OUTDOOR DESIGN - A Traditional Design To Create An Elegant Outdoor Space

Multiple terraces and low-growing groundcovers surround a three-level pool.


A double vanishing-edge pool, open decks, a screened porch and masses of colorful plantings are the main components of this contemporary yet classic garden in McLean, Virginia. When landscape architect Anthony Cusat of McHale Landscape Design Inc. first encountered his clients’ long, linear property, it already had a free-form pool with a wrought-iron fence around it that divided the backyard in half. Based on consultations with the owners, his goal was to connect the al fresco spaces and, as he describes it, create an environment “rich in architectural detail, contemporary in spirit and grounded in traditional design.” The clients also wanted him to incorporate the symmetry and balanced proportions of their updated Georgian-style residence.

A contemporary sculpture resides in a sea of Knock Out roses adjoining the patio and pool.


Cusat designed a new state-of-the-art, three-level pool with two vanishing edges. Water spills from an urn into the upper level, cascades down into the main pool, then spills over another edge into a lower basin. At one end, a glass mosaic tanning shelf sits below water level, creating an area roomy enough for a chaise and a shade umbrella. From upper-level decks and a screened porch, stairs descend to spacious patios surrounding the pool and to walkways that wind through colorful plantings to a serene lawn area. The pool deck and walkways are constructed from Turkish travertine with Pennsylvania flagstone edges; stepping stones through beds of ground-hugging Mazus reptans unify terraces at different levels.  Sweetbay magnolias in spring give way to summer blooms of hydrangea, crape myrtle, catmint, cleome and roses.


A large, modern urn sets the mood for stylish, clean-lined landscaping.

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