Outdoor improvements add so much enjoyment to your property, but we know they are a big undertaking and investment! AquaTerra has dedicated our services to mitigating the homeowner workload during the construction process and using our time and talents to manage your design all the way from the first vision you had to the first dinner party once construction is complete. There is a myth and temptation in the construction industry that using different contractors throughout your design and construction is a time and money saver. We believe that investing in our full house services is an investment that stands the test of time and returns itself tenfold.
Working with multiple companies to design or install different amenities of your property can lead to a disjointed design aesthetic and worse, gaps or mistakes in the foundation and function of different elements in the space (think plumbing, electrical, irrigation, drainage etc). Our engagement with clients always begins with a holistic approach to design and planning. We take your vision and create a master plan, thoroughly thinking through details that make profound impact in the most subtle ways. Managing all aspects of the outdoor environment allow us to hand select the right type of contractors and subcontractors in which to engage.
Once the design is generated, AquaTerra quickly generates a construction budget for installation. This budget can be quickly modified as the design is revised and finalized. Imagine coordinating pricing from every sub-contractor and trade any time there is a revision to the design. A client may have to contact several contractors for one small change in order to get pricing revisions. Let AquaTerra do that for you! At AquaTerra, we think through the entire construction process and consider all timing and possible phasing of infrastructure and amenities from start to finish.
Design by Randy Angell, Build by AquaTerra
As we move into the planning phase, AquaTerra selects from a trusted vault of contractors specifically suited for your design. Our contractors have gone through our quality assurance process and understand our expectations of workmanship and attention to detail. We’ve built trust with a select group of craftsman to get better pricing, faster turnaround times and better outcomes for our clients. When we come to them with a new idea or challenge, they are excited to help us work through the details to create the designed vision. We work to create a master construction plan where each phase and detail is clearly laid out and communicated to each sub contractor.
And finally, as the project moves to construction the client has one point of contact for every aspect of project. AquaTerra manages the day to day schedule of work to ensure the process runs smoothly and the different trades are performing their work at the correct time. There are a lot of moving parts during installation and it is important that different contractors are not working in the same area or are in each other’s way. D
Here at AquaTerra, we strive to be a single source solution for our clients outdoor needs. If you are ready to begin the journey for your project, please contact us and let us go to work for you!
Large estates and gardens can be stunning, and we all appreciate beautiful landscape design done on a large scale. However, when it comes to value, care and maintenance, and our community, large gardens and oversized lawns can have their drawbacks. Below are some benefits only small outdoor spaces can deliver. If you’re in the market for a new home or considering an outdoor construction project at your current home, here are the reasons we love designing a small garden!
- Stretch your budget. Possibly the biggest benefit to small gardens is the ability to use higher quality materials and finishes that otherwise wouldn’t be budget friendly in a larger space. By nature, smaller spaces require less material and less labor to build and open a new realm of possibility when it comes to material choices and creativity. Large backyard often have the “forgotten fence line”, an area far along the back fence that remains undersigned because of budget restraints. This is less likely to be the case with your small space!
- Easy maintenance. Let’s face it, many people struggle to find the time to properly care for their plant life and properly clean their outdoor spaces. And, if you’re not a do-it-yourselfer, it can be expensive to hire the kind of high quality garden maintenance necessary to keep and outdoor space ‘party ready” at all times. Small gardens offer the ability to spend drastically less time tending to your plants and cleaning your patio. Also, this is great for beginning gardeners who are learning the do’s and don’ts of plant design and care. Earn your stripes on your small garden before tackling a larger space.
- An extension of your indoor space. Often smaller outdoor spaces are surrounded by compact walls and/or fencing that creates nice boundaries defining your backyard as another “room” of your house. With careful design this concept can transform your experience by connecting your homes interior aesthetic with your outdoor space. Material finishes, lines, textures, colors can all be used strategically to blend the lines between indoors and outdoors.
- Privacy. Who doesn’t love a private space to retreat to from time to time? Small spaces can give you an intimate private retreat from your urban surroundings. Privacy from neighboring buildings, streets and sidewalks can be accomplished with a plethora of creative solutions. Masonry or wood walls, privacy hedges, overhead trees, raised container plants and trellises are all useful tools to create an intimate private setting in your small backyard.
- Be part of your community. Small backyards force us to utilize our public parks and fields for playtime and sports that require more space. While having a whiffle ball tournament in your backyard is super cool, it doesn’t exactly encourage neighbors to get out and meet each other. Utilizing your local parks and fields for such games will allow you to meet neighbors you wouldn’t otherwise meet, and possibly make new friends who you can invite over to see your awesome small backyard!
Creating a dream backyard can be a big undertaking. We are often asked if we can complete our work in multiple phases over the course of a few seasons. More often than not, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” When building a multi-faceted project, there are several factors to consider and an “order of operations” in which it should be done to minimize disrupting previously completed areas and creating efficiencies with time and budget. Here are some stages for phasing a project that lay the foundation for everything that follows.
