Today’s landscape design challenge has us revisiting a project in the Richmond suburb of Short Pump, VA. Like many of the projects done in the greater Richmond area, these clients had a large lot that was largely empty. This means a lot of usable space just waiting to be reimagined.
Introducing The Space
In the drone images below you can see the extent of the property. The vast majority is simply empty lawn, and there is very little living space that is practical, functional, or in line with our client’s aesthetic preferences. They were looking to reinvent their outdoor living space with a landscape design concept that skewed more modern, and made the best of their large property.
In the below image, you can see the small amount of the designed space the homeowners had when they approached Water and Earth for a landscape design concept. Off the back entrance to the home, there is a small deck. To the right, a small staircase leads to a flagstone walkway path that leads around to the fenced driveway.
The homeowners were not attached to these existing design elements and were eager to see a new look for the space. On their wishlist for their new backyard was a pool, covered living space, outdoor kitchen, and a full landscaping design that enhanced both the natural beauty and privacy of the yard. Keeping this in mind, we moved to the initial design phase of the project, and returned to the clients with two distinct design directions.
The first design concept, Concept A, is seen above. The old deck and pathway have been removed. In its place, the homeowners step out onto a new, smaller deck that has enough room for a small set of tables and chairs. On either side of the deck, there is space for new, lush landscaping that fully encapsulates the living space.
Stepping down from the deck, the homeowners move onto a large paver patio. The central feature of the space is the brand new pool. Large and rectangular, it has plenty of space for kids and adults to splash around.
To the right of the pool, a large pergola provides shade and relief from the summer sun. It covers the brand new fire pit and is finished with a large wooden feature wall. Behind this, the new kitchen and dining area is nestled into the corner of the paver patio.
The second design concept, Concept B, includes many of the same design elements from the first concept. However, the orientation and location of many design features has been changed.
Stepping into the space, the clients find themselves on the same deck, surrounded on each side by lush landscaping. As in the first design, they step down onto a custom paver patio. However, at this point things begin to be oriented differently. The pool has been moved, and now runs parallel to the length of the yard.
To the right of the pool is ample space for tanning chairs or loungers. Opposite is the pergola, which covers the kitchen, bar, and fire pit area. As in the first design, the dining area is adjacent. A paver pathway in the same material as the patio leads the homeowners around to the front of the home.
After reviewing both design directions, the homeowners preferred the orientation of the pool in Concept A. However, instead of orienting the remaining design elements around the pool, we decided to break the space up into two more distinct segments. Not only did this approach allow us to break up the space, but it made use of more of the square footage .
Above, you can see the pool oriented perpendicularly to the length of the yard. However, instead of being flanked by the pergola and fire pit, it is now free of additional design elements. This leaves a clear pool deck with plenty of space for furniture or lounge chairs.
In these renderings, the pergola, kitchen, and firepit have all been moved to a slightly raised patio off the back of the home. The change in elevation emphasizes a separation of space, while the consistency in material ties both areas together.
Directly off of the home, a large patio houses both the outdoor kitchen, as well as the fire pit and dining areas. Above, you can see a rendering of the fire pit and dining space. A steel structure creates an anchor place for string lighting above the fire pit and dining areas. At the rear of the rendering, a large privacy screen allows guests to gather without the prying eyes of neighbors.
On the other side of the patio, the new outdoor kitchen is rendered. Above the outdoor bar and grill, a custom pergola provides shade during the summer months. The alignment of the kitchen with the dining space and fire pit allows all guests to remain within each other’s eyeline, while retaining a separation of space.
To add color and soften the modern lines of the design, ample landscaping has been added throughout the space. Planters line the upper patio, while a flowering tree adds both shade and a burst of color. Separating the upper patio from the pool deck, a line of grasses ties the opposing staircases together.
Finishing touches and revisions made to the initial design concept include a new concrete stepper walkway leading toward the driveway. Landscaping and shrubbery act as camouflage for the home’s utility equipment.
At the end of the day, the homeowners were excited to see the full potential of their backyard come to life. Not only do the clients maintain a sizable amount of lawn area for kids and pets, but they gain a large living and entertainment space that has something for everyone.
At the end of the day, our goal is to unlock the full potential of a property, while maintaining the full integrity of the homeowner’s vision. A full review of the finished space will be posted upon completion of the project.