The size of your property shouldn’t discourage you from creating a beautiful and functional backyard. Even small spaces can be transformed with the proper hardscaping design. Unfortunately, many homeowners believe that they need a significant amount of space to add hardscaping features. That just isn’t the case.
In a recent project in Asheville (near Beaver Lake) we made over a backyard with limited space, about 600 square feet, most of which was sloping ground, turning it into a space-saving backyard sanctuary for the homeowners. The home is part of a housing development near a local lake – a prime location for families who enjoy being outdoors. However, homes in this neighborhood tend to have small backyards. The one we worked on presented several challenges that we had to address.
What Were the Hardscaping Challenges of This Project?
Every project has challenges, no matter what the size of the area is. For this project, the biggest was the sloped section just inside the back fence. The significant slope meant that water would simply flow down the slope toward the back wall of the home when it rained in the area. We had to address this issue and find a way to divert the water so that the more useable, flat area of the yard wouldn’t flood during every rainstorm.
The other major challenge was, of course, was the small size of the yard. We had to create a design that would give the homeowners areas that would extend their living space. That meant taking advantage of the available space and adding features that had more than one use.
Other challenges included a limited amount of sun exposure in the yard due to the short distance between the home and the back fence and how to keep dirt and mud from the sloped area from coursing all over the yard when it rains.
Overcoming Challenges to Create an Instant Sanctuary
We installed several hardscaping features that addressed the challenges and made for a beautiful and useable backyard.
- Natural stone patio – First, we installed a natural stone patio using irregularly shaped stones to create a mosaic effect. The patio’s design included a channel at the edge that meets the sloped area’s bottom to act as a drain. The drain allows water to be diverted to both sides of the patio, where additional features keep it moving to areas where it can be used effectively.
- Retaining wall – Next, a 22″ retaining wall was installed where the patio and slope meet. The stone retaining wall is multipurpose, providing a way to keep dirt and mud from flooding the patio when it rains, as well as doubling as a seating area. Keeping the wall low makes it comfortable to sit on for people of all heights.
- Dry stream – To the left side of the backyard (looking from the back door toward the fence), we installed a dry stream that starts at the top of the yard, going down to meet the drain from the left side of the patio and ending in a small garden feature with plants. The dry stream is a focal point as well as functional irrigation for the garden.
- Appropriate plants – When we added plants to this project, we had to consider sun exposure and maintenance requirements. The homeowners are quite busy, so low maintenance was a goal. To that end, we mapped the sun exposure in the yard to ensure that the plants were placed in areas with the right amount of sun and that water was diverted to them when it rains.
- Proper water flow at the gate – On the right side of the yard, opposite the dry stream, we added stone steps from the patio to the gate. The area is created to make water flow around the entrance, which makes entering and exiting the yard easy, even when it has rained.
Yard Size Isn’t Limiting with Ambrose Landscapes
As you can see, at Ambrose Landscapes, we can work with the yard you have to create an outdoor living space that is multi-functional, pleasing to the eye, and low maintenance. We have designers that work with homeowners to create unique and attractive designs and a team of hardscapers and stoneworkers that bring those visions to life.
We create hardscaping designs with functionality in mind. We harness the natural attributes of existing landscapes, converting them into maintenance-saving features like retaining walls, patios, decks, walkways, and more. And we always approach projects as though we were working on our own backyards.