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An outdoor theater that doubles as a water feature provides an exciting backdrop in this backyard


A clean slate and carte blanche present endlesspossibilities for an outdoor landscape. They also offer the designer the opportunity to experiment with ideas and materials.

This situation greeted Ross Perillo when he was asked to redesign this urban backyard. Having audiovisual interests, he decided the focal point would be a large water feature that doubles as a projection screen for a home theater system.

The screen is quarter-inch thick, color-backed glass in a metallic white finish, and water can trickle down the face of it into a pond at its base when not being used to watch movies.

"The colored-glass screen provides an optimal viewing surface. And with the water feature, the space is not wasted when the theater is not being used," he says.

The surround and back wall are finished in Alucobond, a product generally associated with cladding for commercial buildings.


"Alucobond has a metallic look and feel to it that is suggestive of electronic products like TVs and DVD players. With the screen and the color-matched speakers inset into the surround, the whole ensemble appears like a giant piece of electronic equipment," he says.

Further speakers are installed along the back wall to diffuse the sound evenly throughout the area. All retaining walls are capped in custom-made slabs of sawn Australian bluestone. Plants within include Glauca conifers, known as pencil pines, cycads and palms.

Most of the area is tinted concrete with saw cuts that have been polished and sealed. A sculptural feature of three orbs balanced on plinths and set amongst crushed marble pieces may in the future house a spa pool. Plumbing, power and drainage have already been completed to accommodate the possibility.

First published date: 28 July 2008

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Credit List

Designer Ross Perillo
Paving Colored concrete, polished and sealed
Cladding Alucobond in metallic finish
Projector Sony
Audio visual Integra Onkyo
Projection screen Metallic white glass
Speakers Sonance XTR flush-mounted and color matched; Niles OS3 outdoor marine-grade Photography by Andrew Ashton