The new homeowners of this beautiful home in Brookside’s Romanelli West neighborhood were eager to give their backyard a complete makeover. With the goal of transforming their backyard into a flowing and flexible entertainment space, the couple contacted Envision!
Planning, Demolition, Grading, and Patio Foundation Support
After much discussion and idea sharing between the homeowners and the Envision design team, a comprehensive plan for an all-new backyard landscape and hardscape installation was locked in. The project would include (among other features), an outdoor grill station perched upon a new, manufactured stone patio and elevated terrace – plus a winding side-yard walkway that would beautifully connect the front and back yards and extend the functional area of the new entertainment space.
First up was the demo of an oversized wood deck and an adjacent concrete patio slab. Removing the deck proved to be more of a challenge than expected as large concrete support footers were embedded in the ground below. Once all of the piers were excavated, the team quickly tackled the demo of the small concrete patio.
With the deck and patio removed, the Envision team had a clearer picture of the property’s elevation. Some ground slope issues were expected, but more surface prep work would be needed. The Envision crew went to work grading the surface to ensure there was just the right amount of slope to ensure adequate drainage away from the home – especially the home’s foundation. Plans called for the patio to extend out into the yard, transforming it into an elevated, curved terrace. Since the elevation now dropped to assist with drainage, a support wall was constructed to support the curved edge of the raised terrace – keeping the terrace level with the main patio. The area behind the support wall was backfilled with soil and rock to prepare for the soon-to-be-installed manufactured stone patio surface.
The perimeter of the backyard had been boxed in by an old chain link fence at the rear of the property and two different styles of wooden fences on either side of the yard. The Envision crew demoed the rear fence and one of the wood side fences, building a new wooden fence to run adjacent to the patio installation, along the side-yard walkway and then turn to extend across the back of the property. Tall plantings were used to add visual interest and disguise the remaining side fence.
A Winding New Patio with Elevated Terrace
Since the backyard space was not particularly large and both landscape and hardscape elements were desired within the made-over space, Envision worked with the homeowners to create a plan that would visually meld the hard and soft-scapes together. The idea of using winding curves to add visual interest to the project was liked by all. The added curves would mean more cuts and fewer standard dimensions, but all believed the end result would be striking.
Because of the variety of shapes, colors, and textures available and also for long-term durability, Belgard manufactured stone was selected for all of the hardscape elements. This included the patio, walkways, terrace, outdoor grilling station, food prep, and bar seating area.
The patio construction began with laying a weed-block material over the recently graded soil. Then a base layer of crushed gravel was added, compacted, and checked for level – with a slight slant to assist in rainwater egress.
For visual interest, a crisscross pattern of various-sized square and rectangle Scandina Gray Belgard Dimensions™ pavers was laid creating a modern interlocking visual pattern all bordered with Dimensions™ Accent Pavers in the color “Midnight” – a darker and contrasting hue. Envision ensured the patio had a slight grade to direct rainwater toward the back of the property to prevent rainwater from pooling on the new patio or near the home’s foundation.
To provide access to the patio from the home, the Envision team built wide, wrap-around stairs, accommodating the difference in height between the home’s sliding glass doors and the patio. The stairs were constructed from high-durability, weather-resistant composite decking – meaning no warping, shrinking, or splintering. And, each plank is fitted and installed with hidden fasteners, so the homeowners will have no worries of nails popping – even after years of exposure to hot and cold weather
Manufactured Stone Grilling Station, Food Prep, and Bar Island
As a stunning centerpiece for the new outdoor living area, Envision built a textured stone cooking island – also utilizing Belgard manufactured stone products – complete with a built-in propane barbecue grill and hardware from Blaze Grills. This patio centerpiece also has ample surface area for food preparation and serves as a bar-height conversation hub for cookouts and social gatherings with family and friends.
Low-Maintenance Landscaping and Drip Irrigation System
For the landscaped or “green” areas of the new outdoor space, it was important to the homeowners that minimal upkeep would be required – and to have a design that was as fresh and contemporary as the hardscape installation. The landscape experts at Envision came up with a design that included a wide array of plant selections – including Green Giants, Green Mountain Boxwoods, and Barberry Shrubs – providing a variety of textures, and year-round color. The selections nicely complement the modern outdoor space, while also leaving ample room to feature the homeowners’ collection of outdoor sculptures. To keep the landscaped zones looking crisp and pristine, the crew selected both Buffalo River Rock and fine double-ground mulch in Java Brown.
Long before any planting began, an underground automated drip irrigation system was added to keep the new shrubs, bushes, and other plantings looking their best. Proper irrigation is crucial when it comes to protecting any landscape investment, and freshly transplanted plantings can be especially fragile. Best of all, the automated system requires minimal upkeep – and eliminates the need to drag hoses about the backyard living space.
Outdoor Lighting – for Beauty and Safety
The Envision team’s final element of the new installation – one that would pull the whole project together well into the night – was an outdoor lighting system from Pro-Trade! This professional-grade outdoor lighting was used to accent the various plantings, allow easy navigation of paths and walkways, and would also add a spectacular after-dusk ambiance to the backyard makeover – allowing the homeowners to fully enjoy their new entertainment space day – or night!
Working With Envision
Some comments from the homeowners about hiring Envision for their backyard makeover:
“Working with Envision was great! When coming up with plans for the space, we thought they brought us fantastic ideas that really fit what we were looking for. And anytime a challenge popped up, like when we realized the yard had more of an incline than we expected, they would always find the perfect solution!
Communication with the team was excellent and the whole crew was so polite. They are such a hard-working group and we are so pleased with our new outdoor space!”