Backyard Oasis: CLC Landscape Design

In need of a backyard spot where they could entertain large groups of family and friends, a pair of homeowners with two young children faced a challenge. Their backyard was incredibly steep and up against a conservation easement, giving only a narrow space to fulfill their desired landscape design.

Rich Cording, Sr., LLA, ASLA, CNLP, a licensed landscape architect who founded CLC Landscape Design over 40 years ago, used his expertise when designing the backyard, as it required multiple spaces in order to facilitate the client’s needs.

The steepness of the yard caused frustration when the homeowner considered other companies, according to Rich. There was a 10 foot drop off in all areas of the backyard, with the pool house being built on stilts. “It was just a matter of [the homeowner] finding the right company, which was ours, as this was within our wheelhouse,” Rich said. “They had a very small deck and then they had a very steep backyard.”

Once CLC Landscape Design finalized the overall design, they settled on featuring multiple outdoor living spaces, including a swimming pool patio/pavilion platform, lawn terrace, and an upper deck. The swimming pool features three waterfalls and two dive rocks surrounding a “C”-shaped underwater bench.

The pool was designed and implemented by The Pool Boss, a swimming pool contractor based in Wayne. Christopher Argenziano, CEO of The Pool Boss, is certified through the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance and the Northeast Spa & Pool Association (NESPA), giving customers access to his services for the past 20 years.

“The Pool Boss is phenomenal,” Rich said. “He is our favorite subcontractor of all time, one of the few human beings that’s just like my son Rich. He’s on site every day, and he makes sure everything gets done right. He works well with my son and both of them have a shared vision to do impeccable work and they’re always putting the client first.”

Rich Cording, Jr., MLD, served as a US Navy officer on board the USS JOHN S. McCAIN (DDG-56) stationed in Tokyo, Japan. Soon after, he earned a Master of Landscape Design at Columbia University in New York City. Rich Jr. has taken on a strong leadership role within his father’s company and was the main driving force behind the completion of this project, helping The Pool Boss finalize the design principles of the pool area.

The pool features interchangeable LED lights, adding a “warm glow and ambiance” to the area, Rich said. “It does have a nice pop and elegance to it.” It was important for the homeowner to be able to utilize an area that was flat and level near the pool so they could sit around and watch their kids swim. “These plants are going to grow in and the colors are going to be spectacular.”

In need of steps to transition down from the deck to the pool area, Rich and his team defined the grilling area and the homeowner’s day to day eating area up top. “That was the function up [on the deck],” Rich said. “The shape of the deck was dictated by how they were going to use that upper space, then the steps coming down was dictated by how they were going to walk and flow into the pool area. Once we came up with the engineering and architectural way of doing the pool house where it is, it was easy to pull everything together and see how it was going to work.”

The pavilion platform area has the effect of “being a treehouse” with its open walls and 15’ rise above the forest floor. In addition, the pavilion features a grand masonry fireplace, while the upper deck features an outdoor kitchen.

“I was most proud of being able to take a very difficult site from people with a grand wishlist and being able to use the tools at my disposal to get a project like this designed and then built,” Rich said.