|The poured concrete curbs will be lined with brick pavers leading from garden to gazebo to deck to house. The sprinkler system will have eight watering zones.|
The sun shines an average of 273 days per year in Farmington, N.M. High temperatures drop to the 40s during December, January and February, but only 12.3 inches of snow typically falls in winter. Average annual rainfall is just 7.5 inches. Residents want to get outside year-round.
A spacious, cool, comfortable area for outside entertaining ranked near the top of the wish list for Lonny Rutherford and Marilyn Mobley. Perched on a large lot with a panoramic view of the city, their home had a small patio and a yard with a handful of mature trees and a lot of scrub.
"We're sealed up in offices every day, so when we get home, we want to bring the outdoors in and indoors out," Mobley says. "This house is conducive because of the large windows and the way it was designed."
Keeping 500 square feet of the existing patio, they decided to add a 1,300-square-foot, multilevel Universal Forest Products composite deck across the home's south face. A spiral staircase will lead to an upper deck overlooking the pool, and a 4-inch step down from the patio will lead to the pool deck, which will surround a 10x32-foot lap pool ranging from 3 to 5 feet deep. Steps at the left of the pool will lead up to a hot tub, and an L-shaped kitchen with a refrigerator and an outdoor grill will sit in the middle of the deck, handy to the pool as well as the kitchen inside the home.
On the back of the guest suite ("the west wing"), Rutherford will install French doors that will open onto a semicircular deck with steps down to the main surface, which will wrap around the west and east sides of the home.
"The way we've situated the deck, it's under a big tree, so you get the shade," Rutherford says. "We've placed it so the predominantly west winds do not blow the smoke in our faces."
New landscaping makes up a large part of the home's new exterior, with four distinct garden areas: a courtyard at the entrance; a "secret garden" behind a gate in the courtyard, tucked between the garage and the guest suite; the lawn behind the home; and a fruit and vegetable garden near a potting shed and an archway. A 48-inch-high iron fence with locking gates will run around the property's perimeter, not only to keep the couple's dogs in but also to keep children out of the pool, as required by code.
The outdoor living area is just as wired as the interior, with programmable sprinkler, lighting and security systems. Rutherford and Mobley are doing their best to continue the conservation theme outdoors by employing a drip system with eight watering zones. This method distributes water directly to plants' roots and allots a certain amount of water per hour.