Column: Big ideas for big spaces


Commentary by Randy Sorrell

This massive Carmel property is surrounded by rare open fields with large homes hovering in the distance. The pool is appropriately scaled to the surrounds, which demanded the landscape and privacy solutions be just as powerful.

To create the needed privacy, we employed these three strategies.


We design/construct as many pergolas for shade as we do for privacy, and adding drama to a space that feels too stale or open. The resulting pergola in the featured project is 36-feet long, spanning in excess of the pool width. Note that each side returns with a right angle. The space is immediately hugged and manageable while eliminating the vulnerable, naked feel. Structurally sound columns detail the structure and are borrowed elements from inside the beautiful home.


Large spaces command big thing: big furniture, big pots, big trees, big beds, big ideas!  The naturalized diablo ninebark in the background have grown together and are in excess of 8-feet tall. They completely eliminated the vulnerable sight lines. The evergreen upright junipers glimpsed behind them offers another level of privacy and appreciated winter influence. Blue junipers were repeated along the pool edge, serving as adhesive to make the space more visually manageable and inspiring. Perimeter shade trees fill the tall canopy.


All spaces appreciate color, but huge spaces are desperate for it in waves of coordination. Layers and color help define the space and prompts energy. The interest of layers keeps the space moving while enhancing privacy, too. We love Russian sage, black-eyed susans, moonbeam coreopsis, repeat blooming roses and purple coneflower around pools. They scream color and flowers during pool months.

Privacy is one of the most frequent conversations we have, followed closely by shade, low-maintenance and color.  We like them all!


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