This “Arcadia-Lite” property was a lesson in maximizing every available inch. One half of the yard was given to a setback from the power lines. Towering hedge oleander behind this Finesse on Fairmount property felt like a tidal wave about to pour into the yard. The design solution had to deflect this imposing force.

The pool could only go along the patio because of the powerline setback. It’s location was clear. To not feel trapped on the patio, generously wide floating step stones lead one across the water.

The grand gesture of this project is felt in the vertical arching wall that sweeps across the property, also feeling like a wave, and sufficiently tall so as to counterbalance the towering mass of the oleander.

To maximize entertaining capacity in a small space, a floating concrete bench spans the length of the pool, providing plenty of seating for a large gathering around the elongated linear firepit.

At either end of the yard, the same wave is repeated in an organic version. Trellises that arch and block unwarranted views of the neighbors are adorned in a seasonal blaze of red cross vine.


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This book of principles captures the elusive qualities that separate what is esteemed from the mundane. They elevate even simple projects to an art form.

Those who have studied the arts know these fundamentals; yet the finesse of implementing these insights consistently takes rigorous application few have attained. The masters integrate them intuitively and now you can have them at your fingertips.

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