefully sculpted to raise the pool and ground around it so the family could easily enjoy views of the water from the existing living spaces. From there the site was carved and terraced to create a series of outdoor spatial experiences defined by different natural materials including grass, wood decking, concrete, stone and steel.
In relationship to the ground plane, the pool coping changes from ground level to bench height and eventually becomes the top of an exposed vertical face at the far end, punctuated by water flowing from steel spouts into a small basin below. Adjacent cast concrete steps transform into a concrete bench that also serves as the boundary of a planter along the side property line. These elements all surround a central wooden deck that is ideal for entertaining larger groups or hosting ping-pong tournaments. One side of the yard is shaded from the Texas sun by the existing pecan tree while the other side gains shade from a custom steel pipe trellis wrapping above the outdoor dining area and along the front of the casita.
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