You may need to think of a Newport Beach, CA, landscape a bit differently when it comes to the construction and development of a multi-level backyard. Multi-level planning serves a multitude of useful design purposes in an elegant backyard design. On a practicality level, it helps to solve challenges of sloped or eroding hillsides by strengthening and supporting them, and working with the horizontal nature of the land. Levels also provide a more sprawling and visually dynamic landscape layout, and allow for multiple entertaining spaces and outdoor rooms without impeding the views of surrounding scenery.
D.L. Hickman & Son Inc. has been working with landscape designers and architects for over 50 years, creating beautiful backyards that embrace the hillside properties and stunning vistas of the California landscape. Their skill and experience will make your multi-level backyard unique by blending elegant hardscaping and exceptional craftsmanship with outstanding design and construction.
Patios, Pools, and Hot Tubs
Think about walking out of a home onto an elegant stone patio with the sweeping views of the surrounding hills directly in front of you. A built-in outdoor kitchen and elegant seating area allow homeowners to take in the sunrise or evening breeze while dining. A staircase drops to the pool below, which also has an unobstructed view, particularly with an elegantly designed vanishing edge to highlight the vista.
When placing a hot tub in a landscape, a multi-level design helps it break away from being just another feature to the main pool. Consider raising it on a dais with built-in seating and a pergola or cabana to provide shelter from the elements, or tucking it into a rocky alcove in the hillside. Making it a stand-alone feature on another level allows the hot tub to feel more private, and adds variety in entertaining and relaxing spaces throughout the landscape.
Fire and Water
Similarly to the hot tub, choosing a separate level or alcove for a fire pit brings it a sense of intimacy. Built-in seating that ties into the other hardscapes while creating a quiet place for friends to gather in the cool evening hours makes for truly luxurious entertaining. To add a sense of elegant relaxation, pair the fire pit with a water element. A fountain can easily be built into nearby structures, or if working along a hillside, consider a natural rock fence with a trickling waterfall tucked into a splash of greenery.
Retaining Walls & Terraces
Primarily considered a resource for a sloped landscape or to prevent erosion, retaining walls can serve double duty as an interesting visual element and come with a wide range of flexible design options. Whatever the landscape style, retaining walls are easily adapted, from a more modern wall system or formal brick walls to a natural dry stacked stone masonry design.
Retaining walls are also useful in helping to form terraces, supporting raised plant and flowerbeds, another dynamic option for creating levels. Raising and lowering gardens throughout the space would carve out intimate areas for wandering, and softens harder elements such as paved patios and stairs. Raising up beds higher along walkways and filling them with shrubs and small topiaries creates the feeling of wandering in an English maze garden, and the combination of greenery and hardscapes brings an old-world elegance to garden paths.
Throughout a multi-level design, well thought-out and carefully constructed stairs are a crucial element, not just for functionality, but for a truly elegant design. They provide structure and form to the overall landscape, informing the energy of the space and guiding visitors through the “rooms” of the backyard paradise you’ve designed. Easy navigation is important, as is the overall flow, so consider curved stairways that work with the landscape, wrapping a sloped hill or creating an elegant decent between two otherwise steeply stacked levels. Incorporating garden elements along the stairs help them feel like part of the landscape, as well as using hardscape elements that work with other structures to unify the design.
Whether you are dealing with a sloped property issue or want to create multiple outdoor living spaces without impeding a beautiful view from the house, creating levels leads to limitless design options.