During our initial viewing of this property, it became apparent that this property needed a better flow from the driveway and walkways around the house to maximize the limited available space outside. As the home was built in 1913, we wanted to create a visually pleasing outdoor area while not appearing too modern and out of character with this heritage home.
Taking into consideration the budget and needs, we came up with a three-year plan that touched on all aspects and desires. Namely, keeping the property in a livable state while construction was carried out slowly to help our client spread out the costs over a longer period of time.
First, we checked the drains. Having a qualified company conduct an on-site visit and perform a full camera scope inspection of the sewer and storm drains is an important step. When conducting major landscaping alterations, homeowners should be sure to check and repair any major problems with drainage before spending time and money on landscaping.
Next, we prepped the new pathways and cleared out the existing overgrown gardens to create a smooth, natural flow off the street and driveway and into the yard.
The front door was located at the side of the house and had a small deck and staircase that was becoming a safety hazard. We designed a new deck and decided to run large posts as supports for the deck framing and railings. This made the deck and railing solid and safe. We did the same to the deck off the front of the house to match designs.
We eventually picked out the colors to paint the exterior of the home the following summer and painted the decks after the wood had seasoned. All screw holes and imperfections were filled and sanded to give the boards a solid hardwood look, then a high-quality primer and 2 coats of paint were applied. We now work with or refer clients to contractors on the construction portion of our landscaping projects.
We installed an interlocking brick pathway where, again, the pattern and colors were carefully selected to match the house. Conduit tubes were laid underneath the pathways for lighting and sprinklers which were installed later on. A good solid base of compactable road gravel was added, leveled, and compacted. We added a thin layer of washed sand and screeded out the pathways. Hard plastic edging was hammered in using galvanized spikes. Care was taken to round out the curves and get everything looking great. Once the whole pathway was in, we swept in Polymeric Sand—a product that fills all the cracks in between the bricks and hardens to prevents weed growth when installed correctly.
We then prepped the house for the fall and winter season, doing some exterior waterproofing, gutter repairs and cleaning, and minor roof repairs.
Next, we installed a sunken garden to hold excess rainwater and transplanted some of the existing plants to better locations.
We also installed a slate pathway and patio (and used a good layer of road base before cutting/laying the slate as always). Each piece of slate was hand-selected and trimmed to create a wonderful flow with equal gaps between pieces. Once the patio slate was all cut and placed, we made a mixture of sand and cement and created a solid base for each piece. Before progressing to the next step, we carefully lifted the newly laid pieces and applied a layer of compo (a cement and water-based mix provide exceptional adhesion) to both the underside of the rock and the base cement. After allowing the patio to ‘cure’ we then added a special draining type of soil and planted creeping thymes and ground covers to fill in the gaps over time.
For finishing touches, we found custom-made Adirondack chairs and additional unique plants found from a variety of local nurseries. Plants included New Zealand flax, echinacea, tropical fuchsias, grasses, and a eucalyptus tree.« back to projects