Transforming A Blank Slate Into Paradise

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What started as an ordinary backyard has become a neighborhood masterpiece.

Story by Ann Butenas    |    Photography by Matt Kocourek

What do you do when you desire an outdoor entertainment area that stands in harmony with the unique architecture of your home while also making it a fun place for kids, family and friends to hang out and enjoy time together? You call in the experts at Land Art, explain your vision to them, and then let them roll with it. The end result will be nothing short of phenomenal.

Matt Alberts, owner of Land Art, Inc., Kansas City’s premier landscape design build firm, proved his design prowess through this uniquely aesthetic and practical use of space.

“We made the pool as big as we could (40’ x 20’) without encroaching on any easements,” noted Alberts.

Located in southern Overland Park, this stunning backyard wonderland was initially just a blank slate upon which Alberts and his team created a true work of art. While the backyard was not grandiose in size, there was ample opportunity for Alberts to fully maximize the space.

“The family had just moved in to this large, beautiful home, and all that was in its backyard was a jungle gym and some rubber mulch,” recalled Alberts, whose team scraped it all down to virtually nothing and worked up from there with its new and exciting look. “This design parallels with the architectural language of the house, which has an Old English modern look, much like an estate home.”

With the saltwater, heated pool at the epicenter, this backyard has definitely pulled out all the stops. Nine feet at its deepest level with five accent water bowls that glow at night, the pool also has a reef area with lounge chairs and stools in the water that are situated right up by the ledge that overlooks the sunken fire pit area. There is also a cabana and gazebo for additional relaxation spaces. Further, features in the backyard can be controlled via a Smart phone. Among the materials used to create the artistic presence of this backyard include flagstone, Baltic buff coping and mossy veneer stone. Alberts is particular not only about the aesthetics of a space, but also about its overall functionality.

“We try to make logistics accessible in a reasonable way, integrating them to the area,” he explained. “The spa area, for example, seats up to 20 people, and at its furthest end, offers a step out and seamlessly into the pool.”

The outdoor kitchen area provides additional space to stay in alignment with the homeowners’ desires.

“Matt helped us incorporate an outdoor kitchen within some existing stone pillars already in place beneath the deck,” noted the homeowner.  “We also wanted a large pool and hot tub as well as a fire pit so that the area could be used most of the year. We wanted to ‘bring the outdoors in’ through the room in our basement that exits to the pool. Matt helped us make all of this happen.”

The kitchen area contains a beer tap, a grill, refrigerator, trash can and ice maker, as well as a beer tap. A high-definition outdoor television adds to its appeal. Of course, the green space contiguous to the kitchen really rounds out the space. With its artificial turf flooring, kids and adults alike can walk across it with wet feet and not worry about a soggy walkway.

“This area can double as an entertainment space of a play area for a lawn game,” explained Alberts. “It has an elaborate draining system, so even when it gets wet, you can get out on it right away. It’s also a great place to just lie down on a beach towel.”

Alberts thoroughly enjoyed this project and credits the homeowners for making it such a great experience.

“The clients were so awesome and easy to work with,” he smiled. “They had a real appreciation for what we do.”

Now that summer is gearing up, the homeowners will undoubtedly spend appreciable time in their backyard oasis.

“We use this space all of the time – for family dinners and the kids hanging out with their friends,” expressed the homeowner.  “It works well for entertaining small and large groups.”


  • Project Concept and Design, Landscape, Lighting, Boulders and Slab Stone: Land Art Inc.
  • Pool, Spa and Illuminated Water Bowls: Midwest Pools
  • Masonry, Outdoor Grill Station and Sunken Fire Pit: Nature’s Touch
  • Carpentry, Cabana & Outdoor Grill Station: Rau Construction
  • Outdoor Furnishings and Accents: Lifestyles By Design
  • Interior Designer: Amy Krause Design

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