When looking to create the perfect outdoor escape, a Louisiana couple entrusted a local designer to help turn their dreams into reality
Although Baton Rouge is most widely known for being the capital of Louisiana, it’s also one of the warmest, most culturally-invested cities of the South. Aside from its rich culture and subtropical climate, the city embraces one of the wettest environments in the U.S., with constant rainy weather and hurricanes frequenting the area on a yearly basis.
To aid in creating an outdoor getaway for their home that could endure the heavy winds and unforgiving weather the city receives, but which could also be enjoyed during the summertime, two homeowners enlisted the assistance of Richard Hymel, an experienced local designer in the area. Hymel, Principal Landscape Architect of Ferris Land Design, LLC, in Baton Rouge, LA, took the couple’s ideas and transformed their ordinary backyard into a Mediterranean-style oasis.
“The project was very client-specific,” explained Hymel, who gave the homeowners a new in-ground pool with unique features, which sits between their existing pool house and outdoor fireplace. “The outdoor kitchen already existed so we had a defined space to work within. The homeowners wanted a decent-sized pool for their kids with a beach entry, along with a spa and outdoor fireplace. They also wanted some sort of feature where you walked over or through the water.”
The newly designed backyard consists of a beach-like entry, spa with a cascading waterfall, Mediterranean-style pool, fire and water features throughout, along with a “bridge” of stepping stones. Close to 2,000 square feet of 16- x 24-inch custom-cut travertine stone tiles with a tumbled finish, which were supplied by M S International, Inc. (MSI) of Orange, CA, created the custom-designed elements, including the pool decking and special-cut stone drains. Special 3-cm pieces were also used for the pool copings, which were also supplied by MSI.
“Travertine was selected because it blended so well with the architecture of the house,” said Hymel. “It makes an excellent choice for pool decking. It’s also cool to the feet and durable.”
Since the clients already had an existing pool house and outdoor fireplace, the new design elements needed to be incorporated very precisely. A talented team of individuals from Russell Pool Co. in Baton Rouge, LA, who have more than 50 years of experience with these types of projects, was enlisted to complete the installation.
Keith Russell, co-owner of Russell Pool Co., led the installation, which was completed by a crew of four men using a mud bed with a buff-colored, Type 2 mortar grout. The installer noted a few specialty fabrication items, including creating and installing custom drain covers, which involved using an advanced waterjet to cut the 16- x 24-inch travertine pieces down to 8 x 24 inches and adding drain slots. Russell and his team were also able to mill down the 16- x 24-inch pieces and bullnose all exposed edges for the spa caps and planter caps.
Although Hymel didn’t encounter any design challenges along the way, the harsh southern weather presented a roadblock for Russell and his team. “The time period of working was also an exceptionally wet period,” said Russell.
The project took approximately five months to complete, with 10 days set aside for the installation. The homeowners couldn’t be happier with the finished product. “Everyone is thrilled,” said Hymel.
Baton Rouge, LA
Architect: Ferris Land Design, LLC, Baton Rouge, LA
Stone Supplier: M S International, Inc., Orange, CA
Stone Fabricator/Installer: Russell Pool Co., Baton Rouge, LA