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Enjoying popsicles in their new backyard pool

Creating a Personalized and Private Space

In 2019, Brittany and Brian Shimansky had just bought their new Austin home and installed a plunge pool, but after seeing their destroyed pool perimeter after the installation, they realized they needed help to elevate the rest of the yard into a contemporary backyard landscape dream. Brittany, a celebrity fitness trainer (@brittsbarre on IG and TikTok), founder, and CEO of Brittsbarre Virtual Studio, was a long-time fan of Yardzen and knew just where to turn to create their dream yard. Brian, a fitness model, and custom woodworker, was also interested in using Yardzen to design the space after checking out client success stories online.

The Vision for their Backyard Retreat

When they started designing their yard with Yardzen, the Shimanskys described their yard as “empty.” In their words, the Shimansky family “sought to bring function, beauty, peace, and meaning to each area of the open and flat backyard. An entertaining/gathering space, a play space, a corner to relax, and space to garden.” The fitness-forward family shared their specific requests in their Yardzen onboarding process. It included the elements, materials, and style they wanted to achieve in their dream contemporary backyard landscape design. They wanted to entertain friends and family around a fire pit, a kid’s play area for Siena, and to remove grass due to maintenance. They also wanted to work with the shade created from the trees. Lastly, adding drought tolerant and native plants due to water restrictions was top of mind.

In her onboarding videos, Brittany calls out wanting the overall space to “feel like a resort”. She wanted “every space feeling intentional and well thought out” she continued. A color palette of black, white, and gray, mixing materials like metal to oppose the soft sea grasses. Marrying contemporary lines with minimal planting to create an inviting design is a challenge but we were up for it!

Pathways were another main design focus as the space needed a functional flow through each area to create “destinations” while creating a modern contrast to the privacy plantings and grasses they wanted to be planted all around.

Giving feedback on the Initial Landscape Design

After sending the Shimansky family their contemporary backyard landscape design plans, they shared feedback on minor adjustments to refine their vision. They wanted a dining table to create an additional entertainment zone, pool storage, and privacy slats to hide the pool equipment. Lounging areas were also top of mind in their feedback to soak up the sunniest areas of the yard along the existing pool deck.

The Build

Finally, after delivering the final set of designs with accompanying construction documents, the Shimanskys were paired with Yardzen’s Pro Network contractors,  ATX Prestige Landscaping. When asked how the transition from design to installation went, Brittany described Yardzen’s process as “Smooth. We selected our contractor through Yardzen, and they did great work for us!”
Once connected to ATX, a site walk was scheduled to converse about important issues that were top priorities for the Shimaskys. Addressing limiting factors like winter freezing temperatures and scorching hot summers, how to plan for a new drainage system after the pool installation, and how to work within their budget were discussed. “This was the biggest challenge.” They explained. Prioritizing the Central Texas climate and a selection of native plants available in the area, they were able to source drought-resistant species and cold hearty vegetation to be used throughout their space with the expertise of ATX!  

Other design changes had to be made to the design after consulting with ATX. “We ended up simplifying many of the metal border lines from the virtual rendering to accommodate for in-person function and flow. Our Yardzen-matched contractor made this process seamless to navigate.” And now, the metal planters and grasses makes one of their favorite parts of the yard! Other aspects of the newly refreshed backyard include soft textures and wispy blades of grasses, softening the modern metal planters. The sharp contrasts of the pavers and gravel as offset by the greenery from the tree canopies.
We love the drama of the oak tree leaning through the fence line and allowing for shade coverage over the play area! It was a brilliant solution to eliminate the need for grass and create a lovely backdrop. Privacy planting surrounds the fence line, allowing the family to relax and unwind in their new “wellness” space that includes an infrared sauna for Brittany and Brian to use after a workout!

Family time spent outside near the fire pit

“Our Yardzen-matched contractor made this process seamless to navigate.”

Plunge pool surrounded by privacy planting
The final design

Living Life Outside

Transitioning to different ways Brittany, Brian, and Siena enjoy their new backyard, the possibilities are as varied as the seasons. From sun-soaked afternoons to cozy evenings the family finds joy in a range of activities that make their backyard a haven of relaxation and togetherness. Their favorites include “fun family time in the playground area or breakfast in the seating areas.” They have also had the opportunity to showcase their new and improved space by entertaining guests. “Occasionally we host larger gatherings, and the space has served us very well for that too.” The multifunctional outdoor space crafted to transform cozy gatherings with family into larger soirées with equal charm. Its modular design boasts flexible seating arrangements, easily accommodating small family hangout sessions. We love the comfortable loungers and intimate seating clusters nestled underneath the trees. 

Enjoying the backyard

And there we have it! With every corner carefully designed to suit their lifestyle, this vibrant oasis will surely become the heart of the Shimansky family’s fun-filled and relaxing moments. Whether splashing in the water, exploring the paver pathways, or gathering around the cozy fire pit, the renovated backyard is a true haven of joy, energy, and togetherness.

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