Photography by Stacy Bass
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The soothing warm breezes of spring and summer are blending harmoniously in our community. After a long winter, it may be a transition we appreciate more now than in the past few years. Our perspectives have shifted toward community, home and family and making the most of everything we have right here. That includes the gifts from Mother Nature.
As the lilies and hydrangea begin to bloom this year, you are more likely to find people enjoying their backyards. Of course some “back- yards” naturally exceed the term; one can only rightfully call them grounds or even estates — and still fall short of the mark. One particular Fairfield property comes to mind. It’s near the water, located on a beautiful street, and last year underwent a landscape transformation in order to meet the needs and evolving style of the family. Growing into its new potential, as the plantings mature and the flowers pop with color, the property is a pure getaway at home — an on-site recreation paradise for children and parents alike.
The reason for the outdoor redesign was the undeniably expanding interests of the family’s very active teenage triplets. “When our children were toddlers, we had a play area in the back that was gated, because we live on a busy road,” says the homeowner. “We were worried about them running out into the street when they were young. So in that area, to keep them busy, there was a swing set, a sandbox, and a kid’s playhouse. Then we realized they were getting older, and we wanted a different kind of place where they could play with their friends — that was the impetus for putting in more sporty areas.”
She’s referring to a mixed-use court for tennis or basketball, a full-size batting cage, a redesigned pool area and a swath of open lawn so big one can easily host a touch football game, a round of croquet and a soccer match simultaneously. Just look out for the grand maple overlooking it all. “This has been, and hopefully will continue to be, our family home,” says the owner. “Our needs have changed over time. One thing that’s become more important to us when we entertain has been being able to enjoy our home with our friends and to have our children, now teenagers, and their friends nearby. We have a lot of dinner parties, I like to cook, we like to be outside. This way, our children can be playing sports or hanging out with their friends in a separate area on the property.”
While the kids do everything possible to burn off their youthful energy, their parents unwind from busy days by relaxing in a comfortable seating area, complete with oversized, softly cushioned furniture and a modern, easy-start fire-pit. The two escapes — active and repose — are connected via a stone-stepped path, along which a wall of mature arborvitae adds privacy from the neighbors. During summer evenings, the adults and their guests share stories with one another by the fire-pit and grill station, which often attracts the younger generation, too. “We do a lot of grilling, a lot of buffets by the pool,” says the owner. “We really like having other families over. If we have a big crowd, we serve the food on a table between the pool and the portico, and there are a couple of different sitting areas where we can eat. We choose one spot and the kids sit in the other.”