JSL Landscape completes landscape remodel at Sedona Golf Resort

The elements of fire and water make a landscape feel more balanced.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live on a golf course? You don’t have to be a golfer to appreciate the park like setting that an expanse of green grass brings to the backdrop of your landscaping.

You would want to share this view with your friends and neighbors right? Well then it should be a backyard landscape designed for outdoor entertaining. Everyone would love to visit and enjoy the features that you built to make it appealing and entertaining. Here is an example of one backyard landscape we recently completed in the Sedona Golf Resort.

Backyard Landscape Remodel in the Sedona Golf Resort

This home was purchased several years ago with the intent to eventually move in at retirement. Meanwhile, it was rented out and as many rental properties go — the landscaping is usually minimal. This was certainly the case with the property. The backyard was nothing more than a hodgepodge of overgrown shrubs. This makes it somewhat easier to create a new landscape since there were no structures to remove or work around.

The plan was to create a backyard oasis that included a pool, outdoor kitchen, a fire pit of some sort, patio areas for furniture and a small patch of grass for their small dogs to play. Being empty nesters, this was truly a backyard for adults to play and entertain their friends.

Being in the Sedona Golf Resort, the project required approval by the Homeowners Association as well as permits issued by the County of Yavapai. The owners were rather concerned about all the guidelines and restrictions, but since I have been to this rodeo before, the process went through without any glitches.

Here are some of the design details built into the landscape:

The pool was finished with black pebble which gives it an upscale sophisticated feel. Scupper wok bowls flank the back of the pool on raised stone veneered pedestals. The stone is also used as the veneer on the bbq island and fire table. The pool also has a “baja bench” which is an extended first step large enough to place a couple of lounge chairs.

The fire pit is actually what is now referred to as a fire table. A fire pit in the middle, but with coffee table height surfaces to make it more practical to sit around and have permanent furniture set up. The fire pit itself is gas fired and we used fire glass called “black reflective gold”. The fire glass picks up the black pebble texture in the pool. A subtle feature that allows the owners to share with their friends about the nuances of their masterpiece.

Tumbled travertine was used for the fire table surface as well as on the bbq island countertop.


A backyard with no landscaping is not a very desirable place to hang out, nor to look upon from the inside. That is what these clients were faced with when they decided to live full time in their Sedona home they had been renting out. I came over to take a look after they called me for a free consultation for a landscape design. While on site, I gave them numerous options on how to situate everything so that it looked well planned and then agreed to come up with a formal design (below).

The yard is about 20 feet deep, has a small covered patio and an above the ground spa. Their needs and wants were pretty straightforward: a place where they could entertain, hang out with friends and create a much more useable patio and outdoor living area.

Their wish list was basically the following: a built in bbq island, a fireplace, new extended patio flooring (they were sold on concrete pavers), and a small lawn area for their dog. Of course, trees and shrubs would be included as well in the overall landscape design.

Sounds pretty typical for a outdoor entertainment area, functioning as an extension of the home and incorporating the existing spa. So the next step would be to explore various locations of where to place these features both in a functional and aesthetic manner.

One big issue however, is the electric powerpole in the right rear corner and a electrical access box at ground level a few feet away. I knew there must be some kind of restrictions about building or planting shrubs too close for them to have access. There may even be some kind of easement as well. Once we find out what the restrictions are, we will adjust the design as necessary, but for now, I think the design works very well given the size of the yard and the views from the inside.

I placed the bbq island with the understanding that there would be some distance required to access the electrical equipment and powerpole. The island was placed in such a way as to use its bulk as a screen. Bamboo would be planted to help mitigate the objectionable powerpole — at least at eye level for the first 10 feet or so.

The fireplace was also placed towards the perimeter of the patio area and situated as a focal point of the backyard. Clearly visible from all windows of the house. The hearth has extended bench seating on each side of the firebox giving it width and angled to reflect the fortyfive degree angles used to accent the patio configuration and the bbq island. The fireplace will be a simple design, stucco and painted to match the house which is of a southwest territorial style.

The paver patio narrows as it follows the narrow covered patio effectively widening the four foot wide walkway leading to a bedroom door by another four feet. This allows improves the flow from that door and makes the backyard seem much bigger because there is now much more hard surface to walk on.

The patio ends and meets an island area for plantings which forms a transition between the paver patio area and the lawn area. It was decided due to the relatively small area involved, that synthetic turf would be a good choice eliminating the need to water, mow and deal with potential dog related issues creating brown or yellow patches in the lawn.

We will get started once the utility issues are understood and the necessary permits are obtained from the City of Sedona. Future blog posts will track the progress.

The real landscape design issue here is twofold: 1) how to deal with the powerlines/powerpole and 2) where to place everything. This design came together rather quickly for me as the clients already knew exactly what things they wanted and just needed a landscape design professional to show them how it would look arranged within the site limitations of their Sedona backyard.

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