Backyard Bliss

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On a dreamy property overlooking Parkville’s sprawling The National Golf Club, a couple and their young daughter create the ultimate escape in their own backyard.

Story by Jeanne de Lathouder      /      Photography by Matt Kocourek

Over the last two years, when the entire world began re-evaluating the meaning of shelter in place and the value of spending time with loved ones, a Northland couple put their creative skills to work to create an environment that would embody just those sentiments. They had always wanted their backyard to be an extension of their home — a well-balanced mixture of natural elements and top-notch design features that would make their outdoor space feel like a tranquil resort yet still highly kid-friendly and not over the top.

“The three of us are homebodies,” says the homeowner, who worked alongside her husband and daughter to bring their visions to life. “We value our time spent together as well as entertaining family and guests,” she adds. 

After much thought — and a lot of time to dream — the couple decided it was time. They contacted a local pool company and also called on their trusted designer, Jen Surface, of Surface to Surface Interior Design and Construction, who they had worked with on the interior design of their home. 

“The couple had been talking about putting in a pool from the onset of purchasing the property,” says Jen, “and if the conversation was ever paused, their young daughter fired it back up again,” she laughs. “She is a little fish, and both her mom and dad knew that a pool would beautify the back of their home, but it would also create a place to exercise, entertain, have fun with the family, and simply relax by the water. Their generous backyard allowed them to fulfill their dream,” she adds.  

The overall look of the pool needed to coincide with the classic architecture of the home and its transitional-style interiors. As one who envisions every project before it begins, Jen instinctively knew the view from the windows would be breathtaking. The couple’s property boasts a panoramic view of the 18th hole of the The National Golf Club. Instead of a rectangular pool, the initial concept was to somewhat emulate the shape of the sand traps that would be seen in the backdrop. The homeowners — especially the husband — had a lot of creative input and great ideas, and everyone on the design team agreed that an infinity-edge pool was a must-have. Not only does it help to blur the lines between the water and the incredible new landscaping, but also it provides an outstanding view from the National’s swimming pool, golf course, and clubhouse. It seemed the perfect way to spotlight the couple’s beautiful property.

“The landscaping was a complete overhaul, and it’s now layered with beautiful trees, flowers, shrubs, and grasses,” says the wife. “Many large boulders were discovered during digging, and they outline the areas adding another natural element. In addition, pathways were added, and the goal was for the landscaping to bring a polished look to the project. That was definitely accomplished, and whether we are looking out the window, sitting alongside the pool, or driving by, we could not be happier with the results,” she adds.

The pool and hot tub are heated and open year-round, so great lighting was essential to create ambiance and drama. The husband requested color change capabilities with a just tap of his phone. So not only can the pool be lit,  exceptional tree care service and surrounding landscape light up as well. 

“On Halloween, you will see orange lights,” says Jen. “Green or red for Christmas, red for the Chiefs, and blue for the Royals. If you see pink, you can be sure that the couple’s daughter was in control of the button,” she laughs.

The selection of the outdoor pool furniture was equally important. It needed to be durable enough to withstand the brutality of Mother Nature, yet it had to be comfortable for basking in the sun and while watching movies after dark on the large outdoor projector screen. Gray and white cushions provide a fun and fresh contemporary feel. They mix well with the soft teal tile that matches the color of the pool water. The large shaded sitting area under the veranda above was not left out. Four-by-four tiles from Italy that flank the pool deck were also used in this space. Two oversized outdoor rugs soften the look and help define the separate eating and conversation areas.

Jen’s husband, Ed Surface, a premier contractor, and the other half of the Surface to Surface design duo, built a natural stained slat wall to add warmth and depth to the outdoor space. He mounted a television on it so the family could enjoy watching their favorite teams play while still being outside. For a splash of color on one of the bare walls, Jen painted an abstract picture of the couple’s daughter floating in the sparkling water.  

“The pool area and all of its amenities allow us to enjoy our time at home even more,” says the owner. “We swim, lounge, make s’mores around the fire pit, eat meals, and relax in the hot tub while always enjoying one of our playlists from the built-in stereo surround system. Sometimes we watch movies, and snowy nights are fun in the hot tub. The Fourth of July is especially enjoyable,” she adds. “The National hosts an incredible display, and we celebrate with family and friends in the pool watching the fireworks bursting above us.” 

“I was so honored to be asked to help this couple with the selection of everything,” Jen concludes. “They all have strong opinions and excellent taste, so we all worked really well together. Their daughter’s primary request was to have an area designated to make s’mores, roast marshmallows, and share stories. She got her wish,” adds Jen. “This will be the first summer the family and their friends will enjoy the new outdoor retreat. A lot of fun and great memories await.”


  • Designer: Surface to Surface 
  • Furniture: Restoration Hardware 
  • Lighting: Wilson Lighting
  • Rugs: Pottery Barn

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