Our clients were renovating the exterior of their charming 1894 Victorian home situated on a corner lot, located in the historic district of Evanston. They wished to reclaim their private space, which was a long and narrow, sloped side yard with a worn, three-terraced patio. One had to step outside and walk around the house to get to it, making access difficult. They wanted a door built off the back side of the house, a deck and steps, but had been dissuaded that it would be too difficult an undertaking. They also wanted more privacy: their front porch faced a busy intersection, and families often walked across the front lawn to cut corners to nearby schools.

Challenges we met included design of the following elements in the private area: a large deck with branching stairs; a dining area; a lounging area; a fence that would create privacy without not visually confining the space; and a utility area to house two large air conditioner units, trash receptacles and recycling bins. Adherence to the strict guidelines of the city’s historic district included the use of permeable paving. During construction, careful measures were taken to protect the original siding materials, as they were irreplaceable.

Before and After: The private yard was largely unused as there was no door off the main floor to access it. Now, a large deck accommodates a grill and seating, and branching stairs lead to a dining area, lounging area and off to the right, utility area.

Before and After: The three-terraced patio was composed of oddly shaped limestone and concrete materials and was exposed. Now, Aberdeen slabs by Techo-Bloc create an elegant outdoor setting, and the rejuvenated side yard is enclosed with a cedar fence.

Before and After: The narrow backyard also lacked privacy, and the old asphalt driveway had a deep pit which had to be corrected. Now, a cedar privacy fence and a poured concrete edged with clay pavers update the parking area. A perennial bed in the parkway is also edged with clay pavers.

Before and After: The corner lot faces a busy intersection. Now, a low hedge of Peking Cotoneaster softly encloses the front yard. A Serbian Spruce also adds privacy.

The new front entrance has two brick mortared pillars and an Ashlar pattern, full range Bluestone walk. An updated paint palette on the house completed the exterior renovation, and our clients love their new outdoor setting which reclaimed their privacy and brings them pleasure.


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