From sod to mod: An art collector called upon a landscape architect and a custom pool designer to collaborate on a contemporary courtyard and garden that would complement his modern home. The resulting project is infused with playful geometry and artistic touches. On one side, water weeps down a rough-hewn limestone wall. On the other, flames dance inside an elongated fireplace. The visual conversation between the two is underscored by bushy herbs growing between smartly placed limestone pads. A negative-edge spa, at first glance, appears to be a dark marble stamp abutting the four-foot-tall weeping wall. “Basically, the idea was that the spa would almost be the shadow of the limestone water wall,” says Brett Corrigan of Artesian Custom Pools. The mirror-finish gleam was achieved with custom Egyptian glass tile and a slot-overflow design that keeps the water flush with the concrete pad. “Originally they wanted it raised four inches. I told them if you really want it to look reflective, … put it down on the same level,” says Artesian partner Johnnie Brajkovic. But the designers needed a way to control splash-out, so all the water would spill into the trough and flow to an underground basin. The solution: “The limestone doesn’t look like it, but it actually has a quarter-inch slope going back toward the spa” — channeling back the overflow, Brajkovic explains. To add symmetry, a fireplace was built to the weeping wall’s height and runs nearly 13 feet long.
A modern jewel: Landscape architect John Troy says the homeowners, Matthias Schubnell and Erika Ivanyi, aimed to create a modern jewel in one of San Antonio’s best old neighborhoods. “The owner has a very great eye for art and design and wanted something that would enhance his appreciation for art,” Troy says. Arranged in a grid, the limestone pavers closely resemble the travertine floor of the house. Design elements like that achieved a primary objective: “It looks like the whole thing was designed along with the house, and that was what we wanted to accomplish,” Schubnell says.