The main goal for this Boulder Creek back yard remodel project was to add a large adult entertainment area that includes an outdoor kitchen, outdoor dining area, an outdoor living room, fire pit, water feature and a large lawn area for the kids. The client also requested the front yard should tie in with the overall feeling of the backyard. The existing yard consisted of lawn, freeform planter beds, and a large concrete patio - but the client wanted to give the yard a more modern feeling. We initially came up with 4 concept plans for the yard.
• New concrete walk connections the driveway and front door.
• New rectangular concrete stepping stone with grass joints act as a new entry walk connecting the sidewalk and front door
• Linear plantings with 18” tall stone slabs to add a modern feel to the front yard
• Existing concrete patio to remain
• New “L” shaped outdoor kitchen set onto of existing patio
• Sunken, private patio off the master with fire and water feature
• Large raised bed garden
• Large outdoor chess se
• Raised patio with shade structure and vertical screens for privacy and additional shade
Click here for the animation of Concept Plan #1
Concept #2 – Key Points
• Keep existing concrete walk
• New circular lawn area with flowering privacy hedge for the front yard
• Add new entry walk to play off the radius of the circular lawn area
• Formalized plantings that play of the radius of the circular lawn area
• Keep existing concrete patio and add outdoor kitchen and solid overhead structure
• Add new sunken patio with outdoor fireplace
• Add large circular lawn area
• Add curved steel screen walls to play off the circular theme – to add interest and additional privacy
• Large raised bed that play off the lines of the circular lawn area
• Path to back garden area
Click here for the animation of Concept Plan #2
Concept #3 – Key Points
• Keep existing concrete walk and planter beds but add new plantings
• Add dwarf evergreen trees for a more woodsy look
• Demo existing concrete patio
• New multi level sunken patio – first level (18” below grade) includes outdoor kitchen and outdoor living room with linear gas fire pit. The lower level (36” below grade) includes the outdoor dining room with gabion water feature for Ore Containers.
• Linear gabion walls of various lengths and height to add structure, interest and privacy to the back yard.
• Screen plantings by the East and West fence lines add privacy from the neighbors.
Click here for the animation of Concept Plan #3
Concept #4 – Key Points
• Keep existing concrete walk
• Add rectangular concrete stepping stones for access from the sidewalk to the front door.
• Add modern plantings to play of the linear feeling of the front yard
• keep existing concrete patio – add outdoor grill, and sitting area
• Add a new sunken patio with gas fire pit, fountain, and shade structure for the dining area and small sitting area.
• Add rectangular steeping stones that were designed in the front to provide access to the back garden area
Click here for the animation of Concept Plan #4
After presenting the 4 concepts to our client, they gravitated toward a combination of concept #3 and #4, but they also like elements from the other concepts and wanted to include some new elements. The final concept was designed and approved
Final Plan – Key Points
• From Concept #4, keep the existing entry walk , but add The rectangular concrete stepping stones
• Formalized/linear plantings with straight/linear planting beds
• From Concept #3 the large sunken patio, but add a small fountain and Ipe Built in bench for the gas fire pit. To tie the fire pit bench and outdoor kitchen together, the kitchen will be wrapped in Ipe hardwood. Concept #3 had the outdoor dining area sunken an additional 18” below the rest of the sunken patio, the owner wanted to have the dining area at the same level as the rest of the sunken patio.
• From Concept #4 we used the rectangular concrete stepping stone for access to the back garden. These stepping stones also tie the front and back yards together.
• Instead of using the gabion walls from concept #3, Ipe accent fencing was designed in. The Ipe hardwood will tie in the Ipe built-in bench and the Ipe outdoor kitchen surround.
The client loved the final concept and we went on to our next step, construction documents.
• Materials Plan – to illustrate, note and detail all hardscape items like, paver patio, concrete stepping stones, Ipe accent fence, outdoor kitchen, fountain, Ipe bench, gas fire pit, walls and steps.
• Planting Plan – to illustrate all plant material proposed for the project
Now that all the drawing was done, it was time to solicit bids from 3 Landscape Contractors. The Owners received bids from Sterling Landscape, Lawn Co and The Nature Company. The owners interview and reviewed the bids from all 3 companies, it was a tough decision, but the owners decided to go with Sterling Landscape.
Because of budget purposes the owner decided to install the yard in phases. The first phase will be the back yard, while the front yard tackled at another time. The Ipe Accent fence was also removed from this phase.
The first step of construction was to remove the existing linden tree (sorry) and the lawn. Sterling then had to excavate the area for the sunken patio as well as the area for the footings for the walls. Gas lines need to be stubbed out for the outdoor kitchen as well as the gas fire pit.
A base was then prepped for the pavers and Basalite’s Italian Renaissance Permeable pavers were then installed. The Ipe Bench was then brought in. and installed.
The outdoor kitchen used Eldorado Stone’s Lightweight modular building blocks to form up the kitchen; it was then finished with a Granite counter top, Ipe Surround, and KitchenAid Grill, access doors, refrigerator and Utility drawers. The Concrete Stepping Stone slabs where then poured and the plants and mulch finished off the project. Landscape lighting was installed to make use of the area at later hours. This project was installed in spring of 2011 by Sterling Landscape
Here is a sneak peek at the project we will highlight in our winter issue …..