Column: Employing the solutioneering solution

IO 0724 Randy Sorrell
Revamped courtyard deck and pool. (Submitted photo)

Solutioneering seems to be an enthused driver in most projects. Finding solutions for both outdoor patio living spaces as well as bathroom and kitchen remodels where we often engineer ideas, negotiate material selections and create provocative designs to overcome perceived obstacles is a thrill!  Some are legitimate obstacles that require an immense volume of intervention. Most however, resemble lemons that become delicious lemonade on a thick, sultry day.


This project is a tasty example of solutioneering. Although budget was not a large concern, we were mindful of cost. The previous odd courtyard with a centered overgrown tree was completely uninviting and unaccessible. The four massive doors all opening onto it created additional havoc.

The engawa-style deck, a Japanese solution of connecting interior rooms with an exterior walkway, was skillfully employed thanks to the ridiculous talents of Eric Beard, registered landscape architect. Think of a level deck that wraps in front of each door and spills out to a lower patio. Immediately, the space became livable, inviting and easily navigated. The dense tree was thinned to become a focal point which now provides dappled shade while guests relax overlooking the sexy pool scene.


Although there was plenty of concrete pool decking, it wasn’t quite large enough for comfy lounge chairs. A tumbled sandstone color paver expansion brought the courtyard Trex deck together and now flows seamlessly. The sitting wall defines the interior courtyard while also offering a perch for overflow crowds or flowering pots.

Solutioneering, our act of engineering solutions for everyday issues for your Surroundings. And, it’s not something you can Google.”