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Yard of the Week: Elegant Poolside Retreat and Front Yard Lounge

Photos by Julie MacCalus

Yard at a Glance
Who lives here: A couple and their daughter
Location: Haddonfield, New Jersey
Lot size: About half an acre
Designer and builder: Ledden Palimeno

The pool itself was in great shape, but everything around it needed an upgrade. For the pool decking, Palimeno chose Blu 60 slate slab pavers by Techo-Bloc in beige and cream, which feel cool underfoot on hot summer days. His crew salvaged the original brick pavers and incorporated them around the pool and the perimeter of the property to add color and contrast.

Before: Here’s a look at the pool before the renovation.

After: Palimeno made use of a spot against the garage, where there had been some plantings, to place two chaise lounges where they would receive sun during the day. “We were able to take that space and make it really functional where it wasn’t before,” says Palimeno, owner and lead designer at Ledden Palimeno.

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While it can be tricky to work around an existing pool, Palimeno says defining functional areas on different levels proved challenging as well. “It’s kind of strange to walk out of your house, down off your deck to grade and then walk back up to your pool. That’s not a typical design for us,” he says. “We would have set that pool elevation down when it was originally built and have some walls around that, so keeping those different levels was our biggest challenge.”

To ease the path and create interest, Palimeno put in two semicircular stairs topped with Pennsylvania bluestone and edged with the repurposed brick.

Cozy Outdoor Kitchen

A new ipe wood deck and integrated grilling station — featuring soapstone countertops, undermount lighting and a brick surround — create an ideal setup for family meals and entertaining. “The brick surround also acts as a separation from their driveway,” Palimeno says. An ipe slat wall adds more warmth to the space.

Inviting Front Yard Seating

Before:
Here’s a view of the front yard before Palimeno redesigned it. In the front of the house, which faces a quiet street, the homeowners wanted another sitting area where they could relax while their daughter played in the yard.

After: Palimeno created an intimate patio furnished with Adirondack chairs. “It’s what you would have if you built a porch on the front of your house,” he says.

Before: A straight brick pathway used to lead from the driveway to the front door.

Low-Maintenance Plantings

To complement the hardscaping, Palimeno chose a variety of regionally appropriate plants that require little maintenance. “This is a palette that we use all the time in our designs; we know which plants do well in our soil, our climate and our zone,” he says. “We use a lot of ‘Green Velvet’ boxwood (Buxus ‘Green Velvet’) and Incrediball smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens), a hybrid variety of Annabelle, that has big white flowers and stands up more firmly than an Annabelle, which flops when there’s lots of rain.”

Several varieties of ornamental grasses were added to soften the overall look. “Grasses are just nice; you’ll see them moving in the breeze, and they make for easy gardening because you’re not pruning — all you’re doing is cutting it down in spring or fall, whenever you choose to,” Palimeno says.

Perimeter Fencing

Palimeno designed a custom cedar fence that brings a modern flair to the yard. “It’s hard to find a ready-made fence that has a horizontal slat look like that, and we also designed a hollow post system so we were able to fish wire through for the lighting,” he says.

Palimeno welcomes clients doing plenty of online research prior to beginning a large project. “We use Houzz as a resource all the time, and almost every client shares an ideabook with us,” he says. “Houzz is such a great resource to quickly get a sense and feel for the client’s taste and their style.”

This content was originally published here.

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