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What's Up Magazine

If You Build It, They Will Come

Apr 19, 2012 07:33PM ● By Anonymous

When you‘re ready to take you idea to the next level and plan a landscape on your property, there are three general points of consideration: design principles; site engineering methods; and creative use of plant materials. Though this sounds like a mouthful, in laymen’s terms, we’re talking about; size and shape of garden beds, paths, patios, etc.; paying attention to the lay of the land, e.g. sloping hills, water flow and diversion, soil properties, and construction materials and methods; and basic horticulture, i.e. the best growing plants that are either aesthetic, utilitarian, or both.

Go outside. Look around. Walk your property. Take mental notes. Write them down. Develop a vision of what you want to see.

For some, their dream design might be a replication of a favorite English garden incorporating a mix of common and rare shrubbery and lily ponds, and for which the maintenance level is considerably high. Others might be looking to transform their backyard in a native landscape that draws wildlife and requires less-than-everyday care. A trend among many homeowners is a backyard suitable for relaxation and entertaining—that can include well-appointed patios with built benches, fire places and pits, and even outdoor kitchens. Pergolas, trellises, columns, and custom roofing can also be creatively worked into dream designs. Lighting is another element that, when properly placed throughout a property, enhances the outdoor experience. Amenities such as a flat screen television, sound system, wet bar, outdoor ceiling fans, and cushioned furniture complete the dream.

And that’s exactly what several regional homeowners have achieved, with their examples on the following pages. They found that hands-on designing and building a luxurious and inviting landscape, patio, or pool (and sometimes a combination of all three!) was as much fun as dreaming it.

The overall goal of this project was to create a usable space in a small sloped back yard. A two-tiered patio using decorative paving stones and natural stone walls was built. The fire place was a the focal point of this outdoor space and was constructed with natural stone, hand chiseled flagstone mantel, hearth and accent pieces, along with seating walls on either side. The fire place has custom-built wood storage on either side and is natural wood burning with a gas igniter for convenience. Custom Ipe Pergola was constructed over head for partial shade and to provide symmetry for the space. The pergola is equipped with an outdoor fan and speakers with a hidden wiring system to allow the woodwork to be properly displayed. The space was finished with lush landscaping to soften the space and provide seclusion for an intimate feel.

This client was looking for a pond to be viewed from their home’s dining area. The house is an arts and crafts house with a little bit of everything put together in an artistic way. The lion head actually spouts water from its mouth into the pond. The lot was very tight with a steep slope behind the wall. The stone in the pond came from Pennsylvania (river and field stone). The wall stone came from West Virginia.

This client had recently purchased this Annapolis home and wanted to convert the unusable back yard into a relaxing and functional area for their family. The first thing needed was to haul out over 200 tons of soil. This allowed for leveling up the backyard to create a lawn area for the children to play. Along with doing this, a raised pavilion area was created, where the adults can hang out while the children are playing. Off the side of the raised pavilion, is a covered grilling area that is perfect for entertaining.

This is a custom built pavilion equipped with full outdoor kitchen, bar top, and fire place. A large pavilion structure was constructed adjacent to the client’s pool with architectural elements matching that of the home. The pavilion boasts high cathedral ceilings with exposed beams and custom cedar tongue and groove carpentry encasing the structure. It’s equipped with perimeter recessed lighting, ceiling fans, audio system, flat screen television, and a hidden area for DVD player and controls. The natural stone fireplace provides intimacy but was deliberately not made too large to allow for traffic flow and good view lines to pool space. The outdoor kitchen is outfitted with a built in grill, side burner, sink, ice chest, refrigerator, and oven. The bar top and stools allow for additional seating with close proximity to the chef. Patio floor wasconstructed with decorative paving stones to match that of the pool deck and all counters, and capping was done with thermaled Bluestone.