Contractors play a pivotal role in helping homeowners bring their outdoor living visions to life. Each month, we’ll offer a Contractor’s Corner post to share tips to help our contractor partners offer even more to homeowners and their landscapes.
When the outdoor living stars align the result is a beautiful outdoor space that brings together hardscapes, landscaping and happy homeowners.
That’s exactly what happened for this project in Overland Park, Kansas installed by Landworks, Inc.
A Blank Canvas
The existing property featured a worn deck off the main level of the house with a staircase leading down to a concrete slab patio off of the finished basement. Light landscaping surrounded the concrete patio but little was done with the rest of the backyard.
“We essentially started with a blank canvas,” said Jeff Welch, vice president of Landworks, Inc. “The homeowners were prepared to scrap the existing features of their outdoor space and start from scratch.”
Defining the Design
To start the design process, Welch and his team worked with the homeowners to determine their needs for their outdoor space and how it could be tailored to their lifestyle.
“The homeowners stressed their need for a functional outdoor living space,” Welch said. “They wanted a beautiful and relaxing place for family gatherings and social entertaining with friends.”
Welch and his team created a design plan that included a new main level deck from one of their decking partners. Introducing wood into a hardscape design can soften the look, increase design flexibility, and create opportunities to broaden the scope of a project.
“Combining multiple design elements and mediums is a rising trend in residential outdoor living design,” said Ken O’Neill, senior vice president of marketing for Belgard Hardscapes. “One example is the combination of decking and hardscapes. Whether working with composite or organic wood, the aesthetic combination of wood and stone together creates a warm and inviting look and helps homeowners solve a multi-level space dilemma.”
To tie the design together, Landworks added a mid-tier landing with an intimate seating area for two. This landing helped to bridge the gap between the wood deck off the main level and the paver patio at ground level. The wooden deck stairs led down to the landing and paver stairs led to the patio area.
In order to fulfill the homeowners’ need for a functional space for entertaining, additional seating was included through the use of retaining walls. The homeowners were also interested in adding a fire feature as a focal point in their patio and as a way to extend the outdoor season.
“Our clients were torn between the look of Belgard Mega-Lafitt and Mega-Bergerac pavers,” Welch said. “Mega-Lafitt has a natural-looking texture resembling the look of cut flagstone and Mega-Bergerac has a timeless, hand-cobbled appearance.”
The homeowners ultimately chose Mega-Lafitt pavers in the Dansville Biege and Cotswald Mist Blend for underfoot. To settle the debate, Mega-Bergerac pavers in Ashbury Haze were used in an accent border. Pairing well with the flooring selection, the homeowners chose Belair Wall.
Knowing that the homeowners wanted a fire feature in their outdoor space, Landworks recommended they look at the Belgard Elements Collection.
“The Belgard Elements Collection features pre-built modular hardscape elements that make creating an outdoor living space easier and more affordable than ever,” O’Neill said. “Elements are designed to coordinate with Belgard pavers and wall block so they can be seamlessly integrated into the space.”
The Nottingham fireplace they chose featured Belair Wall, the same wall block selected for the seating walls and stairs.
Integrating Hardscapes and Landscape
With a new outdoor living space on the horizon, the homeowners also wanted a landscape plan that would add interest to their backyard and provide privacy from neighbors in close quarters.
Welch and his team chose a variety of blue and green spruces, roses, grasses, and shrubs. Upright junipers also were planted for screening from the neighbors. A total of 14 trees and 20 shrubs now fill the previously landscape-lacking backyard.
With a new outdoor living space complete with a fireplace, seating areas and privacy from the neighbors, the homeowners could enjoy the backyard of their dreams.
Not only was the finished product a result of the outdoor living stars aligning, but it was also an award-winning design. The Mid-America Green Industry Council awarded Landworks a Distinction Award in the Residential Design/Build category for its annual Landscape Improvement Awards.
“This project really was the ideal scenario,” Welch said. “We had a great team, quality products and, best of all, happy homeowners.”