Our clients felt trapped and claustrophobic in their overgrown backyard with an encroaching hillside and small patio. This beautiful home was lacking an enjoyable area for entertaining and space for the client’s two daughters to play. These clients, who enjoy cooking and hosting parties, wished to have a fire element, outdoor kitchen with a pizza oven, water feature, and some lawn space.
The excavation of the hillside and footings for the masonry work and the narrow access to the backyard posed a challenge. Truckloads of soil were removed from the job site, as well as existing concrete, pavers, and plant material. Footings were poured and the concrete block was used to build the back wall after excavating the hillside. The wall was backfilled with 6A float stone and tiled for drainage. Existing native boulders found during excavation were kept to use in the dry stacked boulder walls, as well as the split fieldstone fireplace. Fieldstone was split by hand onsite for the pizza oven and fireplace. The surrounding walls and kitchen area were faced with a natural stone veneer, which was mortared onto the concrete block. Other challenges included relocating an underground electric line and excessive rainfall in the spring of 2015.
We discussed the style of the interior of the home and the idea of mirroring the indoor split fieldstone fireplace and rustic wood beams with the exterior landscape. Bluestone steps were designed to create a pathway to a previously unreachable built-in herb garden. A cedar pergola compliments the architecture of the home and a pondless waterfall with autofill provides a low-maintenance ambiance. The plant material chosen showcases colorful foliage and blooms that help to soften the hardscape it surrounds. As the plants mature, the surrounding environment will become even more enjoyable. The final element that really enhances this space is the addition of lighting throughout the project.