Backyard Paradise Escape

This recent project is located in North Barrington, IL. We were approached by the homeowner to fix and improve their backyard landscape, including retaining walls, pool and patio.

  • Their goals and needs included the following:
    Replace the existing brick pavers. Due to improper installation and poor maintenance, they existing pavers had weathered, lost all their color, and shifted and moved significantly.
  • Replace the existing block retaining wall. The wall had not built with proper geo-grid support or sufficient granular base and backfill.  Hydrostatic pressure had pushed the wall out which then in turn pushed the pool three inches off center, leading to significant leakage. Despite over 1200 square footage of paver space, the patio design lacked a significant entertaining area. We wanted to improve the design to meet the needs of their active, outdoor entertaining lifestyle.
  • Replace and install the pool fencing with something that allowed views of the beautiful backyard
    Add planting beds and perennial for year round texture and color.
  • Create a vegetable garden.
  • Design and install a natural stone fire pit.

Our Design Solution

Entertaining Spaces

The Barn design team created a patio space that minimized walkways around the pool and increased the size of the two main entertaining spaces.  This gave the clients large entertaining spaces with reduced square footage of material.

Pool Deck

The pool deck was poured in with fiberglass reinforcement to minimize movement and shifting.  Unilock Yorkstone was chosen for the pool deck, set in epoxy mortar.  The entertaining patios were installed using full range, natural cleft bluestone.  The radius coping was set in tumbled bluestone pavers.

Retaining Wall

The retaining wall was replaced with a blend of door county weather edge and dark gray outcropping stones.  The pieces averaging around 1-2 ton per piece were set on a 3″ limestone base for lifetime of support of the pool and upper patios.

Pool Fence

A new pool fence was installed 2 ½ feet lower than the pool deck in order to allow views of the natural setting of the backyard.  It was planted in full color perennials including Coneflowers, Russian Sage and Knockout Roses, varieties that bloom all “pool season” long.

Planting Beds
Colorful gardens including Little Lime Hydrangea, Boxwood, Pachysandra and Incrediball Hydrangeas beautify the foundation under the deck


To break the eight-foot transition from the pool deck to the lower yard, a firepit terrace was added, downwind from the pool. It was built out of matching house brick veneer and lined with firebrick.  The irregular bluestone patio loosens the transition into the wooded backyard.  Six feet of wide natural outcropping steps complete the transition between the upper pool and the backyard.

Vegetable Garden

A small garden space located inside the pool fence allows this Italian cook to grow her own vegetables and herbs without the local deer herd eating their fill first.  It is conveniently located close to the home for easy maintenance but screened off with an ornate garden fence and ornamental grasses.

The Barn team partnered with Anchor Pool and Spa to revitalize the pool with a new liner, high efficiency heaters and their improved skimming system to keep the pool clean and warm and a reduced cost.

Our clients have told us, “We never want to leave our house. It’s just so much fun and so beautiful, it is really hard to leave”. We couldn’t ask for a better testimonial.

If you are interested in a learning how we can help you design a family-friendly backyard paradise click below to contact us.

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