Sanctuary In The City

The initial challenge for landscape designer Scott Cohen was to create privacy for a family who likes to entertain but whose Calabasas property backed up to not one, but four neighboring properties. “We wanted to make it a sanctuary, which meant we had to add privacy,” says Cohen

Cohen decided to create multiple levels using structures and furnishings that would enhance the family’s enjoyment of their yard and also help serve as a screen, as would layers of new plant materials. With input from the homeowners, Cohen developed a cohesive setting with a decidedly Tuscan flair. A raised centerpiece features a 14′ chimney with a mantel, hearth, and fireboxes, and a big sitting area underneath a columned pergola.

On one side, he built a rectilinear swimming pool and hot tub bordered by an arbor with columns wrapped in Royal Trumpet vines; on the other side he situated a dining area and kitchen.

To coordinate outdoor materials with the interior of the home, Cohen selected a faux stone cast concrete that resembles stone for the fireplace, patio edges, seat walls, and the interior of the pool at the water level.

(The faux stone veneer used in the fireplace, outdoor kitchen, and swimming pool is Eldorado Rustic Ledge.)

The countertops, pool coping, and fireplace mantle pieces are cast in place on site with concrete using a foam mold from Stegmeier.

Because of the home’s stucco facade, he introduced other stone-like textures, but he kept them neutral because of the busy fireplace stone. More greenery and color come from Cohen’s choice of ornamental purple sweet potato vines that were trained as patio trees.


2006: Landscape Construction magazine,, Ultimate Outdoor Kitchens, Hearth and Home magazine, Westlake Magazine, Signature Pools And Spas’ 2nd Annual Design Awards Issue

2007: Signature Pools and Outdoors magazine, Luxury Pools, and in 2 books: Picture Perfect Pools and Outdoor Kitchens and Fireplaces

2008: Signature Pools and Outdoors

2011: Great Backyards and Backyard Solutions

2012: Calabasas Style

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