New Tampa Escape


The New Tampa Escape is a New Tampa backyard project that grew and evolved throughout the design process.

Judy called me just after relocating to the beautiful Easton Park development of New Tampa from Hawaii. She was actually still in the process of unpacking boxes when she decided to have the Exterior Concepts team come in to design and construct her New Tampa backyard living space. The Easton Park development is new, so her backyard was basically one blank rectangular canvas with many possibilities. The two existing variables we had to work with were an existing 10′ x 10′ concrete slab with an existing roof supported by two large concrete columns, and an 8′ x 8′ hot tub that Judy had brought with her from Hawaii.

The initial outdoor living space design was a large, organic, peanut-shaped interlocking paver patio designed around the existing 10′ x 10′ patio, with the hot tub at one end, and a circular fire pit at the other. The existing concrete slab was covered with 1″ interlocking pavers to match the patio and screened walls were constructed to form a 10′ x 10′ room.

A large pergola/shade structure was constructed that covered the hot tub and 3/4 of the interlocking paver patio. An organic edge was designed to mimic the edge of the patio. A custom-built horizontal/vertical lattice privacy structure was also built to surround the home’s air conditioning units. Three outdoor ceiling fans were installed, one in the screen room and two underneath the pergola.

As we were putting the finishing touches on the project with landscaping and outdoor lighting, Judy expressed that she wished she had incorporated a swimming pool into the design. Within 48 hours a new concept was conceived and plans were designed and submitted to the building department, thus beginning phase two of the project.

We were limited with the depth of the backyard, which ultimately narrowed the width of the pool. Luckily we were able to design a pool that worked very well with the work that had already been completed. The front edge of the pool took on the organic shape of the paver patio and pergola, while the rear edge was a hard edge following the maximum space allotted by the easement. The swimming pool was designed with a wet deck on one end with umbrella stand, bubbles and three sheer decent waterfalls emanating from a raised back wall, and solar heating system and quad cartridge filter were installed.

Two additional interlocking paver patios were designed and installed on each end of the pool. The first patio was raised using highland wall stone for retainment and intersects the highland stone circular fire-pit. The second interlocking paver patio was installed on the other of the pool with a second pergola constructed above. The front edge of this pergola also takes on the contour of the pool and is installed with an additional outdoor ceiling fan. An interlocking paver walkway wraps around the back of the pool connecting the two patios. A 32′ long single post arbor with 6′ shades runs along this walkway. The purpose of this arbor wasn’t to provide shade as much as to act as an apparatus for the low voltage outdoor lighting system (fixtures manufactured by Garden Light). The three shade structures allowed us to wrap eye level post lights around almost the entire pool as well as installing pathway lights in the landscaping beds and spot lights uplighting some of the larger specimen trees installed with the landscaping.

In accordance with the city of Tampa building code and the homeowners association guidelines, a 48″ beige PVC fence was installed encompassing the entire back and side yards. A landscaping plan was designed and implemented with two beds abutting the pool’s coping and balancing the hardness of the concrete pavers with softscape, and also allowing us area where various flowering, climbing vines could be planted where they would be able to climb up the 6′ x 6′ post supporting the three shade structures and interweave into the wooden canopies above. Finally two zones were added to the existing irrigation system.

All phases of this project were designed and constructed in-house by the Exterior Concepts team with the exception of the pool which was designed by myself and Dave Mckinnon of Seamco and subbed to Seamco for installation. My gratitude to the many employees who contributed to the construction of this project, and mostly my thanks to Judy for her friendship, faith and trust in our company.

“Judy’s New Tampa backyard was basically one blank rectangular canvas with many possibilities.”