Design objective: Add a natural feel with boulder waterfalls while preserving the formal look of the house.

Lay of the land: A modified teardrop-shaped pool leaves a sweeping curve on one side, as does the half-circle spa set in the back. The pool is raised out of the ground 6 inches, while the spa sits 18 inches above grade. This allows the coping on both vessels to double as seating.

Working textures: By mixing textures and styles, Nannini kept the waterscape from overpowering the small space. The boulder waterfalls blend with the small-leafed, low-lying plantings that eventually will cover and soften them. “The whole theory was having the walls kind of [fade] back into the landscaping and not be so present,” Nannini says.

While the falls dominate the area near the pool’s deep end, they are tempered by dry-stacked stone walls behind the spa. The same material is used on the raised pool walls. This texture reflects back on the home, but the designer and crews had to be careful in juxtaposing those materials.

“We set those boulders [at the start of the project], so it looks like they were there [first],” Nannini says. “The wall winds in and out of the boulders. I think it makes them diminish a little bit.”

The spa is bordered by 24-inch-wide bluestone coping, while 18-inch pieces surround the pool. The flat pieces reinforce the home’s design. However, Nannini had it heat-treated to give it a slightly crinkled surface to blend it with the craggier materials.

Looking back: “I thought it would look more interesting to do a couple of treatments instead of just walls or boulders,” Nannini says. “I think it almost would have been overpowering if it were all one thing because the yard was so small.”