South Tampa Small Space Backyard


The South Tampa Small Space project is a full backyard renovation that the Exterior Concepts team completed in South Tampa, FL.

From my initial consultation with Tim and Leigh, this South Tampa backyard was a project I was really looking forward to working on. To start with, Tim and Leigh are both very kind and easy-going people. They also had a pretty good concept of what they wanted to accomplish. They had just moved from Davis Island to the New Suburb Beautiful neighborhood of South Tampa. Since the size of their home had gone from 3800 to 1700 sq. ft, one main objective was to add additional living space to the home, and the most ideal solution was to use the backyard. They brought to the table some very good ideas and were very open and receptive to mine as well. We started with a full backyard design with a wide variety of design elements incorporated, but as in some of our best works, the construction process proceeded in continuous stages, starting with the construction and installation of what we knew, than standing back, looking and evaluating before proceeding with the next phase.One variable that always seems to enhance my designs is that we had a very small space to design and construct within. Having a list of objectives, than having small margins to accomplish them in always seems to add balance to a design. We had a main area approximately 50×20 that already included a guest house. Within this space, our goal was to integrate an in-ground marsite spa with an adjoining koi pond and waterfall and a full outdoor kitchen. In addition we could redesign and install a brick clay paver patio and walkway, and convert an existing storage shed into a cabana with storage space. This was all built amidst an existing pergola that I was given the option to take down and redesign but chose to leave and work with.

Something that I enjoy with design and construction (as well as life) is trying something new or something that at least feels fresh and new. With this project I feel there were several aspects that felt new, starting with the spa. While we have installed many self-contained spas (4 or 5 already this year alone) into our designs, it is rare that we have designed an in ground spa like this one. In addition, we abutted the koi pond up to the spa to give the illusion that the pond and hot tub were one, so they are literally separated by only 8″ of concrete, rebar, tile, and stone.

The second project that really was a first for me was to take an existing 10′x10′ shed and convert it into a small converted pavilion, leaving the back and side for storage. Pictures may be the only way to describe the process, but in the end the result turned out exactly as we envisioned it. The pavilion is compete with outdoor lighting, a ceiling fan and an outdoor flat screen television. The floor was decked with composite decking with an arched bridge leading over the koi pond. The carpentry project on this job was a custom-built wood privacy structure that was constructed to hide the home’s pump and air conditioning unit that would have been very visually obtrusive otherwise.

The existing clay brick paver patio was redesigned and enhanced, adding a wraparound brick walkway along one side of the house and an additional brick patio and walkway on the other.

A full outdoor kitchen was designed on one side of the main patio complete with a grill, sink, Green Egg Smoker, additional Dual side burners, along with storage underneath. A custom concrete counter was subbed to, designed and installed by Jeff Downing of Downing Designs.

A full Low voltage outdoor lighting system was installed (fixtures manufactured by Garden Light), as well as redesigning and installing the entire landscape.

In addition there were many smaller variables that we had to work with, either adapting or redesigning them into our designs, including an existing drainage system, relocating a double-wide aluminum gate, and working in the gas line installed for the spa and the kitchen.

Thank you Leigh and Tim. It has been a pleasure working with you. Enjoy those Auburn games while lounging in your new spa!

“Since the size of their home had gone from 3800 to 1700 sq. ft, one main objective of this South Tampa backyard was to add additional living space to the home, and the most ideal solution was to use the backyard.”