Create a Master Plan: Whether the project is built all at one time or over a couple of seasons, it is essential to design the entire space up-front. We first walk our clients through a thorough design process that allows us to understand how they live, work and play outdoors. This creates a foundational roadmap for the overarching vision of the backyard. We take the end goal and break it into pieces, outlining how each connection will be made both above and below ground. For example, if the end-goal is to build an outdoor living structure with a kitchen and fireplace, but the budget only allows for a slab patio at present-time, we know we need to install the concrete foundations for those key future elements as well as sleeve for future gas and electrical locations. We also will be able to sleeve or stub-up for future irrigation and electrical work to be done in the landscape.
Install the Pool and Hardscape
After creating the master plan, the next step is to create the anchor of the backyard so clients can utilize the space as soon as possible. Often times, this includes a pool. Think of this area as the bones of the backyard; everything starts with those connections and works outward. Installing the pool and hardscaping around it also create instant impact; suddenly, an area that was unusable has been transformed and contains as an area to relax with friends or play with kids. If pool and hardscape cannot be completed simultaneously, definitely install the pool first. There is a lot of infrastructure that goes along with a pool and it is best to get that in place prior to installing hardscape areas.
The final piece of the puzzle is landscaping. Since plant material is more sensitive than concrete, it is always recommended to install last. If done prior to hardscaping or pool, there is a 100% chance the plants will be damaged and need to be replaced. Begin first by installing the larger material like trees or screening shrubs to provide shade and a backdrop for the other material. Next are the shrubs and groundcover, with the lawn being installed last of all. This order is important because you want the least amount of foot-traffic so the yard can properly establish and root-in before the inaugural party to show-off the wonderful new back yard!
Here at AquaTerra, we want to make your dream become a reality. If you have a grand vision for your outdoor space, but aren’t sure where to start or how to accomplish it, give us a call! We will partner with you every step of the way.
We are often asked how to keep insects away, kill weeds and keep your grass overall disease free. We always recommend removing the thatch by lowering mow heights. Aerate twice a year; this practice will remove thatch from soil, reduce compaction and allow grass to expand and grow. Top dress half an inch to two inches with a well-aged, non-stinky organic compost. This fertilizes the soil, increases water retention and helps grass fill in faster.
Bonus: Stay away from using colored mulches in your flower beds. The chemicals from coloring leak into the soil and reduce microbial activity that’s beneficial to our soils.
Trimming the Trees:
- Oak trees are currently in their wilting season, so avoid pruning from February 1 to July 1. https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/OakWiltFAQS/
- Avoid mulching on top of the root collard
- If you haven’t fertilized tree for two seasons we recommend deep root fertilization and compost around your tree.
- When pruning trees, remember to open canopy for lighting filtration for lower plantings and air movement to avoid disease. And, of course, remove dead and crossing branches.
Feeling overwhelmed? Our crew is here to help! Call us at 214-387-8333 to liven up your landscaping.
The smoky sweetness of fruit seared on the grill is an easy way to impress guests. Grilled fruit doesn’t have to be saved for dessert; we’ve created a sample menu below using fruit in each course.
Appetizer: Grilled Prosciutto wrapped fig
Recipe found on The Food Network
- 6 Black Mission Figs, cut in ½
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar, plus extra for dressing
- Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 12 slices prosciutto
- ½ log goat cheese or cream cheese
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups baby arugula
- ½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Kosher salt
- Preheat the grill and brush with a grill brush to remove any excess crud and fat. After brushing, run an oiled towel over the grates to pick up any loosened crud or soot.
- Drizzle each fig half with vinegar and fill each fig center with goat cheese. Sprinkle a couple flakes of crushed red pepper, if using, on top of the goat cheese and wrap each fig with a slice of prosciutto. Paint the outside of each fig very lightly with olive oil.
- Put the figs on a cooler spot of the preheated grill. The idea here is that we want to grill the figs gently to cook the fig all the way through but to still get the char on the outside. Grill the figs on all sides so the prosciutto is starting to become crispy and the fig feels soft when squeezed, about 5 to 6 minutes.
- While the figs are grilling, in a large bowl, toss the arugula with a little extra-virgin olive oil, some balsamic vinegar and the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Taste, and add salt, if needed. Arrange on individual serving plates or a serving platter and top with the figs. Drizzle a couple of drops of balsamic on each fig and serve.
Main Course: Chicken terriyaki with grilled pineapple
Recipe found on Fit Foodie Finds
- 2 packages of Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
- 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce/marinade
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons EVOO
- 2 Tablespoons pineapple juice
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 1 pineapple, cored and sliced
- Begin by prepping marinade. Mix together teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, garlic, EVOO, pineapple juice, and lime juice. Then, place chicken portions in a large tupperware or glass bowl and pour marinade on top. Pierce chicken breasts with a fork a few times so that the marinade really soaks in. Place in refrigerator, covered, for 4-5 hours.
