“This is the largest project we have been involved in,” says COS Design — a special challenge, since the actual home’s façade wasn’t finalized at the time. But part of the challenge, according to Steve Taylor, was the site’s actual situation: it had great views around it — but that meant it was set on a dramatic slope. “On a severely sloping site,” Taylor explains, “management of the levels is the key to the success of the outdoor spaces.” This level management meant construction of walls — a lot of them. Although designers generally like to “minimize walls” as much as possible, building them in this case enabled the concept of a modern resort-like space to be realized. The different walls encompass different purposes — from the basic foundational wall for the al fresco area, through various raised beds filled with lush native greenery, to yet another level – that of the elegant lap pool.
COS calls this pool the “star of the show,” and rightfully so. From its spa, it flows to an edge that seems to continue as the spine of the home, a watery path linking house and outdoor area. Edged by native stone and wood-deck enclosed foliage, the pool’s enclosure even serves as one of the retaining walls of the design — unobtrusive double-duty. Enhanced by glorious palms and striking cool lighting (both within the pool and uplit along the plantings and the pool house), this back yard resort then influenced the façade for the home itself. It’s what Taylor calls a “three-sixty” — a total reversal of the usual order of house first, then landscape. This elegant, extensive property turned the process “on its head”…with fabulous results.