Project Type: Residential

Project Description

In 2019, a local business owner purchased this exclusive home from a well-known Baltimore athlete. The outdoor appearance of the home had been neglected, and the new owner had a vision to enhance the exterior of the home and showcase the property. They hired Live Green to design and construct a grand entrance from the street to the front doors of the house. To do this, we demolished existing trees, landscapes, and hardscapes, which created new space for a formal entry that matches the scale and elegance of the home.

The design incorporates a magnificent staircase built from red brick and natural bluestone, accented by a granite cobblestone border around the upper and lower terraces. Brick pillars with carriage lights accent the walls and steps, while showcasing the home’s entrance, both day and night. Hidden drainage systems under the bluestone capture and manage stormwater runoff without altering the appearance of the terraces. Landscape elements, including a variety of boxwoods, accent the brick walls and add to the classic elegance of this Greenspring Valley property. Live Green is currently working on Phase 2 of the project: a backyard oasis to include outdoor entertaining space for the homeowners and guests, year-round.

Project Description

These clients had a vision of turning their property into an Italian Villa Style Residence, but the current landscape wasn’t complementing the style of the beautiful home to achieve that.  Live Green worked closely with the clients to create a landscape design that included a grand front entrance, an expanded governor’s driveway for easy turn-around access, an improved parking area, a chimney fireplace covered by a natural log wood pergola, and an abundance of plant material to complement it all. The home itself was already meeting the qualifications for Italian Villa Style with its unique architecture, stucco coating, and natural stone work.  By utilizing the right stone materials, plant material, and design style, we were able to give them exactly what they were looking for.

To accommodate the design, Live Green removed the existing asphalt driveway, giving them space for a long, grand entrance driveway to replace it. Western Maryland Stone curbing runs along the entire driveway, setting the boundary and giving an aesthetic look.  Rows of Arborvitae Trees line the driveway as well, providing privacy screening and dimension.  The driveway leads into an 1,850 square foot parking court of Turkish Travertine pavers surrounded by red brick border. In the side yard, we have created a rose garden with a custom chimney-style fireplace with plenty of storage for firewood.  We constructed a pergola from harvested tree logs to provide a rustic feel.  Climbing Roses have been planting around the perimeter of the pergola, and are currently being trained to grow over the pergola.  A stacked natural stone wall is retaining the grade change where the rose garden sits.  To top it all off, we installed roughly one acre of sod to give the client a brand new, healthy lawn.

Project Description

Customer needed additional off-street parking on a very busy road.

Parking was increased by almost 400 sf with Keystone retaining wall and a reinforced concrete pad.

Project Description

From 90 year old brick that was failing to an elegant flagstone entrance walk.

Project Description

Never lose sight of where you are headed with a custom designed compass rose on your patio or driveway.

Project Description

The owners contacted Live Green for this project when they began remodeling and expanding off the rear of their home. Going into the project, the owners knew they wanted an outdoor space with an organic layout, minimizing straight lines and angles in the design of the space. Desires for the space included a wood burning fireplace, outdoor kitchen with bar height countertop and overhead structure. All of these elements were incorporated into the design, tied together by the dry laid bluestone patio and Western Maryland stone veneer on all vertical surfaces.

Having three young children, it was important that the patio flowed easily into the large, flat lawn which was heavily utilized for sports and activities. The door leading from the patio stairs comes from the kitchen, allowing the parents to watch their children whether on the patio or inside the house. The door exits onto a curved landing which leads down a series of steps to the main patio space. Providing enough open space for a large dining table, as well as seating around the fireplace and kitchen allows the clients to entertain large groups, without guests being feeling crowded.

The fireplace was designed as a lense shape allowing the curves, both front and rear, to seamlessly follow the outline of the patio and circular fireplace sitting area. Radial bench walls extend from either side of the fireplace, providing both additional seating above and firewood storage below. The curves of the bench wall flow into the step which transitions between the upper and lower patio. Low voltage lighting was installed in the step risers as well as below the caps of the bench walls.

