Hard to believe this pool was once a problematical eyesore, but a talented designer can deal with almost any existing conditions.
Designer Debbie Gliksman of Urban Oasis in Los Angeles won a merit award this year from APLD for the project, which happens to be her own yard.
Gliksman tore out the concrete around the pool and replaced it with terracotta paving, a nice contrast with the blue of the water.
Planting beds are curved as well, to soften the angular lines of the pool.
The garden was designed very much with the environment in mind: Gliksman recycled the old concrete pavers around the pool to build the stone bench and raised planting beds. The terracotta flagstone was laid on gravel to keep surfaces permeable, and the lawn gave way to drought-tolerant plants, many of which were grown from cuttings collected from friends and clients.
It's a lovely transformation of an ugly back yard into a functional, eco-friendly, entertainment center with room for family and friends, as well as birds and beneficial insects. Can't get much better than that.