- Once the chicken breasts are marinaded, preheat grill to about 375F. Spray grill with nonstick cooking spray, and place chicken breasts on top.
- Let cook for 5-7 minutes on each side, watching closely.
- To grill pineapple, place on preheated grill (375F) and cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side.
Dessert: grilled peached served over bluebell ice cream
- 5 peaches
- 1/2 C brown sugar
- 1 T cinnamon
- 1 t vanilla
- 1 Gallon of Bluebell Vanilla Ice Cream
- Cut peaches in slices
- In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla
- Brush peach slices with mixture
- Sear for 2 minutes on high heat
- Serve over vanilla ice cream
Minimalist landscapes are one of the top design trends in landscape design, and it’s easy to see why. Contemporary landscapes tend to require less maintenance. You can create a space that’s both inviting and artful. We’re all about building modern outdoor scapes that connect with the existing surrounding environments, bringing warmth and life into the space. We sat down with one of our lead designers, Ross Burke, to learn some simple ways you can incorporate elements of modern, minimalist design into your existing landscapes. We’re sharing a few of our favorite past projects where we’ve incorporated minimalist design elements for inspiration as well!
6 Tips for creating a minimalist landscape
- Simplify your plant pallet by using mass plantings of the same species- this creates large swaths of color and texture that can interplay with each other, or surrounding walls and structures
- Utilize vertical plants in linear fashion to define space and screen walls or buildings
- Define space with linear decking pattern
- Soften decking pattern and introduce more natural elements by using grass or river rock
- Contemporary projects tend to be static with little movement – soft grasses create movement with wind
- Limit height and mass of plantings along house foundation to give the structure prominence if desired
Have fun with your landscapes… When it comes to minimalism, remember- less is more. We’re always here to help you achieve your outdoor living and landscape goals. Give us a call! We’d love to chat about how we can turn your outdoor environment into an award-winning space for you and your family to enjoy year-round.
Santa Barbara style meets modern Mediterranean
Experiential design full of unique, intimate spaces
A lasting relationship with AquaCare and TerraCare
- Master plan design + build by AquaTerra Outdoors
- Landscaping and Pool managed by AquaTerra Outdoors
- Home built by Ron Davis Custom Homes
- Infinity edge spa glass tile- Oceanside Tile
- Custom stainless steel scupper- Bobe Water + Fire
- Pool plaster- Wet Edge Technologies
As we get close to the upcoming AIA Dallas Tour of Homes this fall, we can’t help but reminisce about some of our former AIA Home Tour featured projects. This week we’re taking it back to 2016, with this East Dallas minimalism gem. If you haven’t purchased your tickets for this year’s 2018 AIA Dallas Tour of Homes, head over to their site and snag them while you can!
“Casa Linder” Residence (You can see & read more about it on Arch Daily, here)
- dimensions of the wall: 23’-6” long, 2’-0” thick, 8’-0” tall
- dimensions of the pool: 30’x10’
- square footage of the pool area of the yard, not the grassy area: 1120 S.F.
- specific names to trees and plants used: Trees – Savannah Holly (pool area trees), Mexican Feather Grass (pool area grass), Gulf Muhly Grass (front of wall)
- list of materials used throughout the rest of the space, whether the name of the material or a specific brand: Pool tile 6×12 Invoke Mystic Way Stone Ventures, Pool Coping: Pre-cast Concrete, natural color, pool decking: smooth trowel concrete with a light acid wash, pool plaster: Durazzo French Grey, small gravel: native Texas River Rock, Gabion Wall Material – crushed Limestone
See you on the AIA Dallas Tour of Homes this October!
There’s nothing more inviting than a relaxed evening under the stars and a great meal to pair with it. When I think of al fresco dining, a great cheese board is always the first thing that comes to mind. It’s easy to pull together, can feed the masses, and the possibilities are endless. Not to mention, you can have a lot of fun with presentation. We’re throwing together some sort of “board” at least once a week at our house. They’re also a great way to get the entire family cooking… my kids love building our spread on board nights.
Just in time for the weekend, I’m sharing my tips on pulling off a fantastic board for your outdoor entertaining.
1. Choose your serving base
It doesn’t have to be a traditional board. Get creative! Baskets, trays, wooden boards, etc. can all be used for displaying the right charcuterie for your outdoor dining experience. We just got our hands on these cute flat baskets that are perfect for holding all the goods in one spot. They’re also easy to move from indoors to outdoors, which is a total win for this hostess.
I typically work in threes. A good rule of thumb is to choose one soft (think goat, brie, or port salut), one hard (manchego is my go-to), and another with a different shape, texture or color (like gouda, or havarti) Think of your audience too. When I’m entertaining with kids, I will pick something mild and a for sure crowd pleaser (cheddar for the win). If I’m entertaining adults, then I will go a little more bold or try something new (hello stinky bleu!)
