When a Colorado couple’s mothers both became ill, it was a wake-up call that the husband and wife wanted to move their growing family back to the Midwest. “I’m from Minnesota, which is way too dark in the winters, and my husband’s from Cincinnati,” the wife explains. “Luckily, my husband found a job in Dayton. “We came in town from Denver and had about four hours to look at houses, so we had to buy quickly,” she adds. “Luckily, we picked a great neighborhood.”
Some things have changed for the family since they moved to Centerville in 2010, like their need for more space after the addition of two younger brothers for their oldest son. But some things have stayed the same, like their love of their location.
“Our family grew and we started to feel cramped,” the wife explains. “And my husband was envisioning a pool in our future, but we loved our neighborhood. I heard through the grapevine that this house in the neighborhood was coming on the market and it was perfect for us because of the large, flat back yard. My husband didn’t even need to look inside.”
The homeowners still have some areas they want to remodel in the interior of their home, but they are very outdoorsy people, so the outdoor living space was at the top of their list. The wife loves Housetrends and found The Site Group in its pages.
“Dave just understood our priorities,” the wife says of Dave Swearingen, landscape architect with The Site Group. “He heard everything we wanted and incorporated it into his design. He even looked around inside our house and asked us to point out items that reflected our tastes and personalities,” she adds.
Swearingen, who started The Site Group in 1995, loves working one-on-one with his clients and getting to know their families and lifestyles. “The interiors of our homes say a lot about our personal style. I like getting to look at whether or not my clients are modern or more traditional. If I see clean lines, I try to incorporate that into the exterior design. If I see overstuffed chairs, I try to make the design more about comfort.”
For this family of growing boys, the back yard was all about practicality. The space needed to function for three young boys, grandparents who visit often and parents who love to cook.
The pool is set off to the side of the back yard, leaving an open grassy area for ballgames and tag. The pool, installed by Buckeye Pools, is low maintenance. Because the children are still young, safety was a top priority. “Sightlines are very important when deciding the layout of the outdoor space,” Swearingen explains. “We wanted to make sure the parents could see the pool from the outdoor kitchen.” The pool also includes an automatic cover and the entire yard is fenced.
The homeowners knew they wanted a fun feature in their pool, but due to their sons’ ages, they vetoed a diving board. “We decided to install a slide and Buckeye advised us to choose carefully. They guided us to a slide that could accommodate adults,” the wife explains. “Watching the grandparents go down the slide makes the kids giggle.”
Grilling in the garden
“My husband would happily stand in the rain or snow to grill, but I hated watching him out in the elements, so a covered kitchen area was at the top of my wish list,” the wife says. “Plus, I wanted to eliminate the wet footprints in and out of the house.”
Unfortunately, due to building codes, the roof couldn’t extend over the grill. “Dave designed the outdoor kitchen so the grill is not covered, but my husband is where he stands behind the grill.”
“The husband likes to cook outside so much that we temporarily moved his grill during construction so he could continue to use it,” Swearingen says. “It’s his form of relaxation and we didn’t want to take that away for eight weeks.”
A few steps from the outdoor kitchen is the family’s garden. “It was my idea, but my husband has taken over the responsibility and is teaching our oldest how to garden,” the wife explains. “I like being able to grab fresh herbs and vegetables.”
Swearingen says the homeowners were willing to try something unique with their garden, so he used Corten steel to build the raised beds in the space. “The steel rusts to a certain point and then stops rusting. This gives a great finish while protecting the plants,” Swearingen explains.
“It looks really striking against the lush green,” the wife describes. “The half-moon area is filled with strawberries, and the kids will jump out of the pool, grab a handful and jump back in.”
“We spend all of our time outside in the summer,” the wife explains. “We put a TV in the outdoor kitchen so we can watch baseball. There are great spots to sit and read a book. The kids love curling up on the couch to take a nap between swims.
“I think the pool is my favorite part of the space because it brings all my kids together where they don’t fight. It’s a place where my three-year-old can keep up with his big brothers.”
RESOURCES Landscape architect Dave Swearingen, The Site Group; Pool Chris Durbin, Buckeye Pools; Landscaping and hardscapes The Site Group; Hardscape supplier JB Pavers
Article by Sarah J. Dills/Photos by Daniel Feldkamp
Article appeared in Housetrends Dayton – May/June 2019