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Transformation of a Yorba Linda Home
Contractor, Richard Cohen Landscape, Lake Forest, Calif.; landscape designer, Elaine Iverson, Newport Beach, Calif.; construction manager, Carlos Zarraga, of Richard Cohen Landscape

By Michael Miyamoto | LASN


The back and front yards of this home in Yorba Linda, Calif., were extensively landscaped, a project that included the building of a new pool, spa and an outdoor entertainment area with a fireplace, television, barbecue and other amenities. Starlite Quartz Ledgestone was used for the veneers for the fireplace. Superior Stone, of Anaheim, Calif., completed the granite fabrication and installation for the entertainment area. The wooden shade structure, constructed by United Builders of California, was made from Douglas fir, and has 6" x 14" header beams, 4" x 8" rafters, 4" x 4" slats on top that run in two directions. This outdoor patio also has a large gas barbecue setup, and a living-room-type seating arrangement with a bar, barstools and lots of countertop space.
Photo credits: Andrew Pece Photography

Bill McNamara and his wife wanted a single-story house large enough for a landscape that would meet the needs of their entire family. So when the McNamaras moved into a home in Yorba Linda, Calif., they asked for a shaded outdoor entertainment area, complete with a pool, spa and other nifty amenities.

Yorba Linda is a city of about 68,000 people in northeast Orange County, in Southern California. The city was the birthplace of Richard Nixon. His father, Francis, built a modest California Bungalow style home in Yorba Linda in 1913 from a mail order home building kit.




The pool and spa area also feature a 40'-long water wall and two fire bowls. Four queen palms are planted on either side of the pool. Cameron Petite Euro Castle squares and rectangles are the paving materials for the pool and the patio areas. A Baja shelf was built into the pool for sitting, lounging or child's play. (It can be seen in the foreground of the top photo.) These features are also referred to as tanning ledges or shelves, sun shelves or Cabo shelves. They are almost always in the shallow section of a pool. In many cases, this popular feature is incorporated into the pool steps. They effectively serve as a second, oversized step down into the main pool.

Today, that Yorba Linda home is the historic centerpiece of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. For this featured Yorba Linda home, the McNamaras called upon Richard Cohen Landscape and Construction Inc., of Lake Forest, Calif., which later hired Elaine Iverson, of Newport Beach, Calif., to design their new landscape. Richard Cohen Landscape was the contractor. Carlos Zarraga, of Richard Cohen Landscape, was the construction manager. What resulted was a project that satisfied the customers' needs and made excellent use of the property, according to Richard Cohen, owner of Richard Cohen Landscape.

The pool was designed so the spa is easily accessible from the master bedroom, while the body of the pool is centered on the dining room windows, which are directly aligned with the entrance to the house. A Baja shelf was built into the pool for either lounging or child's play. The pool is equipped with handrails for safe access at two entrances. Other features include a 40' long stone veneered, raised bond beam, a 40' water feature and two fire bowls. The water feature is illuminated with LED strip lighting.



A close up view of the LED lighted water wall. Starlite Quartz Ledgestone forms the foundation for the raised bond beam. Cameron Petite Euro Castle, 2"-3" thick, is the material for the coping and wall caps on the bond beam.

"The owners are thrilled with the nighttime drama provided by this visual effect," Cohen said.

An outdoor entertainment area features a large, heavy lumber shade structure with a built-in fireplace, a television cabinet, and a living-room-type seating area.

The barbecue area offers a dining table, a large gas barbecue with a vent hood, an outdoor refrigerator, sink, garbage disposal, hot and cold water, storage drawers and lots of counter space and barstool seating.



A garden with rose bushes was added to the backyard especially for the owner's enjoyment. The border around the roses is planted with seslera caerulea, or blue moor grass. Decomposed granite has been spread in the pathways.

Four large queen palms create a "Palm Court" over the center of the pool that provide shade and create a sense of enclosure in the pool area. Several fruit trees were also planted in the back yard; the homeowners have lemons, limes, tangerines and other varieties.

Lighting was also provided for both safety and to make the rear yard come "alive" at night. There is also a small formal rose garden that adds to the ambiance of this home, as well as cut roses to display in the house.

"Challenges at the site included a large lot and a house design that utilized the driveway as the main entrance to the front door," Cohen said. "With current restrictions to water use in California, the challenge was made even more acute."




Cameron flagstone and colored, sand-finished concrete paving materials were used for the new driveway in the front yard of the Yorba Linda home. Date palms with up lighting and entrance urns welcome visitors.

To meet these challenges, the pool and patio areas were designed to take up a large portion of the space in the back yard, leaving only a small section of turf. In the front yard, the drive approach was enhanced with random Cameron stone and colored sand-finished concrete. Urns and effective nighttime lighting direct guests to the front door. Six Medjool date palms lend a nice touch to the entrance of the home. Drip irrigation and smart timers help make watering as efficient as possible.

"The owners and their family have made extensive use of the yard since its completion," Cohen said. "They often comment that it feels like they are on vacation when using their yard, and feel like the finished product accomplished their needs and goals for the house."

Project Team
Landscape designer: Elaine Iverson, Newport Beach, Calif.
Contractor: Richard Cohen Landscape, Lake Forest, Calif.
Construction manager: Carlos Zarraga, of Richard Cohen Landscape
Granite fabrication: Superior Stone, Anaheim
Wooden shade structure: United Builders of California
Pool subcontractors: Luke Plumbing and Electric; Long Swimming Pool Steel and Excavation; C and J Gunite and Shotcrete; Koppes Pool Plaster
Pool Equipment: Sta-Rite and Jandy

Building Materials
Stone: Sepulveda Building Materials, Laguna Hills, Calif.
Rear yard pavers: Cameron Petite Euro Castle
Raised bond beam, fireplace and barbecue veneer: Starlite Quartz Ledgestone
Stone coping and wall caps: Cameron Petite Euro Castle
Driveway paving: Cameron random flagstone and colored, sand-finished concrete pavers
Barbecue: Lynx Gas Grills' 42" barbecue; Lynx storage drawer; Lynx 23" access door; Lynx 42" access doors; Lynx 42" vinyl cover (built in); Lynx vent hood

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April 25, 2019, 1:37 am PDT

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