This can be in the form of spreads, nuts, olives, etc. Try a roasted garlic bulb for a warm, delicious addition. You want people to be able to add to their cheese and cracker. Pairing certain cheeses with spreads elevates the flavor. You can’t go wrong with honey, fig jam, marcona almonds (they can be pricey- but SO worth it), grapes, or sliced apples. Be sure to provide a variety of sweet and salty options to satisfy any craving!
5. Time for the finishing touches-garnish!
This is such a simple, important piece, but often overlooked. It will make your board stand out against the rest; you’ll for sure wow your guests. Look to nature for this detail – herbs, flowers, branch clippings are the best. My signature addition is an aromatic rosemary branch. We have rosemary planted all over our yard, so I just clip a few branches to finish off the presentation!
Voila! Time to share your creation with friends and family. Or make a board for one… we won’t judge if you don’t want to share!
Happy cheese boarding!
~Heather @ Design Roots
Design Roots: Our new outdoor luxury and lifestyle brand
A new season of growth is upon us at AquaTerra… We are so excited to share the launch of our latest adventure with you! We’re in the midst of launching our sister company, Design Roots, an outdoor luxury and lifestyle brand. Since the inception of AquaTerra, my wife Casey and I envisioned a boutique store to sell curated outdoor furnishings, garden items, textiles, plant bar, organic soap, flower scented candles and so much more. Design Roots will soon house a brick and mortar showroom and online boutique with our curated items, as well as offer full design services to complete your outdoor environment and experience. We’ve always believed a life outdoors is a life fully lived; Design Roots is a new opportunity to further share our passion and lifestyle of outdoor living.
Partners and kindred spirits
We’ve teamed up with our very talented and longtime friend, Heather Bloem, to help bring our dream to fruition. Casey and Heather met through church and became fast friends after discovering she, too, has a degree in Landscape Architecture. Heather’s immense talent and shared passion for bringing the beauty of life outdoors to others led us to begin working together in a variety of ways, paving a way for our Design Roots vision to become a reality. The rest is history- Design Roots is here; a one-of-a-kind design source, boutique store and brand to serve those as passionate about life lived outdoors as we are! Heather is busy wrapping up our debut Design Roots project, Charleston Charm, with many projects in progress… It’s going to be an amazing year!
Building from the ground up
We’ve teamed up with local nonprofit Spirit of a Hero to support wounded American veterans. We’re channeling our passion for people and the outdoors to transform the backyard of war hero, Corporal Brian Aft, by building a safe, handicap accessible space for Brian and his service dogs, Buckshot and Trigger, to enjoy.
Please join us in our support of Brian by contributing to our $30,000 goal to build Brian’s backyard sanctuary.
Four years after joining the Marine Corps, Brian and his Marine bomb dog, Buckshot, were involved in an IED explosion that resulted in the amputation of both of his legs above the knee. Brian was just two weeks away from returning home.
After two years of medical treatment away from home, Brian returned home to the DFW and medically retired from the military in 2013. The USMC agreed to retire Staff Sergeant Buckshot (You read that right… this Marine’s best friend is HIGHLY trained by the USMC, and outranks Cpl. Aft! !), and gifted him to Brian for his service and sacrifice. Brian and Buckshot are active in the veteran community and those who know them can’t help but admire their enthusiasm and love for life!
Creating a functional space
Due to an extreme sloping in the landscape and Brian’s confinement to a wheelchair, Brian is currently unable use his backyard and engage in one of his favorite activities – spending time outdoors with his two dogs, Buckshot and Trigger. Creating an accessible outdoor environment would tremendously improve Brian’s quality of life and AquaTerra is proud to do our part in supporting our veterans to live their best lives. All donations will go directly towards costs and materials for the project. Any funds raised beyond our $30,000 goal will go to Spirit of a Hero’s upcoming 2019 selected veteran.
We’re so grateful for your support
Click here to donate today and follow us on social, as we share Brian’s incredible journey, our project, and how Spirit of a Hero helps DFW’s critically wounded veterans. See our project progress updates and watch for Cpl. Aft’s big reveal when we complete his backyard haven!
Thank you so much for your support in our cause from all of us at AquaTerra Outdoors, Spirit of a Hero, and Corporal Brian Aft.
Beat the Texas heat with our favorite outdoor shade solutions!
At AquaTerra, we’re always looking for ways to maximize beauty, utility, and comfort when designing your outdoor environments. Here in Texas, the summer sun is unforgiving, often lasting well beyond the season. Without adequate protection, what would be an otherwise perfect outdoor memory becomes downright miserable! Don’t let the sun’s harsh rays get in the way of any outdoor fun. Choose one of these outdoor shade solutions to create an inviting, pleasant outdoor space.
