Case Study: From Mossy to Marvelous

Our clients wanted to reclaim the backyard of their 1928 Tudor Revival home to create a place to relax, enough to entertain large groups from 12 to 30.
The backyard was large and promising but had its challenges. Surrounding mature shade trees created deep shade conditions that turned the surface of the existing concrete paver patio to a thick carpet of moss, a surface that can be very slippery. The existing patio, composed of worn concrete pavers, had an amorphous, wavy shape which did not accentuate the architecture of the house, and could only accommodate a four-person table and a few chairs. Due to the lack of sunlight, grass and many of the existing plantings were not flourishing, looking thin and scraggly.

A more contemporary space that would not overwhelm the historic character of the home was planned. One large shade tree and two ornamental trees were removed, and the remaining canopy of trees was pruned selectively to allow more sunlight into the backyard, to allow grass and a wider variety of plants to grow, yet offer cooling shade on hot summer days. Ashlar Pattern, Full Range Bluestone was selected to pave the living and dining spaces.

The backyard can be accessed from the driveway, past a centered cedar gate flanked by a hedge of large Green Mountain Boxwood. The larger, rectilinear patio easily accommodates a large, modular conversation set and a 12-person dining set.

The dining area is defined with a custom color fiberglass pergola attached to the garage. The paint color of the pergola matches the brown trim of the home. Bricks in the pergola pillar columns were selected to match the house. Under the pergola, a long, custom buffet with teak cabinetry is built with the same bricks. The storage cabinets in the buffet accommodate dishes, utensils and grilling supplies.

Our clients prefer grilling with charcoal, not gas, so a double Weber Copper grill surround sits at the end of the dining area. The pergola pillars, buffet and grill surround are finished with bluestone countertops and copings to complement the bluestone in the patio.

Electrical work was done to provide lighting to the dining area, where three lanterns hang over the 12-person dining table set. The light switch is concealed on the side of the buffet. Low-voltage LED path lights and up lights were also added in various points of the backyard to beautify the space in the evening.

A pair of Bloodgood Japanese Maple and a pair of flowering dogwood anchor both living and dining areas. As these trees mature, they will softly enclose the space with their texture and seasonal color. The extensive hardscaping is softened by a curved planting bed with globe form boxwoods, flowering perennials, and groundcover. Further out, an expanse of lawn thrives, and the perimeter of the fenced backyard is also softened with shade-tolerant evergreens and several upright hornbeams. What was once dark and mossy is now marvelous, a welcoming private outdoor setting that is perfect for relaxation and entertaining.

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