The sometimes tricky geography of St. Louis presents challenges when creating elaborate residential outdoor living spaces and landscapes, but these high-end examples from area companies showcase the unique opportunities as well.
Landscape St. Louis
When designing the outdoor space for a Clayton home, Landscape St. Louis president Ron Goedeker was tasked with incorporating a plethora of elements into a small area.
“Our client wanted to have formal garden areas while keeping the integrity of the home’s colonial architecture, as well as integrating some of the places she has traveled,” Goedeker says.
The landscaping for the new home transitions from the formal gardens that mimic those in Charleston, S.C., to a natural woodland area. Plantings vary from viburnum to English laurel to rhododendron. To negotiate several elevation changes, the yard includes components like brick walls, a Turkish marble checkerboard landing, wrought iron fences and Eden limestone steps.
“The biggest challenge was working with the elevations and getting everything the client was hoping for in a tight space,” Goedeker notes. A raised lawn panel allows for flat ground to play croquet, while bubbling fountains and European hornbeam provide a private, intimate feel.
The landscaping is an ongoing process, as the company tweaks and adds to the homeowner’s needs. “She’ll see something she loves or will buy antiques and garden ornaments,” Goedeker says. “Then we’ll make sure they work into the landscape.”
Baker Pool Construction
During initial interviews, Ken Mikes of Baker Pool Construction finds out what his clients’ goals are for their outdoor area—whether it’s for luxury, entertaining or the kids. His recent Chesterfield clients “wanted a lot of ‘wow’ factor,” Mikes says. “They wanted to look out in their backyard and see something visually striking.”
The ‘wow’ factor was accomplished with a space that includes an infinity edge pool, fire pit and under-deck bar. With a hillside backyard that emerges from a wooded area, “the water from the pool looks like it’s falling into the trees,” Mikes says. “It’s very dramatic.”
The severe slope of the yard required a significant amount of engineering, with 15-foot retaining walls. Baker Pool also used multi-tier levels to create different outdoor rooms, a design element that has become more popular in St. Louis as it utilizes the undulating landscapes, Mikes notes.
In addition, stone used to build the fire pit and wrap the deck columns was selected to match the newly constructed home. “Whether the house is 50 years old or 5 weeks old, we want our outdoor design to architecturally match,” Mikes says. “We want all of the elements to blend and fit together.” LN