Elements of Change
The need for change is only natural. When we have grown tired of winter’s white, spring comes along and re-decorates our world. Just as nature changes the seasons, people makeover their wardrobes, their hairstyle and their homes. Even the landscape needs a renovation at some point.
There are many reasons a landscape can need a change. Materials age and styles become outdated. As a family grows, their needs evolve. They may find they want more space for play. Birthdays and holiday parties may require additional areas for entertaining. All of these can be addressed in a renovation.
Renovations are unique because there are existing elements to deal with. Small trees, shrubs and flowers can be transplanted, while larger ones may need to be removed or remain in the current location. Pruning can be used to make them more suitable and attractive for the changing landscape. An existing deck, patio or walkway faces the same alternatives. Material that is not appropriate to the new design may require demolition and disposal or reuse.
While new homeowners frequently find themselves facing limited resources, those preparing for a back yard makeover often have more equity to create their dream yard. So many options for customizing outdoor living spaces are on the market that it is often overwhelming. Construction materials are available to compliment a variety of styles. Plants are used to create privacy, shade and multi-season interest. Amenities for cooking, relaxing and entertaining can turn the outdoors into an extension of the home, while accessories allow personalization of the space. Choosing a qualified company to renovate the landscape makes the process enjoyable and ensures professional results.
The first step when considering a backyard makeover is to choose a theme. Gathering photos, articles and product advertisements is a great way to get started. Information about the family, including the age, activities and desire of each member is useful for determining the size of the space required and what functional elements should be included. A landscape designer can use this data to understand personal preferences for materials, style and needs to develop a conceptual design.
The Hoyt family faced many of these challenges when they decided it was time for a change. The existing deck was useful, but the paver patio was ordinary and uninteresting. They wanted an outdoor living area that would convert the transitional space between the driveway, deck and pool into a useful and beautiful environment. Their wish list included an outdoor kitchen, spa, and fireplace. Since they disliked the effect of the man made paving products, natural stone was the obvious material choice. The desire for such a natural setting also made it an ideal location for a water garden.
Keith Frederick, of Environmental Landscape Associates, worked with the Hoyts to create a backyard paradise with all the elements. A concept plan was used as a guide for the construction. On such a creative project an open design allows the project to evolve as the landscape takes shape, giving the homeowner greater creative and financial flexibility. The result was a series of outdoor rooms that added three spaces to where there was only one. Fire, water and earth formed a theme used to transform the landscape.
The element of earth has a strong presence in the form of stone. They chose to use wet-laid Travertine for the patio because of the durable surface and lower maintenance requirements. Flat boulder steps introduce a different texture, while round boulders were the appropriate choice for the water garden. Granite was selected for the outdoor kitchen because of its beauty and strength while natural stone veneer adorns the fireplace and piers. Though many different types of stone were used for this project, a consistent color was selected to maintain the theme and tie all of the materials together.
Fire is the element of warmth. A wood burning fireplace is used to extend the seasons which the outdoor rooms can be enjoyed. Fire not only crackles on the hearth, but also grills a delicious meal in the kitchen. The extensive outdoor kitchen includes a grill, side burners, smoker, wok burner, warming drawer, fridge, ice maker, sink and storage. Though fire is a hard working element of the landscape, water creates the means for relaxation. A stream connects the upper and lower ponds of the water garden. It cascades behind the spa where the sound of falling water compliments the relaxing environment.
The Hoyts are thrilled with the renovation. Each room now has its own function and style based on the elements. Just as a mighty river carved the Grand Canyon, water changes the landscape. Even fire opens opportunities for new growth. Water, fire and earth, these are the elements of change.