Consider the position of the late afternoon/evening sun:
Whether you’re dining al fresco with the family or entertaining a large crowd, the late-afternoon and evening hours are prime times to enjoy the outdoors. Heat from the sun can remain extremely intense well into the early evening. To make matters worse, the low angle of the setting sun can leave your patio roof or trellis completely useless. When choosing the location and layout of your outdoor space, be mindful of the sun’s angle and position throughout the day. If you’re short on space planning options, bring in shade-producing solutions instead. Roll down shades are a great option to ensure protection from the sun at any hour.
Mix up your materials:
Wood arbors are beautiful outdoor shade solutions but can limit design options and tend to weather quickly. You can dramatically increase your shaded area by mixing metal with wood. This industrial look allows you to take advantage of larger spans and cantilevers only possible with steel beams. For a light and airy feel opt for a durable, solid metal shade structure.
Purchase a custom umbrella:
We’ve all had bad experiences with the “big box” store umbrella. They blow over in a light breeze. The fabric tears easily and parts rust out quickly. After one season of use, most of those umbrellas end up in the trash. Consider investing in a custom-made umbrella with high-end metals and fabrics tailored to fit your space perfectly. These umbrellas can be designed to span 12-15′ in diameter and can be adjusted easily to accommodate the sun’s changing position. The cost for this type of product ranges from $3k-$10k, but given their durability and design flexibility, a custom umbrella may be the perfect outdoor shade solution.
Trees, trees, trees:
Stumped with how to shade your space without adding more metal, wood and plastic to your view? Consider planting a mature canopy tree in a strategic location. Trees are nature’s solution for shade and offer many benefits. They soften any outdoor space with natural elements, as opposed to man-made materials. Trees also provide a natural habitat for wildlife in your nature scape while increasing the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere. As if creating a beautiful source of shade and clean air weren’t enough, trees also cool the air by a process known as “’transpiration cooling”. Tree leaves release water into the atmosphere, cooling the surrounding air as the water transforms from liquid into a vapor. Pretty neat, right?!
Often times, many designers struggle working together, but for Randy Angell of Randy Angell Designs and Tal Thevenot, CEO and designer here at AquaTerra, it couldn’t be a better working relationship. The Dallas-based outdoor design executives have more than made a name for themselves working solo in the industry. Thriving on high expectations and innovative design, Randy and Tal challenge each other in a fun, healthy way. As you can see, together they continue to make waves and the final results are nothing short of breathtaking!
The Vision Behind the Design
Tal managed AquaTerra’s flawless buildout of Randy’s innovative design for this McKinney estate. Working side by side, the vision was to create a family paradise with minimal boundaries from the indoors out! The modern outdoor design includes a large pool with a lap lane, spa and water features, an outdoor living room with fireplace and tv, and an outdoor kitchen and bar with surrounding seating terraces. When designing the space, RAD was strategic in showcasing the home’s spanning greenbelt views. The stunning 6ft tall rain curtain further marries the two spaces by anchoring the surrounding structure and framing the landscape.
What’s Next for the Outdoor Design Team
Attention to design and quality is what earned this project the cover of Pool and Spa News, and is a promise delivered upon with every project we embark on. Congratulations on a well-deserved cover feature, Randy and Tal! We’re counting down the days to share the outdoor design duo’s latest project currently underway in the North Dallas suburb, Lakes on Legacy. Follow us on Instagram to catch a glimpse of this upcoming modern beauty’s progress and final reveal! Read the full PSN story, here.
Karen & Dan Doore had a great challenge for AquaTerra: they wanted to create a fun and functional backyard space for their children and grandchildren to use, despite some significant structural and configural limitations.
Structure and Permitting Challenges
The main hurdle we faced was the 20’ gabion embankment that abuts the Doore’s yard. The embankment was created to prevent erosion into adjacent Cottonwood Creek and presented a plethora of permitting issues with regard to installing a new pool and decking. After months of work and numerous meetings with the City of Richardson, we were finally able to achieve a great design that was acceptable to the permitting department and delightful to our clients. AquaTerra overcame the challenge by designing the pool to sit just outside the drainage easement and building the patio decking on a floating concrete base rather than drilled piers so as to not disturb the gabion structure below.
Pool & Outdoor Features
The configuration of the space also presented some interesting design challenges, which inspired our team creatively. Creating continuity and maximizing functionality in this unusually shaped space was achieved by creating two separate play spaces, one in the north yard and one in the south yards, with the pool and decking situated in between.
- We chose a simple, black metal fencing for the front of the house to help connect the front and back yard and create a sense of depth. In order to create a private space for the pool, spa and deck area, AquaTerra installed horizontal wood fencing in the south yard.
- The pool was designed to feature a play pool with a shallow deck for the grandkids and sunbathing. A spa was also installed with a raised infinity edge for a chic profile.
- A steel planter was custom-made to cover the otherwise exposed home foundation, which was filled with trailing rosemary to provide a dramatic contrast in color and texture.
