Winter in Ohio can be a forbidding season with few redeeming qualities – one not likely to be improved upon by the presence of an icy pond. But the pond behind Brian and Angie Warlaumont’s home in Kettering is no ordinary body of water.
At 44,000 gallons and adorned with luminous waterfalls and twinkling lights, it’s a bright beacon in any season, and one that is visible from every room in the family’s home.
A focus on water
The pond occupies pride of place in the Warlaumont’s back yard, and rightfully so. Its expansive size and its position within the yard create a pleasing symmetry; the pond is 25×80 feet, with a depth of six feet at its center. “I call it my swimming hole,” says Angie with a laugh.
That may be a bit of an understatement. Visitors can lounge on the tanning shelf with their toes in the water; perch on one of the boulders above the crystal-clear waterfalls; splash their way along the river rock bottom toward the pavilion; or relax upon the sugar-sand beach that Angie describes as “Destin-like.”
So how did this lush little oasis come to be? The Warlaumonts are self-described “lake people” who spend many a weekend at Lake Cumberland in Kentucky. They wanted a “lake” closer to home but didn’t want the maintenance that comes with having a pool, nor did they want to have to close down the pool for winter. Since the couple had collaborated with Fullmer’s Landscaping, an award-winning company with a 53-year history, on a previous project, they trusted Fullmer’s to fulfill their latest vision.
One of the aspects of design and construction that Fullmer’s had to contend with was the roll of the property, though the yard’s hilly nature ultimately worked as an advantage. “A lot of times, flat back yards require you to build everything up, like a temple,” says Bill Peters, the production manager at Fullmer’s Landscaping. “The last thing we want to do is have a big mound of dirt in the yard; we want everything to look natural.”
That integrated-into-the-environment look is a hallmark of Fullmer’s. It also explains why the company favors natural stone over concrete, and why the stone slabs that flank the Warlaumont’s pond are so large. Typical boulders are 3×3 feet, while these are 6×4 feet. “That gives it that grand look that comes out of the natural earth,” explains Peters. “We believe the earth was created in a certain way and we want to maintain that look.”
Part of that mindset includes minimal maintenance. The pond has filter systems in place to catch debris, as well as biosafe chemicals to keep the algae count down, but it’s nothing like the maintenance that would come with having a pool.
A cohesive design
The surrounding landscaping creates a rich canvas of color: bright hydrangeas, weeping evergreens, river birch, and showy viburnum. Angie has particular fondness for the stunning fire bushes. “They have red twigs in the winter and are beautiful,” she says. “The red really stands out.”
The walkways that wind throughout the back yard are concrete pavers mixed with natural flagstones. One walkway arcs over to the gas firepit, which is fueled by lava rocks for maximum warmth but also aesthetic elegance. Heading past the fire pit leads to the picnic pavilion, where one finds a casual dining and cooking area, with a rotisserie grill, two-door refrigerator, icemaker, television and wireless sound system.
The pavilion space is crowned with lofty ceilings of rustic bulletwood and a seam metal roof, which creates a soothing percussion sound when it rains. Regarding the mix of cedar, brick and rock that comprises the pavilion, Angie says, “The front of our house has that same mix of rock and brick and I just love it. It gives it an old world feel.”
Strategic lighting illuminates the entire yard, from the landscape lighting along the walkways to the lights filtering down from the trees.
There are also lights winking from the bottom of the pond and underneath the waterfalls. Though it’s hard to narrow down, Angie says her favorite feature in the entire back yard is the waterfalls. “Listening to the waterfalls is amazing,” she says. “We can crack a window and listen to them at night.”
Perfect for gathering
Regardless of time of day, the Warlaumont’s back yard is an ideal gathering spot, and the pond has served as the backdrop for many a soirée.
One of Angie and Brian’s daughters got married in the back yard last fall, and the couple has hosted birthday parties, a wedding shower and many other get-togethers in this idyllic setting. Ultimately, the lure of this spectacular outdoor living space is unmatched, no matter the season.
Resources: Landscape design: Fullmer’s Landscaping; Granite countertops: Dark Star Marble & Granite; Appliances: Appliance Gallery; Outdoor lighting: Lighthouse Outdoor Lighting; Audio/video: Nightstar