“Please make our deck and lower patio more pleasing so that we will want to use them and improve our overall curb appeal,” requested the Owners of this Slinger home. The house had some great assets to work with such as a tranquil rural setting, large backyard and quiet atmosphere. In contrast there were also some significant challenges such as large grade changes, no lower patio access from the deck, poor lighting for evening entertaining, unsightly septic tanks lids adjacent to the patio and undesirable lower patio deck posts in the middle of the patio. The design overcame the challenges and used the assets as inspiration.
The existing front entry sequence was quite unappealing, dominated by a concrete driveway and limited green space and a large Pine tree limiting visibility to the front door from the street. The first step was to remove the Pine tree then carefully saw cut and remove the existing concrete to provide opportunities for some dramatic foundation plantings to provide some relief from the expanse of pavement. Along the concrete edge a Brussels Block XL paver border course was incorporated to add flare and interest to the driveway. The planting beds feature low growing shrubs and perennials to ensure that visibility to the front door is not compromised. The result is a spectacular first impression.
The backyard deck and patio posed many interesting challenges. The primary challenge was to overcome a significant grade change and provide access from the upper deck to the patio below. The design successfully integrated a lannon park step staircase with landings that arced through the steep slope leading to the lower patio. To provide more usable space under the deck, two existing middle deck posts were removed and a larger beam was introduced to accommodate the increased load for the longer beam span. The existing lower patio was removed to permit the installation of a dramatic Brussels Block paver patio that luxuriously expands beyond the deck footprint above, allowing both sunny and shady seating areas. The improvements also included the removal of a failing timber retaining wall. To expand the usable patio space the timber wall was replaced with an arced segmental retaining wall that cut back into the slope allowing more sun to enter the lower patio.
The Owners essentially wanted the septic tank lids at the lower patio to go away. The patio was strategically designed to avoid the septic tank lids positioning them in the planting beds. The lids were then covered with aesthetically pleasing artificial stone covers that blend seamlessly into the remainder of the landscape. The plantings are massed for maximum impact and feature a variety of textures, colors, hues and forms to provide seasonal impact. The intent is to have something interesting occurring in the garden at all times of the year. The final touch included landscape lighting to accent the path and steps for safe pedestrian movement through the landscape, light washing on the retaining walls and strategic uplighting to accent interesting landscape architectural elements. Overall, the entire design for the front and back of this home exceeded the Owners expectations in design and delivery.