- The north yard has a potting shed with a seating area to suit our clients lifestyle. The pottery and paint colors used for the area were selected by our clients.
- The pool’s location and raised spa was situated so as to also create a dramatic focal point from the family room.
From the beginning, our client Karen had a vision for her backyard space. She used the term “modern prairie” to convey an overall aesthetic and guiding principle for our design team.
- IPE decking was selected with this aesthetic in mind. The decking was left un-oiled intentionally, as it will naturally develop a soft, natural grey patina over time.
- The natural stone color and texture for the raised wall were selected to compliment the decking and to blend with the cedar fence beyond.
- To enhance the prairie feel, scuppers were designed to give an illusion that the water is flowing through the wall from the Cottonwood Creek beyond.
- Blue iridescent glass tile was selected to create a visual pop against the stone wall and tie in with the pool color.
Challenges such as these present a wonderful opportunity for creative solutions that both satisfy and fosters the artistic and logistical growth that we strive for at AquaTerra. We are proud of our work at the Doore home and are happy to have fulfilled our client’s expectations.
Why should you select a Design + Build + Management firm?
With nearly 20 years of experience in Design + Build + Management, AquaTerra passionately believes that a team who covers all three bases is the best and most effective choice for any project. Here are our top 6 reasons why selecting a one-stop shop is a great way to go.
- TEAMWORK: When all aspects of a project are managed by AquaTerra, everyone has the same goal. Our entire team is fully informed on what success looks like in terms of meeting and exceeding client expectations. The reality of a large scale project is that a hiccup or two is likely to occur. However, when everyone is on the same page, solution’s occur in real time and results happen faster.
- ACCOUNTABILITY: AquaTerra is accountable for EVERYTHING from soup to nuts. When the same team designs and builds the project, there is no question of who is accountable for design, details, schedule, quality and process. Furthermore, the customer has a single point of contact, which critical if delivering excellence is a priority. And it’s always our priority.
- DEDICATION: Your outcomes are our best endorsements! We take a great deal of pride in what we do and are devoted to enduring quality. We believe in Design + Build + Maintenance and we are dedicated to the longevity and beauty in each and every project. The management & maintenance aspect of our delivery system allows us to catch the smallest of mistakes and we are also able to ensure excellence by keeping any fine details from falling through the cracks.
- EXPERTISE: Having a team of first rate experts in their field is our greatest asset. They are the heart and soul of the company and champions of excellence. At AquaTerra, we can offer our clients best-in-class experts in design, build and management, which is a fairly unique offering and a central factor for timeless outdoor spaces.
- COLLABORATION: By working with a one-stop-shop, the design-build process is far more efficient and dramatically accelerates the process. For example, our clients avoid having the typical repetitive meetings that are required by the architect, general contractor and design consultants. Collaboration results in less time wasted and lower fees for our clients. Additionally and importantly, a design-build client retains more creative control of their project.
- SAVINGS: Based on our experience and analysis, we believe a unified design-build process can save you more than 10% in overall expenses. Reason being, a firm like AquaTerra pass along our efficiencies of scale and teamwork along to our customers. By sharing operating costs among the 3 branches of the firm, we can lower cost, mitigate general conditions, and lower design fees and construction costs.
Given the benefits of working with a Design + Build + Management firm, why would anyone approach an important project in a piecemeal approach?
AquaTerra is honored to be have another one of our projects featured in the AIA Dallas Tour of Homes this year!
Our team worked closely with Robert Bellamy to create a landscape design that complemented this M-Gray Architecture home design. The front yard of this Dallas home features a unique vertical steel pipe fence that sets the tone of the aesthetic. The home is accented beautifully with floor to ceiling windows throughout, but the focal point of the home is certainly the slightly elevated box-like feature that is accentuated with a contrasting color and hovers subtly over the landscape. As you approach, the windows allow you to see directly through to the backyard, framing a tree. The dry creek bed carries your eye to the far portion of the landscape, which is kept earthy in order to complement the natural materials in the architecture. You can’t help but feel one with nature in this serene setting.
Make sure you Save the Date for October 28-29th. For more information on the event and to purchase tickets, visit AIA Dallas. We hope to see you there!
Nothing completes and personalizes the look of an outdoor space quite like the perfect compliment of furniture. The right decor creates warmth, ambiance and transforms an outdoor space into an outdoor living area. AquaTerra is as invested in your enjoyment of your space, as we are in creating it! To that end, AquaTerra has built relationships with several top-of-the-line outdoor furniture companies, offering a broad range of styles to meet every taste and price point.
Since its founding in 1945, Brown Jordan has offered best-in-class furniture for refined, relaxed and luxurious outdoor living. The company is known for creating iconic looks and has produced hundreds of award winning collections over the last 70 years. The possibilities are endless with Brown Jordan, as they produce everything from lounge chairs, to bar stools and massive dining room tables. Fabrics and finishes can also be customized to fit your outdoor living needs.
