Clarion Courtyard


A series of cypress pergolas and water features we constructed a few years back when the Clarion took over the Best Western and preceded with an ‘over the top’ restoration. Our scope of work was limited to the outdoor courtyard and swimming pool area. A series of 5 big timber Cypress Pergolas were constructed surrounding three sides of an existing L-shaped swimming pool. All 5 pergolas were constructed in similar fashion with similar components. Each pergola was built approximately 10’ in height, using 6x6” posts wrapped with circular cast concrete ornamental columns. The entire upper carnage framework of each Pergola was constructed using rough cut cypress, and the members of each pergola were also in uniform. Dual ornamental, boxed 2”x12”s were used as girders, ornamental 2”x10”s were used as shades and 2”x4”s were used as purlins.

I was able to have two 2”x12”s, 32 feet in length, milled and used as girders for a pergola that would be constructed over one end of the swimming pool. This pergola would also be used as the framework for two separate water features. A stone waterfall was constructed in one corner of the swimming pool, around one of the 6”x6” pergola support posts. This waterfall was built using Navajo Fieldstone, a tannish white stone that would blend in with the courtyard patio. The second water feature was built using a 2” copper pipe inset between the two cypress 2”x12” girders. A hole was drilled every 1/4th of an inch to create an effect of a sheet of water falling. The frame of the stone waterfall was constructed using concrete blocks, leaving the center hollow to house the pump, electrical, and low voltage lighting transformer. We used a Pentair (intelliflo xf) pump with a 2”2” intake and a 3” outtake to supply both water features. Even with the 10 feet of head pressure needed for the pergola water feature, the Pentair pump was sufficient.

We constructed a third water feature as a backdrop to the raised travertine patio that was constructed to be utilized as a bandstand. This water feature was basically a large rectangle raised retainment pool veneered in tile. The water feature was a sheet of water approximately 8 feet across and a minimum 8 feet off the ground.

Finally, and probably most importantly, being as this entire travertine courtyard area would be occupied more in the evenings than the daytime, all the Pergolas and water features were lit up using LED Low Voltage lighting. In part, low voltage lighting was used for function, lighting up the sitting areas, as well as pathways, exits and entrances. Low voltage outdoor lighting was also used for an aesthetic effect by lighting up the water features, as well as lighting up some of the landscaping. Lastly, as we have done with a lot of our pergolas, outdoor ceiling fans were attached. Looking at our final product, I really feel we accomplished their goal. The space has a lot of appeal and can accommodate a large volume of people for enjoyment and entertainment. It has the variables needed to draw people in, a swimming pool, a full service bar, a large bandstand, etc. But, most importantly to me, it has a great aesthetic and artistic appeal. I have listened to many people talk about the Clarion Courtyard and its appeal, having no idea that it was our project, including my own daughter who was in awe of it after spending a few evenings there, and had no idea that I designed and constructed it until I gave her this blog to post.

“This multiple pergola and functional water display drew the attention of many guests as it made for a comfortable and cool shaded daytime experience, and as the sun went down their eyes lit up as the Clarion Courtyard came to life.”