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Conscious Environments in California gives a backyard a second chance.

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This backyard retreat in Southern California almost never came to life. After one company failed to create a design that would incorporate all the requested features, the homeowners turned to Conscious Environments for a second opinion. Luckily for the client, the Yorba Linda, Calif.-based design/build firm was able to deliver.

“We usually charge for our design services, but we felt badly for the client and didn’t want them to have to pay for it twice,” says Josh Duncan, president of Conscious Environments. “So we designed it for free, came up with a concept we thought would work better, and we were awarded the draw because we came up with a good solution.

In order to create a concept that included a patio, pool, spa, fireplace, second patio area and lawn, without causing users to feel cramped in the 3,000 square feet of space, they needed to get creative with the placement of the elements, Duncan says. Instead of laying everything out perpendicular to the house, the designer proposed putting it all at a 45 degree angle to extend the lines of the yard.

“It makes the yard seem much bigger because you are looking left to right instead of dead on and hitting a wall,” Duncan explains.

Flip through the slideshow for more images and details on how Duncan and his team saved the project and delivered on the homeowner's requests.