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Outdoor Living Landscape Design in Mt. Tabor Backyard

Outdoor Living Landscape Design has wide paths and easy access

Outdoor Living in Mt. Tabor neighborhood. Lounge area, dining area, hot tub, and chicken coop. Covered area is not installed yet. See below for finished design photo.

Outdoor Living in Mt. Tabor Backyard

These clients wanted to entertain and relax in their back yard

Matt and Nicole wanted all the classic elements for backyard outdoor living: outdoor kitchen, outdoor dining Area, and lounge area. They wanted to nix the lawn while also having open spaces for large groups to gather. They have beloved backyard chickens that need easy daily access, even in the winter. A small hot tub and a hammock were also must haves.

Mt Tabor Backyard Before Outdoor Living Landscape Design with muddy grass

Before: muddy lawn, few plants.

Designing for Outdoor Living on a City Lot

They wanted a lot of elements in a standard city lot. We needed to use every square inch wisely and have some overlapping functions. The first trick was the hot tub location. It needs to be close enough to electrical, away from basement egress windows and have some privacy. I could see that if we moved the gate, we could open up more space in the backyard and fit the hot tub into a cozy spot against the house. Fortunately, the fence needed an update anyway, so this solution was just right!

Backyard Access

The next design challenge was the lack of easy access. There is a gorgeous sun room on the back of the house but no access to the backyard. The only door to the backyard is from the basement. The primary way the family enters the backyard is the kitchen side door via the driveway. This was an important consideration for the entire design.

To make the garden to feel welcoming from all angles, we created sweeping curved lines for each of the beds. We chose crushed compacted rock for the paths. The paths needed to be easily accessible and dry all year long so that the family can collect eggs from either the basement door or driveway gate.

Hardscape Landscaping shows Flagstone, Crushed Rock Paths and Outdoor Kitchen

After: Believe it or not, this is the same angle as the “before” picture! The lawn is gone and the curved beds create a welcoming feeling from every angle.

Designing for Outdoor Living

Matt and Nicole wanted the outdoor living area to be able to accommodate a larger gathering. Therefore, I knew we would need to stack functions. Having the outdoor kitchen, dining table and lounge area together – similar to an open floor plan inside a house – allow all the functions to utilize the same open area. Friends can stand around the BBQ while someone is grilling. Or the family can easily bring out extra chairs whenever more guests arrive. They love the open feeling and flexibility of their new outdoor living space.

Hardscape Landscaping Materials

We used Bluestone (flagstone) for the dining patio surface and crushed rock for walkways and the lounge area.

The drainage was important for this project.  We chose crushed rock as the main hardscape material, which allows water to percolate through. Each disconnected downspout has either rock or water-tolerant plants to slow and sink the rain water as well. The dining area stands out with a higher end material – Variegated Lavender Bluestone. This flagstone is dry-set, (versus mortar set) which helps with drainage as well.

 

Outdoor kitchen, dining, hot tub and a lounging area fit into this Mt Tabor backyard
Lastly, I knew that the family would want to get to the hot tub without putting shoes on and gravel is not barefoot-friendly. This is overlooked more often than you might think! We made sure that the design included flagstone from the basement to the hot tub for easy, year round access.

Phase 2: Covered Dining and Landscape Lighting

Covered dining area completes Outdoor Living Landscape Design

Garden Installation by Sloan Martin. Dining and kitchen area cover was designed for construction and installed by a friend of the family.

Covered dining area completes Outdoor Living Landscape Design

Nicole and Matt worked with a friend to build the pergola.

In year 2, Nicole and Matt worked with a friend to build the pergola.

When you have a beautiful, brand new landscape, full of entertaining elements, lighting is a must! So, the homeowners added very simple string lights inside the new dining area. They also added a linear fire pit for night time ambiance. The backyard is now enjoyed after dark.

Design Review

“Thanks for all your help Carol and Alana.  We are so glad we hired you when we did.  You took all our wants and ideas to heart and the landscape design, which we love, is a true collaboration just as you say.  Thank you for helping us have our dream backyard.”

Are you ready to create a backyard for entertaining? Contact us today.

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Designer Places Studio Garage for Perfect Property Flow

My clients had a large property that had been a historic dairy.  They already had the fabulous old craftsman house that they had lovingly restored.  I was hired to create a landscape design.  They needed a detached garage for cars, extra parking and a studio for Hudson’s photography business.

Clients needed a garage studio placed for best use of property and curb appeal

Clients needed a garage studio placed for best use of property and curb appeal

They had a design for the studio/garage and thought they had the perfect placement.   I quickly realized the placement of the garage was all wrong as it would have the patio, outdoor dining and entertaining area looking directly at parked cars when they had guests.  After establishing my credibility, I told them I could make it so much better and that we needed to think about the property as a whole in order to place the garage to its best advantage. They were surprised and then grateful.  As we got into the design process, we discovered the right location for the garage meant changes to their original garage design.  It was the right thing to do.

New location alters the design of the garage

New location of the garage/studio.

 

No matter how much I love plants, landscape and garden design, design is all about how you move through the property…. and that includes cars. When I’m having dinner with my friends outside, I don’t want to look at parked cars. They had a large property but we needed clever use of the usable space.

 

My design: I turned the garage so that while on the back porch of the grand old house or down in the woodland patio, what we saw was the inviting studio entrance complete with its own small porch and softening summer interest plantings.  We did not see the garage doors.

Soft plantings soften studio porch entry.

Soft plantings soften studio porch

The garage was turned so the cars would enter on the 45° angle. This also created more room for lawn and plantings on their property.  I used screening plants to hide guest’s parked cars.  Driving into the property we saw the attractive facade of the garage with overhead arbor. Because the garage is angled, the doors are not the most powerful visual you see as you drive up.  This greatly enhances curb appeal.

When they were working with their architect, they didn’t know the questions to ask that might have led them to the same placement I selected. While they thought they were hiring me just to create the garden, they were very pleased that I took on the task of designing for the whole property.

We created wonderful plantings for the new woodland patio garden and foundation plantings for both the house and the garage. This is one of my happiest designs because I was able to make the property work so much better. 

Henry before garage studio

“The landscape design is perfect for the property. There was a lot more to placing the garage that we didn’t realize until Carol pointed it out.”

After Landscape Design in a Day

With the new placement of garage and studio, there is room for a fire pit patio, and a real patch of lawn. Photo by Hudson Henry

“The landscape design is perfect for the property. There was a lot more to placing the garage that we didn’t realize until Carol pointed it out.”