‘Before and After’ Landscape Renovation

These homeowners contacted Live Green because they were tired of having to squeeze into their outdoor screen porch space for entertaining, and with two teenage children, there just wasn’t enough room in their existing screen porch for everyone in the family plus friends. The front of the home was feeling dated and wasn’t very welcoming to visitors. They had the room to expand, but didn’t know how to use the space they had. The home had been built in the 1980’s and a lot of planning and thought had not been given to areas on the exterior of the home at that time or since then. Foot traffic going to the front and side doors (the everyday entrance the family used) was obstructed by overgrown plants and a narrow concrete walkway. Crumbling steps coming off the screen porch in the back of the house were unsafe to use. After living in the home for nearly 20 years and with the kid’s friends as well as their friends coming to visit regularly, both husband and wife were ready to bring the exterior up to date.

The front of the home required a major overhaul, starting with the removal of all the plant material, concrete walkway and a brick retaining wall along the driveway. The new design eliminated the need for a retaining wall and additional steps in the walkway. The new level entrance provided an inviting first impression for visitors. Plant material in the front was chosen to complement the architecture of the home with soft evergreens and subtle perennial color. The plant pallet had to be deer resistant while still providing year round interest.

The husband had seen natural stone walls and Pennsylvania bluestone used in an outdoor patio at his friend’s home and asked us to incorporate similar materials into his own design. The new back patio design draws people from the screen porch and into an outdoor living room. With its comfortable sofas and contemporary furniture that the wife selected, the space is inviting for users of all ages. Enveloping the bluestone patio, retaining walls double as built in bench seating and a wood burning fireplace forms the focal point. When the weather turns cool in the fall, the fireplace puts out a lot of heat and extends the timeframe when it is comfortable to sit outside on the patio. An outdoor kitchen negates the need for anyone to run back into the house for food or drinks because the stainless steel grill, refrigerator and cabinets keep everything close by. The walls, fireplace and kitchen were all built out of American granite quarried in upstate New York. The kitchen uses a light colored granite counter top to stay cool in the summer and provide room for food preparation and mixing drinks.

Both the front walkway and the back patio are built from dry laid Pennsylvania bluestone installed in a random pattern. The use of bluestone in both the front and back of the home helps to tie the spaces together and the colors in the bluestone compliment the red brick on the home in the front and back. The repetition of materials around the exterior fits well with the classic style of this home.

Low voltage lighting was incorporated into both the front and back. Pathway lanterns and in-ground up-lights highlight the front entry and landscape trees, while under cap lights in the sitting walls and outdoor kitchen give users the ability to comfortably navigate around the patio in the evening without having to turn on the home’s exterior flood lights.

After the remodel of the front entrance and the addition of a patio in the back of the house, the home is now inviting and allows all the family members to spend time together and with friends and guests. The fireplace creates a great gathering space and everyone is no longer confined to the screen porch when they are outside.

When we first met the homeowners, they had a wish list for their home’s exterior, but didn’t know how to assemble those individual items into a usable space. We were able to incorporate their list of wants into a design and finished product that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional for guests and hosts to enjoy the outdoors together.