With outdoor entertaining and cooking a high priority for this family, a horse shoe shape kitchen was designed to provide maximum counter space for both the cook and guests sitting or standing at the bar. The counter top was designed to incorporate  preparation height area on the inside for the chef and bar height around the exterior. Electrical outlets, as well as a natural gas grill, side burner and stainless steel under counter refrigerator give the clients the flexibility they need in the kitchen, whether they are cooking for their family of 5 or a party of 50. Directly adjacent to the kitchen area is a synthetic putting green, installed to allow the husband to work on his golf game while grilling. The green also provides entertainment for the children when the family is enjoying the space.

Planting beds filled with colorful perennials, flowering shrubs and shade trees provide year round interest, while helping to soften and separate the patio from the surrounding lawn. A Western Red Cedar pergola, complete with outdoor ceiling fan covers the kitchen area and provides respite from the sun in the afternoon. The rafters of the pergola were purposely oriented to provide maximum shade during summer afternoons  when the sun would otherwise scorch the space.

 

Working to construct a lense shaped fireplace was a challenge the contractor had never been faced with before. The firebox was constructed in a standard trapezoid layout, but both exterior walls, as well as the top of the structure followed a curve. In order to span the firebox opening with the stone veneer, a 6 foot long steel lintel was notched every few inches on the horizontal side. Notching the steel allowed the piece of otherwise straight angle iron to be bent into a curve to follow the shape of the lense. Bending the lintel into the proper shape required a template and a series of heating and cooling procedures. This allowed the steel to become malleable without compromising the structural integrity of the metal or its ability to support the stone which sat upon it.

The bluestone patio was dry laid on a compacted gravel base and stone dust setting bed, however all vertical structures required concrete frost footings to be poured. These footings were laid out, excavated and poured before the stone base could be installed for the patio. Block foundations were constructed at the same time the patio was being installed; with two crews working side by side, one completing vertical stone work while the other laying the bluestone patio. Natural gas lines were connected to the house gas supply and installed below the patio surface to eliminate the need for propane tank storage under the grill.

In order to disguise the septic tank lid in the backyard, planting beds were designed around the concrete cover and a variety of plants including Dianthus, Gaillardia, Coreposis, and Rosa were installed to give maximum color and interest during the warm months as well as reduce the visibility of the tank lid.

Working with a combination of concave and convex curves on the fireplace, bench walls, and stairs pushed the landscape contractor to develop and create materials to fit their needs on site. Straight lines had to be cut, bent, pushed and pulled in order to provide the client with the open yet intimate space they desired to host friends and family. The setting and its inviting shapes allows guests to enjoy every inch of the patio without ever feeling like they are being left in a corner.

Project Description

This special client reached out to us because their backyard consisted of a large slope that was unusable, and they wanted to create a space for outdoor entertaining and living. Both the husband and wife worked in high stress jobs and they wanted to be able to come home and unwind after work, along with enjoying time with their children and grandchildren when they came to visit.

Their requirements were that they wanted covered space so they could enjoy the area rain or shine, they wanted a wood burning fireplace, they wanted storage for patio furniture and accessories, as well as a grill. Due to the distance from the house to the patio, there needed to be kitchen storage and refrigeration in the grill area as well. Due to the proximity of the woods and trees behind the house, the client wanted to feel like they were sitting among the trees, while still having creature comforts like lights, refrigeration and a gas grill.

The existing site consisted of a very steep hill which started immediately after the existing deck and patio ended. Access was very limited as well because the property line was only 10’ from the side of the house, and all materials and equipment had to be moved through that 10’ wide corridor, which was also on a hill. The homeowner hired a tree company to remove several large trees prior to the project beginning, however the tree company did not remove the stumps. We had to bring in an mini excavator along with a team of laborers to remove the 30” DBH tree stump.  Before the stump could be removed, the first tier of a retaining wall had to be built downhill of the stump to provide a workspace that was level enough to safely operate equipment which was used to remove the stump.

