Thanks for checking back in with me. We are currently working on a series of articles taking you inside my mind as a design a custom landscape. Here’s a quick summary of what we’ve learned so far…
Stage 1: Determined homeowner needs and vision for the project. In this example, we are actually working in my own back yard… literally. I took a series of digital pictures from several different angles. Finally I took detailed measurements while preparing a very rough sketch.
Stage 2: We determined the highlights and components of the project, analyzed the pictures and prepared a scale drawing of the work area. Drawing the work area to scale is important because it assures us that all of our components will be the right size as well as placed in the appropriate places.
Today, we discuss Stage 3! This is the most important step in the design process and illustrates my process for picking materials, finalizing all details and getting ready to create a finished drawing.
I’m going to start this stage by describing my exact thought process as I do a virtual tour of this project in my mind.
First, I want the area to be private and screened to my neighbors. The neighbor’s house is very nice and well maintained but is a summer rental. It’s important that we are not on display in our new outdoor living room, especially to strangers during the rental season. This project will feature 2 entrances, one that will be inviting to our guests as they approach our parking area and a second that will act as back door as it leads to our raised vegetable garden as well as the kids trampoline/gymnastics area.
As visitors drive into our driveway, the custom arbor will immediately catch the eye. This view will feature the arbor(highlighted at night with subtle uplights) and a 4′ high Privet hedge screening. Because of the limited view into this outdoor living room, guests curiosity will be peaked as the entrance will be extremely inviting. The combination of attractive plantings, seasonal colors, dark green surrounding privacy evergreens and partial views of the custom outdoor fireplace will be irresistible. Large, flat flag stone inlaid into the lawn will act as a door mat leading directly into the fireplace area. A flag stone patio will create a hard surface for adirondack chairs for direct fire front viewing. The addition of a bistro table will offer us the opportunity to enjoy a meal in our new outdoor living room. All seating will face the fireplace and be accented with thick, inviting cushions and pillows. After the entrance experience, the eye will immediately be drawn to a hammock area. The hammock area will separate the outdoor living room from our vegetable garden area. Construction materials will match the entrance arbor with flag stone underneath to provide footing for climbing in and out of hammock.
Below are sample photos for the fireplace, arbor and hammock and flag stone. I will add my own unique design elements but these pictures will provide a visual reference for what we are trying to accomplish.
This is an example of the arbor that I have in mind. This landscape is a little overgrown for what we have planned but this is an excellent example of how nature and basic carpentry can create an inviting entrance.
Quite a bit more extravagant than the Home Depot special, this outdoor fire place makes a substantial statement in being the focal point of the project. Our construction technique will consist of a frame kit with a stacked stone veneer. Ours will not be quite as tall but will feature a custom, personalized mantle piece.
This is where I will spend the majority of my Sundays this summer listening to the Phillies games dreaming of my next project. The construction details will match the entrance arbor. Since we are going for a rustic theme, wood surfaces will be left untreated so to weather.
This is my exact vision of the entrance and patio area. I love the rustic look and colors. The stone used on the fire place will match the color(s) of the flag stone. As illustrated here, the stone will be inset into the grass so that a lawn mower can easily roll over the stone so not create any gashes.
I hope the project is beginning to make sense. I can picture the entire finished area in my mind as if I were standing there right now. At this point, I am ready to sit down and put my entire work of art into a working drawing.
As you can see, I love extreme change in the landscape. I pride myself on being able to listen to a homeowners needs, picking up cues from the property and coming up with an efficient, professional plan. The majority of my customers pick up on my passion and usually entrust me by saying… “Just bring your vision to life”.
My design services range from rustic back yard living rooms to extreme outdoor kitchens and way beyond. As always, I am up to the minute on cutting edge hardscaping and pavers materials and practices, retaining walls, seating areas, state of the art irrigation, landscape lighting, custom planting and garden design, landscape lighting, annuals, perennials, water features, ponds and basically anything else you can imagine.
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If you think you are ready for an “Extreme Landscape Makeover”, it’s a great time to get started. Contact me in any of the following ways…
P.O. Box 1066
Cape May, NJ 08204
office phone 609-898-9136