Alamo, California: Poolside pleasures

This garden has many gathering areas and facilities for entertaining

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Alamo, California: Poolside pleasures

A large terrace connects the patio dining area with the outdoor kitchen and spa. Raised planters border the geometric pool.

Gary Orr

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The concept of outdoor living attains new heights with the remodel of Craig and Cara Chases' Northern California ranch house garden. The previously humdrum yard has become the ultimate space for entertaining and family fun.

Jurors were wowed by the variety of gathering areas, numerous amenities for entertaining, and well-thought-out arrangement. "The integration of the house with the landscape is extremely effective," commented a juror.

Landscape architect Gary Orr's impressive attention to detail is evident throughout the garden. By setting the pool patio's grade a few feet below the grade of an existing Japanese maple, he opened up views beneath the tree's lowest limbs.

A new concrete planter wall surrounding the maple was finished with board textures to suggest that the wall might have been constructed of wood recycled from an old ranch shed. The barbecue area is actually a fully equipped kitchen with sink, refrigerators, and electrical outlets.

To connect the garden with the house's interiors, Orr used terra-cotta-like tile concrete pavement that reflects the interior tile floors. "This garden epitomizes the true concept of indoor/outdoor living," concluded one juror.

DESIGNER: Gary Orr, ORR Design Office, San Leandro/Sacramento (800/647-4781)

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