Cozy Comforts

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Bigger isn’t always better.

Small backyard spaces offer bountiful opportunities for fun and relaxation.

Story by Ann Butenas     |     Photos by Matt Kocourek

No matter its size, a backyard can offer plenty of opportunities for fun, relaxation and overall aesthetic beauty. This particular slice of paradise in southern Leawood is the perfect example of how a small footprint can make quite the impression.

“The idea for this backyard was to make it look as natural as possible,” explained Matt Alberts, owner of Land Art, Inc., whose experienced team artistically integrated a variety of small, artistic pieces to harmoniously tie together the entire look.

Located in a maintenance provided community, the homeowners desired the same amenities they had in their former home before they downsized to this residence. Essentially, they asked Alberts and his team to create an artistic statement in their backyard. Once Alberts rolled up his sleeves and dove in, the results were nothing short of a masterpiece.

Among the eye-catching highlights include the salt water pool with accompanying reef areas. No more than five feet deep at its deepest level, the purpose of this pool is more to offer relaxation as opposed to a vigorous workout.

“Most people use pools of this size and variety to float, dip in, or cool off, but not necessarily for swimming,” explained Alberts.

A soothing water feature stands nearby, with a pot as its fountain and a pond to display koi and goldfish. The sound of running water adds to the peacefulness of the space. Accent lighting provides a comforting romantic glow during the evening hours, and when viewed from above from the upstairs window of the home, it’s as if one is looking at a true work of art.

Large boulders highlight the pool, adding to the overall natural beauty and providing a soft, organic feel. The copious plant material aligning the perimeter of the backyard include Colorado green and blue spruce trees, a mixed variety of perennials and gold thread cypress.

Although working with a small area can be challenging at times, the strength of Alberts and his team are clearly evident when it comes understanding the importance of scale.

“Scale is so important with projects such as this one,” he said. “It’s important to have the proportions correct with the scale between the pool, landscape and hardscape all working together with the house. When you achieve this balance of scale, that is when you have success.”

Project by Land Art, Inc.

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