Outdoor Oasis

Beverly Hills meets Apex in this resort-style backyard sanctuary

There’s something soothing and magical about water and fire — basic elements that become naturally poetic when utilized as the cornerstones of a well-designed dream backyard.

That was the vision for an outdoor pool and landscape project by designer Eddie Rider when he worked with an Apex couple looking to “escape” in their own backyard. Six months of planning turned into a one-year project that was well worth the wait.

“Instead of traveling, they wanted to retreat to the backyard for the weekend,” Rider said.

The project started by incorporating all the key elements of nature — water, fire, light, sun — which add energy and pockets of refuge throughout the landscape whether guests are swimming in the pool, warming next to the fire pit or basking in the sun on the beach cabana area. From there, the project grew into something to rival any luxury resort experience.

Rider said about 80 percent of his projects start with the client’s ideas, but every project is a collaboration.

“I encourage people to have a good base plan,” Rider said.

Before executing any project, he creates a project plan that succinctly and completely encapsulates all the steps needed to fully complete the venture. Communication, mitigation of risks and timely execution of the plan are key ingredients to success.

“We make sure that we have a full understanding of the critical path for the project, those tasks that have to happen one after the other in order to facilitate completion,” said Rider.

After a plan is in place, budget dictates the rest. With this particular project, the sky was the limit, so many extras were incorporated, such as a complete outdoor kitchen, a pool house with a gym, hot tub, multi-color LED pool lighting, water jets, 13 water misting fans, iPod docking stations and several high-definition TVs.

Not to mention a backyard that was once a half acre of dirt next to a cow pasture is now transformed to entertain up to 150 people with a multilevel, Beverly Hills-worthy tropical oasis, landscaped with banana palms, knockout roses, stone walls and urns overflowing with bright foliage.

Needless to say, Rider’s clients are pleased with the results and have been enjoying their many trips to the backyard.


For more information on project ideas or a consultation, visit www.eddieriderdesigns.com.

Money-Saving Tips for a Dream Backyard

A strong pool project usually runs around $100K, but Rider said homeowners can take certain aspects of the project and make it work for their budget.

  • Dream and then set a budget. There are economical ways to incorporate elements that matter more than others. For example, if you want to entertain around fire and roast marshmallows, Rider suggests a big fire pit and a small water feature. If you want to swim, but a big pool is out of your budget, consider a lap pool. “Fire is integrated easily and is not as huge of an expense as a pool,” he said.
  • Consider who you are entertaining. Are you looking to host the kids after a ball game? Consider a sand volleyball court and a pool with a slide.
  • Go with nature. If the topography of your backyard is a slope, incorporate it into the design. Bringing in (or removing) large loads of soil is expensive.
  • Improvise elements. Switch out natural stone for synthetic stone at a fraction of the cost. Rider cautions homeowners, however, to be aware of chemicals used in synthetic stones that may be harmful.

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