Thursday, February 16, 2012

Project Spotlight - Hidden Springs Residence

Project Spotlight


Hidden Springs Residence - Back Yard



This was one of the more interesting projects as the front and back yards were designed and installed in different years. Typically I like to design everything at once, and then the yard can be phase in over time. Our client wanted to tackle just the back yard when I meet them for the first time. The main goal for this Hidden Springs back yard remodel project was to add a large adult entertainment area for relaxing, add shade to the back yard (without screening the views of surrounding Landscape), add a small fire pit and have an area for a fire pit. The existing back yard consisted of lawn, foundation planting and a builder special concrete patio. We initially came up with 4 concept plans for the yard.
Phase I – Back Yard (2009)
Concept #1 – Key Points

• New raised deck to be level with the threshold, so the indoor and outdoor rooms flow together.

• Curved deck with lower curved patio

• Shade Structure over deck and patio

• Fire Pit in the corner of the back yard with a seatwall with good view of the surrounding wilderness

• Flagstone access path along side yard

• Large open lawn area

• Raised bed garden area along far side yard

• Small orchard in far side yard


Concept #2 – Key Points

• Keep existing concrete patio to save costs

• Add a vertical screen to add privacy to the existing patio

• Small Hammock area

• Raised beds in the near corner of the back yard

• A meandering path leading to a new patio with a free standing shade structure

• A secluded informal sitting area with large boulder benches and boulder outcroppings with fire pit

• Smaller lawn area with a grass path along the far side yard.




Concept #3 – Key Points

• Upper, raised patio to be level with the threshold so the indoor and outdoor rooms flow together

• Multi-level paver patio with upper terrace, ground plane patio and sunken fire pit patio

• Freestanding shade structure to add filtered shade to patio

• Small hammock area

• Open lawn area

• Raised bed garden next to gate to wilderness area




Concept #4 – Key Points

• keep existing concrete patio

• add raised beds close to back door for easy access

• meandering path to new patio with freestanding shade structure

• small fire pit patio with boulder slab benches

• small hammock area

After presenting the 4 concepts to our client, they gravitated towards concept #1, but they also like elements from the other concepts. The final concept was designed and approved

Final Concept– Key Points

• We used concept #1 as our base

• From Concept #2 we added the vertical screen fence to the upper deck to add privacy

• From Concept #4 we took the boulder slab benches of the fire pit and used them in the location of the fire pit in concept #1

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, composite deck, paver patio, shade structure, vertical screen fence, raised beds…..


• Planting Plan – to illustrate all plant material proposed for the project

Now that all the drawing was done, it was time to pick a Landscape Contractor and they picked Lavon Webb of Sterling Landscape.

The first step of construction was to remove the existing lawn and landscape. Sterling then started on the Arizona flagstone path for the side yard. The lower patio area was then prepped and the posts for the shade structure were installed. With the Lower paver patio and steps in, the Alumawood Shade structure with posts to match the residence was the next element to be installed. The shade structure was designed with a higher clearance to make sure it did not interfere with the view of the surrounding native landscape, but still added valuable shade to the outdoor living area.

The next main element to go in was the deck. Mike Howard with Boon LLC, was our Deck guy of choice and he was responsible for the deck, vertical screen fence and the raised beds. Deck framing was the first step. While Boon was framing up the Deck Sterling was installing the EZ Roll Gravel Pave System for the utility side yard area. This is a neat system that makes a gravel surface structurally sound for walking, pushing wheelbarrows…


After faming up the deck for the curves, Boon started installing the TimberTech Decking (A composite decking that has a more natural appearance). With all the curves of the deck, this was a time consuming task, but well worth it.

While Boon was finishing up the Deck, plants where being brought in to be placed and planted. The plants were then installed and new drip irrigation system was used to provide water to the plants.

With the plants and irrigation in and the deck almost complete, Boon started installing the frame for the vertical screen fence. This will be an open type fence that will add the sense of privacy, but still allow light in and not totally screen the view to the natural common area long the side yard.


The last elements to be installed were the Weedfabric and rock mulch, concrete mowstrip, new sod and the raised beds.








Hidden Springs Residence – Front Yard



With the back yard installed and the clients very happy, they decided to contact me next spring to tackle the front yard. The main goal for this Hidden Springs Front yard was to add more interest to the front yard and try to minimize the visual impact of the concrete driveway and the garage doors. We initially came up with 4 concept plans for the yard.
Phase I – Front Yard (2010)

Concept #1 – Key Points

• Remove the existing concrete landing, steps and walk. Add a new large raised Paver patio for enjoying a morning coffee and talking to passing neighbors

• New paver steps and curved entry walk to tie in with the curves of the back yard patio and deck

• A flagstone path that will tie in with the flagstone path from the back yard

• A vertical screen fence to add interest to the residence and to tie in with the screen fence from the back yard

• Bird bath boulder by the entry walk

• Small curved lawn area


Concept #2 – Key Points

• Keep existing concrete landing but add a new curved entry walk to tie in with the back yard.

• Add a curved multi level planting bed to add visual interest to the front

• A flagstone path to tie into the back yard path

• Fan trellis along the side yard to add visual interest

• Small arc lawn area



Concept #3 – Key Points

• Keep the existing concrete landing and walk to save costs

• Flagstone stepping stone to side yard path

• Small vertical arbor to add visual interest to the residence

• Free from lawn area with a planter bed to screen/ soften the driveway/garage

• Informal EZ Roll Gravel Pave system path on far side yard.



Concept #4 – Key Points

• keep existing concrete landing and walk

• add evergreen screen planting to soften the driveway and garage

• A raised stone edge to add definition to the planting areas


After presenting the 4 concepts to our client, they gravitated towards concept #1, but they also like elements from the other concepts. The final concept was designed and approved

Final Concept– Key Points

• We used concept #1 as our base

• From Concept #3 we added the one evergreen tree and screen planting to try and soften the garage and driveway and the EZ Roll Gravel Pave Path

• From Concept #4 we added the raised stone edge

• They also wanted to get rid of the concrete driveway, so we designed a paver driveway to make the entry walk and the driveway tie together.

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 landing, paver entry walk, vertical screen fence, bird bath boulder…..


• Planting Plan – to illustrate all plant material proposed for the project
Now that all the drawings were done, it was time to start construction. The clients were very happy with how the back yard went, so it was decided to keep the same team together, so Sterling and Boon were brought in to complete the front yard.

The first step was to remove the existing walk, driveway and landscaping. Pavers were added on top of the existing landing while a new wall with Cultured Stone to match the residence was installed to create the illusion that the landing was installed when the house was built. Using material that match the house, makes the landscape and Residence feel like they were designed and installed at the same time. This is very important to making the new addition fit in rather than feeling like an afterthought.

Pavers were used for the new landing, entry walk and driveway, thus tying all hardscape items together. Raised Sandstone edging was used to line the driveway and planter edge to keep the rock mulch in place. A Basalt Bird bath boulder was design in the annual/bulb bed by the entry walk to add visual interest.

A saw cut flagstone path was then installed to tie in the back yard path to the new landing. Bonn then installed a curved accent fence along the path to match the screen fence he did for the back yard (tying the front and back yard projects together).

Plants were then placed and installed with a new drip system to keep them watered. Rock mulch was then added on top of the new Weedfabric to match the back yard.





Here is a sneak peek at the project we will highlight in our Spring issue …..


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