What was formerly “just a lawn” is now pure bliss and the perfect “staycation” spot for the family.
Story by Ann Butenas | Photography by Matt Kocourek
Located in southern Johnson County, this backyard beauty instantly takes your breath away with its daring elegance and sophistication, coupled with its genuine ease of presence, offering an unexpected marriage of style and casual allure.
“We’ve always wanted an outdoor area, somewhere we could live in as much as we do inside, making it another part of the house,” expressed the homeowner. “We just had to decide on what to do.”
The homeowners had been thinking about updating their backyard for years and worked with a contractor previously who drew up an idea, but when they had the opportunity to meet with Hoyt Banks, co-owner of Banks Blue Valley Pool & Spa, they felt his team had the capability to draft their own unique plans. In creative collaboration with Banks, the homeowners worked in tandem with the design team to create a veritable backyard paradise.
“The vision they had in mind was a clean, modern-looking pool, but still something that would appeal to a classic environment,” explained Banks. “They liked the clean edges of the geometric pool, which, in and of itself is a simple shape and design but is comprised of high-end materials and detail, lending itself to the elegance they desired.”
Banks indicated the best part of his job is creating functional work that is also artistic, and that passion is on grand display in this space. Every detail is just as much a nod to his talent as it is to the homeowners’ exquisite tastes. And the details are truly what make this space garner attention, working their way to visual prominence from the ground up.
The homeowners desired variety in terms of the hard surface elements in their backyard, which is why they chose brick pavers to offset the other hard surfaces, thereby eliminating the appearance of one big sea of hard surface. These pavers, known as American brick pavers, are located under the deck and envelope the cooking area. Originally from New England, the homeowners love how these pavers provide a subtle nod to their roots in that regard. Plus, a bit of celebrity “endorsement” never hurts when making a design decision such as this. Banks recalled that when the homeowners selected this style of brick, they discovered they were the same bricks legendary baseball player George Brett used with his home.
“The owners said, ‘Well, if they are good enough for George, they are good enough for us!’” smiled Banks. “The choice there was easy!”
Banks designed the custom fireplace, which was built by his craftsman, Carlos, who brings 22 years of experience to the table.
“This is made of a Black Hills rustic stone that we custom-wedged to give it this look,” noted Banks. “The owners have a backsplash in their basement that they love, so we tried to mimic that design here to provide a unique appeal. Fire bowls on either side complement the setting. It truly is a work of art.”
In the kitchen/dining area are the much-needed basics for outdoor cooking and entertaining: a refrigerator, sink, grill, trash bin, and ample storage space. The contiguous dining table sets a strong tone with its smooth stone composite top. Accent LED lighting under the bar countertop and built-in speakers and a nearby subwoofer add to the ambiance.
The primary focal point of the backyard is, of course, the swimming pool. Decidedly simple in form, it still manages to set the overall tone of sophistication without making you feel underdressed for the occasion. In fact, it readily invites a mental vacation as you dip your toes into the water from the sun deck, which runs the width of the pool and easily accommodates five lounge chairs.
“This makes a neat gathering space,” indicated the homeowner. “It also has two umbrella holds.”
The homeowners requested the rectangular pool shape with the elongated stairs for a reason.
“We wanted stairs similar to those found in a Las Vegas hotel pool, the kind that jet out and extend into the pool,” said the homeowner. “However, we wanted those stairs to remain outside of the main shape of the pool so as not to crowd the pool with people who are just lounging and relaxing.”
The stunning blue shade color of the pool coating came from a mix of colors offered by Banks.
“A couple of our popular colors for pools are Peruvian Blue and Pacific Tide. The Peruvian one has some gray tones to it and the Pacific one is more of a deep blue,” he explained. “This particular pool has more vibrancy in the deepness of the blue, as we changed the mix slightly and came up with this color, calling it Midnight Raphael, naming it after one of our employees.”
The blue lights in the pool gently complement the pool coating and add the perfect touch of drama at the end of the day as the sunset greets the evening sky. The decorative stones around the pool are a type of travertine with color and a set pattern to them.
“This is the Versailles blend,” noted Banks. “It’s a natural stone with a French pattern.” Unique to these artistic pavers is the drainage system, which is a hydro blasted travertine strip drain concealed via the pavers in one long strip.
“This helps with excess water and allows the pool deck to drain,” expressed Banks.
The fence around the backyard was positioned at a lower level than one’s typical line of sight, keeping it more functional than imposing.
“We didn’t want to feel fenced in,” explained the homeowner. “So, we ran it around the perimeter of the yard at a lower level. This way, you feel like you are in the trees or in the woods when you are in the pool.”
The Banks team truly delivered the homeowners’ dream backyard, creating not just an Kansas City landscaping outdoor experience, but also something that is somewhat different than what the homeowners originally requested.
“This backyard has definitely been a lifesaver during the COVID pandemic,” smiled the homeowner. “It’s a great place to spend time with the family.”
- Pool Contractor: Banks Blue Valley Pool & Spa
- Landscaper: New Leaf Lawn & Landscape