It was evident from the start that the backyard patio and landscaping of this Wilmette Craftsman home needed an update. The existing hardscaping had limited functionality and no longer fit the needs of our clients, who have three teenagers. The landscaping had a lot of potential, but our clients hoped for a more elegant and contemporary look.
Whenever possible, we reuse materials, which reduces waste and can save the client money. We created a design that reused most of our client’s pavers and plants, and fulfilled the needs of their active family.
The design increased the patio size to accommodate a larger dining set and patio chairs, perfect for entertaining. Similar to their old patio, the new patio is elevated, which permitted the reuse of most of the existing gravel and sand base. Closer to the center of the backyard, the patio steps down to a new circular fire pit gathering area, constructed of bluestone slabs and the owner’s reused clay pavers.
Our clients enjoy container gardening and grilling, so we designed two built-in planters that also function as wing walls, and a grill surround using mortared limestone with bluestone coping. Conveniently located just steps from the back door, these elements flow well together and satisfy our client’s needs.
East of the patio, centered off the family room’s large bay window is a focal point: a large, ornate urn on a pedestal, enclosed by a circular clay paver and bluestone path which repeats the shape of the fire pit. Additional walks and stepstones connect the urn circle, patio/fire pit/grill area and an existing clay paver path running from the front yard to the garage.
Many of the existing plants were transplanted throughout the backyard to create a cohesive and complete look. Landscape lighting adds the final touch of elegance and a special touch for nighttime gatherings.
This project exemplifies how collaboration with clients creates the perfect end result. Whether tending the garden, grilling dinner or relaxing by the fire, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this updated backyard.