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Landscape Design Richmond:–Revised Renderings for a Modern Backyard

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

Introducing The Space


Usually when you set out to redo your backyard, the process follows a similar cadence. You look for a company to design, or design and build your space, approve their plans, and construction begins. But what happens when the team you hire misses the design mark? In this Richmond, VA landscape design challenge, we set out to streamline a design that our clients were unhappy with.


The homeowner’s for this space had a large, undeveloped backyard that they were eager to transform. With a good amount of space, they were interested in incorporating a range of outdoor living amenities, including a pool.


This Richmond, VA landscape design challenge began with a largely blank slate, and plenty of room for a large pool.

Excited to get started, they reached out to a company, discussed their wishlist, and waited to see their proposed designs. What they got back was not quite what they had anticipated.


Rendering even great designs can be difficult without the right software and team. In this case, the images that the homeowners received were not the compelling images that they had anticipated.


Another angle showing the length and space provided in the initial backyard.

Instead of allowing the clients to see themselves in a transformed space, the homeowners felt unsatisfied with the picture being presented. A lack of realism, terrain discrepancies, and design elements they did not like were all distracting from the realization of a final outdoor living space.


A range of initial renders. The homeowners were dissatisfied with how the final design was coming together.


After receiving these designs, the clients decided to reach out to Water and Earth to help bring their vision to life.


Design Revision


The revised and finalized design approved by the homeowners.

When engaging with a previous design concept, we think it’s important to take a close look at the work. Most of the time, issues can be resolved through a thorough discussion and problem solving. In this case, the clients were pleased with much of what was already detailed in the design. However, inconsistencies and poor renderings were making it difficult to see the final space as it would come together.


After talking with the homeowners, we found that much of the existing layout from the first round of design actually did work for them. However, they were missing the specific modern minded aesthetic they were after for the space.


In this revision process, much of the previous design layout stayed in place. However, materiality and details began to change. A proposed organic rock feature at the far end of the swimming pool was traded for a modern, upscale water feature wall and a custom slide.


The previous mix of hardscaping was switched out for a range of modern concrete pavers in shades of gray. The outdoor kitchen has had a material update, and the covered living space at the entrance to the yard has gotten an updated look as well.


Talking through a design revision is one thing. But in this Richmond, VA landscape design challenge, the real payoff was in the new 3D renderings.


Revised 3D Renderings


The first round of renderings these clients received from a previous company missed the mark. Not only did they not bring the space to life in a way the client’s could properly envision, but they missed the mark on a modern materiality and refined aesthetic. The revised renderings from our team at Water and Earth addressed these issues.

An aerial look at the newly rendered backyard living space.

In this new set of renderings, color, materiality, and use of space are all thoroughly addressed. New, geometric TechoBloc pavers are featured in varying shades of gray. Clean lines and refined landscaping tie the space together without making it feel all one-note or homogenous.

A rendering of the new covered living space. A sleek, flat pergola roof with modern lighting is complemented by an integrated fireplace and TV.

The old roofing style above the outdoor kitchen and living space has been changed out for a sleek, flat pergola style design that is in line with the rest of the yard’s new aesthetic. As opposed to the initial renderings, the homeowners can make out the smaller details, and navigate easily through these designs.

A closer look at the revised outdoor kitchen and swim up bar. A clear panel separates the space without making it feel too isolated.

In previous renderings, a large organic boulder style slide and wall had been proposed at the far end of the pool. After discussing this with the homeowners, we swapped this initial design with a sleek water feature wall, and an innovative water slide. The end result was a fun, unique pool feature that was not at odds with any other design element within the space.

A look across the pool and tanning deck toward the water feature wall. The homeowners can travel across their tanning deck using floating concrete steppers.

Finally, we think it is important to show our clients that their future outdoor living space has the capabilities to go from day to night easily. Lighting plans are a major factor in a successful backyard space, so a 3D rendering that showcases this is paramount to allowing the homeowners to really envision themselves in the space.


From path lighting and landscape spotlights, to feature lighting along the new waterfall at the end of the pool, we were sure to bring this to life in our revised renderings.

A night time rendering of the space. These renders showcase how an excellent lighting plan can not only add incredible ambience, but create a space that is functional long after the sun goes down.

At the end of the day, the homeowners saw these new 3D images and were thrilled. Not only could they finally envision themselves in the space, but it was clear that the materiality and whole of the design matched their aesthetic vision.


Every outdoor design renovation is different. Some proceed from start to finish without any bumps in the road. And sometimes you realize partway through that your dream space isn’t taking shape exactly as you’d planned.


For these homeowners, a set of unsatisfactory 3D renderings was a clue that they needed to take a step back and look elsewhere. We’re so glad they looked to us.


From streamlining the initial design plans, to solidifying materials, planting, and an overall aesthetic, we were able to transform the space. The final renderings made the potential of this Richmond backyard pop, and the homeowners agreed.


Craving more design inspiration? Check out our blog.


If you’re looking for more outdoor design inspiration from right here in Richmond, VA, check out the blog. We are always adding new projects, design breakdowns, and sneak peaks at what’s in the works. To keep up to date with everything we’re doing, follow us on Instagram.



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