Glen Ellyn, IL


This client contacted us to figure out a way to remove an old leaking pond, then add a new outdoor living space. Simple, right?

They made several calls to a few hardscape contractors just to get the same ideas. Everyone’s solution was to add a paver patio with the same color bricks and walls all over the place. They knew their backyard could be more than just a big paver patio. By doing some research on outdoor living design and styles, they were able to locate us.

This project was going to be a challenge. Upon the arrival of the initial consultation, I was blown away by how beautiful the existing pond was. Their backyard was an oasis above and beyond most designs we create now.

They had a view from their sunroom of two waterfalls and a stream that meandered under a deck. Even the deck was really neat, with a bridge that traveled from the main deck to a gazebo-styled sitting area almost in the middle of it all. It was a very relaxing space, and we were being hired to remove it to create a better space. No pressure…

It’s not hard to design from a blank space. It’s really challenging to design in a space that already has features and components. So my question of confusion was, “what do you want us to do for you again”?

The client stated that they loved their space now, but the pond was leaking and had to be filled up almost daily. They also stated that the outdoor living space felt unbalanced to them. The deck was on one side, and the patio was on the other side of the yard. Their events felt unbalanced.

We learned long ago that we must listen to the clients when designing spaces. Even if we design what we want, the project has to become a space our clients envision.

They spend a lot of time in the backyard, and they take walks around the pond all the time. After surveying the yard, I realized a huge pond and a walking trail in the back of the property. The large pond was blocked by the existing trees and mounded soil from the waterfalls.

The existing sunroom was in the perfect position for everything going on in their backyard, so we placed the custom fire feature right in the center. This gave them the perfect view of the fire feature, pond, and walking path from the sunroom. The fire feature area is also the perfect view of the pond.

We removed the bridge section of the existing deck, changed the old deck rails, and added a new facia board on the existing deck. This saved them a lot of money and allowed them to keep the old deck while incorporating it into the new project.

Steppers with gravel paths are becoming a must in our design style. We added a pathway from the deck’s furthest side through a planting bed of perennials, hosta, grasses, ferns, etc.

The large tree has two downlights in it called “moonlighting.” At nighttime, the downlights create a shadow of the tree branches on the ground, moving as the trees sway in the wind.

The central patio is a full-range natural bluestone. Bluestone is very rich in color and ties into the home’s existing architecture. The stones have grains of color and texture in them.

We topped this project off with a very subtle water feature built into the wall. The water feature can be seen and heard from all areas of the outdoor living spaces, even while sitting in the sunroom.

Now, this client has the same relaxing space with more function and areas to entertain guests. They spend more time hanging out with friends and family in their new outdoor living space. Mission accomplished.


  • Create a space that matches the existing architecture of the home.
  • Create a space that matched the feeling of the existing pond and outdoor space.
  • Create a space for multiple uses because of the small footprint.


  • (Moonlight) Landscape Lights
  • Natural Gas Fire Feature
  • Water Feature


  • Working within the existing landscape.
  • Reusing a porting of the old deck matching the new products.
  • Saving all of the beautiful coy fish and donating them to the neighbors.