Known for its exceptional quality and commitment to excellence, Gloster specializes in creating timeless teak hardwood furniture in an array of styles. Gloster truly has something for everyone, from modern looks featuring metal and sleek clean lines, to traditional and elegant designs utilizing hardwoods from around the world.
Loll Designs creates durable, all-weather, outdoor furniture and accessories made with recycled plastic – mostly from single use milk jugs. Using thoughtful, original designs and unique materials, Loll creates innovative, fun and high-quality products. This company prides itself on their craftsmanship, unique designs and commitment to the environment.
All of these companies offer great furniture lines, unique in their own way. And these are just a few of the many options out there! AquaTerra can help you to design and furnish the space of your dreams. Contact us for a free consultation today.
From Mediterranean to Santa Barbara
This Starwood home, located in Frisco, TX, was originally designed in the Mediterranean-Tuscan style, typical of the late 90’s and early 2k period. Over the past few years, the home’s interior had been fully renovated to reflect a more clean-transitional look. Aquaterra’s goal for this landscape, pool and outdoor living renovation project was to harmonize the exterior with the interior by creating that same timeless feel. Defining new gathering spots, enhancing flow and maximizing space, with a balance of form and function, was our top priority.
After meeting with the client to get a sense of their needs, as well as review our process, program and scope, we sent them a proposal for creative services. After presenting our vision of transforming their former look into a clean, fresh “Santa Barbara” style, the clients gave us permission to proceed with a new pool and outdoor kitchen design, as well as a new fire pit, additional landscaping and enhanced lighting. Additionally, Aquaterra updated the outdoor appliances, fans, security light fixtures and re-routed some ugly electrical lines.
In order to give the entire residence a beachy, California feel, we recommended painting the home white. To complete the look, Aquaterra was entrusted to have custom light fixtures made, as well as design and provide all the pottery and outdoor furniture required to put the finishing touches on this beautiful project!
As we near final stages of this project, you can see the dramatic change to the exterior of this home. The before, during, and after photos show just how much work goes into a project like this, and the transformation is incredible!
Special thanks to some of our suppliers we worked with:
Lynx appliances, Haiku Fans, Pentair pool equipment, Bobe water and fire features, Solara lanterns, Gloster furniture, Finest Finishes plaster
As we all know, many Texas landscapes have a spot where the sun beats down nearly all day. If we couple that with the reflected heat that often accompanies that sunlight, it is easy to understand why traditional container plants like flowering annuals struggle to survive. Let’s discuss some tips and tricks on how to create successful succulent container gardens.
Find the Right Location
Finding the right spot may sound easy: full sun. However, southern sun exposure is best for sun loving succulents. Your plants may get some relief if there is a spot that gets a couple of hours of shade a day. Try to avoid western exposed gardens. If you have a western exposed spot, then the toughest of succulents are a must.
Find a Good Container
This is where you can get creative! Most any type of container, pot or material can be used just make sure it has holes for drainage. Size is key with succulents. Make sure there is 2-5 inches of soil between the plant and edge of container.
Good Soil is Key
While succulents are fairly low-maintenance, they all must have extremely well-drained soil or they will rot. A good basic succulent soil can be made by mixing equal parts sand, potting soil and perlite.
Choose Your Plants
Check each succulent’s exposure requirement, making sure it is suitable for full sun. Plants like agave, cactuses and euphorbias, succulents like ‘Blue Elf’ aloe, common sotol, elephant bush, Mexican fence post and slipper plant flourish in containers in hot, full sun.
Planting and Care
Succulents of the same species can be planted singly or in groups of three, creating a simple yet dramatic statement. Alternatively, you can group several types of succulents, creating pleasing color and texture contrasts. When grown in containers, succulents need a monthly application during the growing season, in spring and summer, of a low-nitrogen fertilizer. An easy way to determine when it’s time to water is by sticking your finger all the way into the soil. The soil should be barely moist, almost dry, before you water it again. Water until it runs out the bottom through the drainage hole.
You can read more about this topic in this article featured on Houzz. One of our images of a succulent container garden that we designed and built was featured in this article as well as many other great inspirational images. In addition to the great images, the article goes into more detail about the planning and design process of succulent container gardens.
When you are ready to begin planning your landscape project contact us for all your design, construction and maintenance needs.
The spring is upon us and summer will be here before we know it. If you are thinking about turning your backyard barbecue into your dream cooking and entertaining center then this article is for you.
This article is featured on Houzz, a platform for home remodeling and design, bringing homeowners and home professionals together in a uniquely visual community. One of our images of an outdoor kitchen we designed and built was featured in this article as well as many other great inspirational images. In addition to the great images, the article goes into more details about the planning and design process we use on all out our projects.
When you are ready to begin planning your outdoor kitchen project contact us for all your design, construction and maintenance needs.
