The 6-acre estate is in the heart of Texas Hill Country, surrounded by deep ravines, rock-strewn creeks and amazing hiking trails.

The client wanted an inviting space to retreat to in the evening. So John Hackett, vice president and landscape architect at the building firm, created an outdoor entertainment area with an infinity-edge spa as the crowning showpiece. The vessel shelters the backyard even as it opens up to the wild, unbridled landscape with multiple view points.

Light and texture

The new yard was raised 4 feet off the original grade, and the existing porch extended to hold the new spa and outdoor kitchen. A lower terrace contains a pergola and fireplace.

Hackett capped the terraces with concrete stained a rich brown and scored with a diamond saw to achieve the appearance of large stones.

He used native limestone on the fireplace, kitchen island, steps and perimeter walls. The custom-built pergola is Western red cedar.

The white limestone sets off the cinnamon tones of the wood and colored concrete, and makes the blue tiles on the spa really stand out.

Low-voltage landscape lighting also enhances the hues and contours of the materials. Fixtures in front of the spa bring out the iridescence of the blue tiles.

Shaping the view

Hackett wanted a design that embraced the vistas of the scenic hills and minimized the impact on the surrounding natural environment.

He perched the infinity-edge spa on the eastern end of the upper terrace, with the catch basin below. In the morning, the owner can enjoy a majestic sunrise streaming over the water’s surface. With the spa placed at the very edge of the slope, users are treated to an exciting vista from above.

Stone steps lead past the catch basin so people can enjoy the view out toward the hills, or look back at the blue spa from below.

The unique elliptic shape of the spa also serves to enhance the pano-ramic sight lines, Hackett says, because it provides more edge than a traditional round shape.