You know what landscaping is, but what about hardscaping — all the brickwork, stone fireplace walls, and patio areas? These can be as elaborate as a complete sculpted area with falls and cascades, or as simple as a circular fire pit with comfy seating, as you can see in these examples from Lewis Aquatech. For a lavish, spacious yard area, you can have a covered patio or pool house; a long stone wall with a fireplace provides both privacy and a cozy spot to gather. Have a complete outdoor kitchen, with scenic cascades surrounding you — or border your pool with an extension off the main house, containing a pillared portico, fireplace, and casual seating. Stone fireplaces, wood pergolas — some with sleek curves! — lush floral color, and fragrance all contribute to an especially inviting place.
For a sloping back yard, a high retaining wall and overflow basin by the pool can be edged with stone steps to carry you from one level of the landscape to the other. This is especially fun if you’re entertaining a crowd: some of the guests can be in the pool, while others have a ball game on the lawn or sit in the loungers and catch come sun, and everyone can interact with everyone else. Sometimes, it’s best to separate the spa from the main pool — kids can splash to their heart’s content while Mom and Dad relax in the whirlpool. Whichever combination you choose, a well-thought-out pool and hardscape plan will give you years of relaxing fun; these ideas from Lewis can get you started.