Everything comes in and out of trend; landscape design is no exception to this! Sustainability and low maintenance design have been the trendiest pursuits for most businesses as of 2015. Sustainability is currently a hot topic in our industry and in everyday life, with ideas ranging from ways to catch solar energy, harvesting rain water, or growing your own food. Many people hear sustainability and low maintenance and automatically assume the project potentially lacks character, however that is not the case. There are many ways to become more sustainable, here are three steps you can take on your path to becoming more sustainable.
Using permeable surfaces such as grasscrete or pavers that allows water to penetrate through to the ground, unlike concrete, this helps reduce sprinkler water consumption. This also limits the amount of storm water runoff, which then reduces the amount of pollution that goes into the lakes and streams. Using pavers with a grass or rock edging softens the look of your outdoor space while giving it some character as well.
Sustainability can also be achieved with the smart use of water. During a typical Texas summer There may be extended periods of time with little or no rainfall. During these dry periods it’s critical to have a sprinkler system that is operating as efficiently as possible to ensure plant health and to conserve water. New technology such as ET Based controllers and MP Rotator sprinkler heads can be helpful in achieving smart water use.
ET Based Controllers use an internet connection to communicate with online weather data and other site specific information such as soil type and plant type to generate a custom watering schedule.
MP Rotating sprinkler heads reduces the amount of water loss due to evaporation by eliminating mist. The head creates larger droplets of water than traditional spray heads and thus reduces water consumption. Upgrading your old sprinkler system with this new technology will help you preserve water and keep your landscape looking beautiful year round.
Native and Drought Tolerant Plants
Many plants cannot handle the intense Texas sun during the hot summer months. Using plants native to the area puts less stress on them, and on your wallet because you won’t have to replace them every year. With planting native plants comes less maintenance. These plants do not necessarily need to be trimmed into a specific shape unless you prefer them to be. However in some cases an all native plant palette may not be suitable for your homes architectural style, but you can always integrate a few into the design here and there!
Houzz recently posted a great article on the 5 reasons to consider a landscape design build firm for your project. We thought this article was full of great information and wanted to share it with our readers. Check it out:
One of the best ways to create an inviting outdoor living environment is having a patio cover constructed. These structures are typically attached to the home and have two posts supporting the outer portion of the structure. The amount of shade and protection from the weather desired will help determine what type of roof fits best for you. The roof can be open air with a trellis or solid with a metal or shingle roof. There is a third roofing option: polycarbonate panels. The panels will provide light to enter from above and provide protection from moderate amounts of precipitation.
Where should you build your patio cover?
While the answer to this question seems obvious (over your patio… duh!), there are shade and functional considerations that need to be taken into account. Most patios are typically off the back door but that location may not provide an adequate shaded area. Covered patios are ideal for outdoor living areas, dining areas, built in fireplaces or outdoor kitchens. It is best to consult with a design professional to determine where the maximum amount of shade and functionality can be achieved in your backyard with your new patio cover.
One other major factor in location of any new structure is city building codes and Home Owners Associations (HOA) restrictions. All cities have certain guidelines pertaining to where an attached or detached structure can be built. In addition to the City requirements, HOAs will have a set of guidelines pertaining to design, finish material and height restrictions among other things. Once again, it is best to consult a design professional that is familiar with your city’s requirements and HOA guidelines.
How big should your patio cover be?
The old adage “Form follows function” fits perfectly when we try to answer this question. The size of your new structure will vary depending on the space it is intending to cover. Careful consideration must be made for furniture size to ensure there is adequate circulation around any columns or posts. Furthermore, you will need to make sure you get the desired amount of shade from you new patio cover.
In addition to length and width, height of the new patio cover will also need to be considered. A typical arbor or covered patio can vary from eight to eleven feet tall. One of the pros of a shorter patio cover is you will be able to maximize the amount of shade. One drawback of these type of structures is it may start to feel cramped. The higher covered patio will feel more open but you will lose some of the shade coverage.
Open or solid roof: How do you choose?
Different levels of air circulation and protection from the weather are provided with open or solid patio covers. An open arbor with lattice roof will allow a lot of ambient light through while creating partial shade, but you can count on little to no protection from the occasional spring shower. Air circulation is maximized with an open lattice roof, so the need for ceiling fans is not necessary.
Solid patio covers will maximize the amount of shade and provide the best protection from a light rain shower. One of the drawbacks of a fully covered structure is that it is not always the coolest. The solid roof will actually trap heat and make it hotter, even though it is in full shade. This makes ceiling fans a necessity for fully covered patios.
As we mentioned earlier, there is the polycarbonate panels option. These semi-translucent panels allow light through while providing adequate protection from a light rain shower. These panels, similar to a solid roof, will trap some heat so ceiling fans may be needed to help keep cool under the structure
Do you need to discuss more with a design professional? Are you ready to start your new project today? Contact us today to discuss how AquaTerra Outdoors can help.