Designing for an outdoor living space that already has some hardscape features present doesn’t have to involve getting rid of those existing structures. Rather, the new design should enhance the current elements by using complementary materials and consistent design features.
In a recent backyard hardscaping project in southwest Asheville, we had the opportunity to upgrade a large backyard with some existing hardscapes to create a more beautiful and functional outdoor area for a young family. The home already had a deck, cement walkways, and a brick walled rose garden to work around. Most of the yard was grass, which got muddy from poor drainage due to a downspout that poured water right at the grass entrance to the back door, making it nearly impossible to keep the floors inside the house free of dirt and mud tracked in by kids and dogs. That wasn’t the only challenge we had to overcome; there were multiple.
What Were This Project’s Hardscaping Challenges?
This backyard presented some challenges that required creative thinking and designing. There was a wooden deck already in place that the homeowner wanted to keep. It was essentially rectangular but had the corners cut off to create more of a hexagonal shape.
The house also had existing cement walkways that ran along the side of the house a few feet out, toward the deck. Next to the house was a grass area directly under the eaves of the roof that would collect water when it rained.
The backyard had a beautiful lawn that we had to be mindful of as we worked on the installation. It’s always our goal to protect existing vegetation that the homeowner wishes to keep, so we didn’t want to damage or destroy the grass by trampling all over it. We ended up removing the grass in squares, keeping it fresh for 2 weeks, and placing it back over any disturbed ground. This gave the effect of the new stonework looking immediately established. The owners called it a “Happy surprise.”
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of this project was the hot tub pad. At the time of this project, the homeowner had plans to install, but then one day remove the hot tub, leaving exposed concrete and perhaps a spot that traps water. So, we knew we needed to do something to make it functional for both now and the future.
Working with Existing Design to Overcome Challenges
Several hardscaping features later, and we had a beautiful outdoor living space with a consistent design and usefulness. Here’s what we did:
- Installed natural stone walkways – We first installed a walkway that runs along the side of the house to separate the lawn from the planter area along the wall of the home. We used colorful stone in a mosaic pattern to create a path from the back door to the parking area on the side of the house. Natural stone was also used to upgrade the existing cement areas around the back door.
- Funneled downspout into a dry stream – To take care of the downspout problem, we created a dry stream along the walkway that the downspout could empty into. The dry stream carries water away from the rear entrance, and waters plants in the area between the walkway and the wall of the house before draining under the walkway.
- Used a variety of natural stone for dry stream – The dry stream had to look good as well as functional. It also had to be safe to walk on for people and dogs. To accomplish that, we used stones of various types and sizes to make it flat on the surface, but with a large capacity underneath to channel the water.
- Installed pop-up emitters – Pop-up emitters are great for grassy lawns. The water that hits the roof and travels through the downspout and dry stream is channeled to supply the emitters and water the grass.
- Upgraded hot tub pad with natural stone – The homeowner decided to allow us to lay natural stone for the hot tub pad so that it matched the walkways and would match whenever the hot tub was removed or moved. To maintain consistency, we shaped all the patio and walkway edges to match the cut-off angles of the deck corners. We began the project with an owner’s photo from google earth, so we wanted it to look contiguous from above.
Now, the backyard has form and function. The walkways are attractive and durable, the dry stream is useful in channeling water and safe to walk next to, and the roof takes care of watering the lawn.
Create Your Dream Backyard with Ambrose Landscapes
When you hire Ambrose Landscapes to design and install backyard hardscapes, we are able to add functionality, beauty, and practicality to your existing outdoor living space. Our designers are creative and resourceful, with unique ideas for the look and function of your backyard. Once the design is complete, our team of hardscapers and stoneworkers will make that vision a reality. Whatever your ideal space looks like, we can help you achieve it.
At Ambrose Landscapes, we are committed to our clients and providing them with the hardscaping features they want. We focus on enhancing the existing outdoor components to create new, purposeful features like patios, walkways, dry streams, retaining walls, and more. We have decades of landscaping and hardscaping experience, and our highly trained experts are available to design and produce your dream backyard, just as we did in Asheville.