Dwell: Luxurious Landscape
Olsen used pots — and other elements, such as this iron “tower” the homeowner already owned — filled with palms, citrus plants and herbs, such as rosemary, to bring an aromatic as well as aesthetic element to the home’s entrances.
Photography by Janet Warlick
When Cathy and Kenne Ketcheside decided to transform their backyard into an oasis, they called on landscape designer extraordinaire Chris Olsen. “I had seen Chris on television, in magazines and at flower and garden shows. I liked his work, and decided to stop in [Botanica Gardens] ask if he’d come out,” Cathy said.
Olsen has more than 25 years of experience creating beautiful interiors and exteriors and helped the Ketchesides with overall planning for the space. First, the Ketchesides turned to their homebuilder Elms-Clowers Construction to construct their outdoor kitchen/living space. Olsen and Jimmy Owens, hardscape designer with Earth Designs, collaborated and designed the pool. The result off all this creativity and expertise is a setting worthy of a resort getaway.
The waterfall, which looks as if it’s been there all along, was installed along the rear of the garden. It adds visual interest, an additional sound and feeds into the pool, helping to keep it clean and providing an organic feel. Olsen added blue hydrangeas poolside. “We used blue to mimic the color of the water, and vegetation that moves easily with even a slight breeze … this makes you ‘feel’ cooler.”
“This property, when I first visited, was a small lawn with a patio,” Olsen said. “The backyard backs to a busy street, so we needed to create visual and sound barriers.” To achieve this, Olsen used giant arborvitaes along the back wall. “This camouflages the fence and buffers the sound.” Next came grey owl junipers. “The silver color adds contrast. We then added big drifts of dwarf fountain grass, yellow lantana and bright wave petunias for color.” ‘Bubble gum’ supertunias — a hybrid variety — were used in pots to add softness to the hardscapes.
Kenne Ketcheside wanted a Jacuzzi. So, Cathy worked with contractors to design it so it’s an “addition” to the pool; when not in use, it pours into the pool. The outdoor living room is perfect for watching movies, taking in a game or enjoying dinner and drinks with friends as it includes a flat-screen TV; fireplace; small outdoor kitchen/bar with granite counters and storage; bistro table; and seating area for up to eight. “I’m so glad I called Chris,” Cathy said. “He was a delight to work with and I am very pleased with the finished project.”
Olsen added copper tubes to the pool; they serve a dual purpose. “The water flowing into the pool is another sound to, again, mask the sound from the street. There’s also ledge seating beneath the wall. Swimmers can sit and let the water flow down on them.” The stainless steel floating balls are a favorite of Olsen’s. “They don’t affect the chlorine and they won’t tarnish.”