The Grayson’s contacted us in October 2017 before the construction of their new home in Sachse, TX was finished telling me about some ideas they had for their backyard. They were planning a water feature, a playground, and eventually a pool. We stayed in contact and then visited as construction was finishing to get some more details together. The backyard is rather short from house to fence and long from side to side. There is a four-foot retaining wall about four feet off the fence. It was nothing but bare ground at that time.[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”1″ display=”basic_thumbnail” images_per_page=”4″]
I penciled a sketch and got back to the office to draw and render a full landscape design for the back yard. I thought it would be really cool to incorporate the wall and use it as the slope change for the water feature they were looking for. I could see that being the focal point of the backyard while walking off the back porch. To the sides I could see a nice wooden playset with swings, a lofted cabin, a slide and a climbing wall. On the other side, I drew in an inground trampoline. We always had a trampoline growing up and with the Grayson’s having grandchildren visiting I knew that if I was them then, I would definitely be looking forward to a fun playset and an inground trampoline at the grand parents house!
When the plan was finished and I had a price together I met back up with the Grayson’s to go over everything. They loved the idea of the water feature and we discussed having it look natural with stone and plants. We used stone to match the existing wall. We discussed all the plants we would use to create my style of Texas landscaping. The Grayson’s are originally from New Mexico so we wanted to blend the Texan and Southwest styles together for the plantings. The flowerbed area was about half hardwood bark mulch and decomposed granite to give that feel. I originally had more grasses in the design utilizing maiden grass but Mrs. Grayson wanted more shrub forms and less grassy forms so that was changed to texas sage and I am really happy with how it all turned out.
When the irrigation system was installed Mr. Grayson had the installers add a valve for the area between the wall and the fence but not run lateral lines. That was a good call because we were able to tap into that valve and run a custom system designed specifically for the plantings on the wall. I have come up with a method of watering landscapes like this that I call precision irrigation. I run a ½” tube from the valve and make a loop around the bed. Then, I tap into that line and run a smaller tube to an emitter by the plant. This method saves water by only watering where it’s needed, at the plant itself.
We started construction in May of 2018 on the water feature by cutting out the top part of the wall where a large slab would sit and the water would flow off of. A large hole was dug for the reservoir of the pondless water fall. The pump goes in the reservoir and sends water up to the top of the feature to be channeled down the stream and back into the resevoir. We used the dirt from the hole to create the shape of the stream and then covered it in pond liner. Next came the stone work to hold everything in place and make it look like a natural stream. We then planted a purple leaf red bud tree next to the stream and a few other plants to complement the plants at the top of the wall. The top of the wall got two trees, a chaste tree and a desert willow. The bed was filled with mexican feather grass, little kitten maiden grass, soft leaf yucca, texas sage, and lantana.
In May of 2020 the Grayson’s finished contruction of a new pool and large decking space. We rerouted their irrigation and tied their pool/patio drainage into the drain system for their yard. We modified the area adjacent to the pool patio and the water feature to make a seamless transition into the new flowerbeds we created. We then added precision irrigation and plants to complement the ones on the wall. This time we used 2 fan palms and a mediteranean palm to give a more tropical feel around the pool. We also incorporated some annual color beds around the pool. We used hardy hibiscus, dwarf yaupon holly, abelia, more lantana, and blackfoot daisy to fill in the beds.
At this time, we added some beautiful outdoor lighting. We added path lights running down the length of the wall to give the yard a deeper feel at night and accent the planting on the wall. The trees and palms all got up lights directed at them to accent their height and add a different dimension. We added 3 flood lights to point at the water feature to accent its beauty at night. We love lighting. There are so many positive benefits of it. My favorite benefit is that you get the value of the landscape twenty four hours a day instead of only during daytime. Also, if done correctly, lighting can give a different feeling during the night as opposed to the daytime. On top of these benefits you also get the added security. There’s the security of being able to see where you’re walking and the security of deterring trespassers.