The design had to incorporate a retaining wall in order to create a level pad for the cabana and patio space. After that first wall was built and the stump was removed, concrete footers could be excavated and poured for the fireplace, bluestone patios and cabana structure. The order of operations was critical to the success of this project because each piece hinged on the accuracy and stability of the piece before it. If the retaining wall wasn’t correct, the concrete footers and slab would be off. If the footers were off, the fireplace would be askew, which would then impact the cabana roof. Every step had to be carefully laid out and triple checked in the field for accuracy before the team could move on.

The limited access for equipment (and humans) meant that the pace of work was slowed down significantly. Only one piece of equipment could be brought in at a time, and due to property line constraints, the size of that equipment was reduced as well. The project was completed over the summer months, so the weather was helpful (it was not a rainy year) but even with mother nature on our side, it took a dedicated team of employees nearly 16 weeks to complete the project. In order to create privacy and screening for the new backyard, mature evergreen trees were brought in and planted on both sides of the property to block the views of neighbors. These trees had to be dug by the nursery with reduced size root balls because of the limited size of the equipment that could access the site. They had to be root pruned and hardened off by the nursery for an extended period of time before being brought to the site. This meant extra care and attention had to be paid to the planting and staking of these trees to ensure their success. The project was completed in 2016 and as of 2019, all 12 evergreen trees are thriving in their new home.

This customer has come back to us 3 years after the project was completed to thank us for creating a “backyard sanctuary” as they call it. The patio and cabana space is used on an almost daily basis, and its their grandchildren’s favorite spot on the whole property when they come and visit.

The fireplace has a mantle that was created by salvaging a hand hewn hickory beam from the landscape contractor’s family farm in northern Maryland. This beam became a great conversation piece during the construction and installation, and it has created a special bond between contractor and client. The client loves to tell guests the story of how the contractor brought this wood beam from his own family’s barn and turned it into a special accent for a beautiful project that brings friends and families together around the fireplace.

Project Description

The original drystack wall was about 50+ yrs old or considerably older by some accounts.

In the Mid 1920’s, this property used to be a Hotel or Bed and Breakfast by the local country club.

The old drystack wall was falling down and was in obvious disrepair.

It was obliviously a safety hazard that needed to be addressed!

All of the material used for this wall came from what was left of the original wall.   Previous contractors had added and added to the wall, without using proper building techniques.

We installed a proper base and proper drainage and our stone masons where able to create a wall that should stand for the next 100 years!

 

 

Project Description

When this client first contacted the contractor, they knew their existing outdoor living area was not serving the needs of their family or guests when trying to entertain during Baltimore Ravens football games. Several needs were outlined from the start of the project; room for outdoor dining and cooking, cover from rain and most importantly, a space to enjoy watching the Ravens while still being outdoors. The layout of the house helped to dictate traffic flow into and out of the new outdoor space. Stairs were constructed off the existing deck down to the new patio, while the main access into the space was from two entry doors on the rear of the home. The gazebo and patio area were designed to complement the architecture of the house, giving the house and outdoor area a cohesive style and feel. The support columns on the gazebo were custom fabricated to match the home. The fireplace and sitting wall brick were color matched to blend seamlessly with the home. Brick and bluestone bench walls flank either side of the fireplace and the upper patio, creating an intimate gathering place for guests. Low voltage lighting in the bench walls and steps provide safety and visual interest and is controlled automatically through a photocell. Electric and digital HD television and sound comes from the house and can be controlled in the gazebo.
The architect who designed the home was brought in as a consultant during the design of the project to help ensure that the feel of the space, especually the gazebo, would blend with the home itself.
The outdoor kitchen provides room for grilling, utensil storage and a refrigerator so that food and drinks can be prepared without missing one minute of the game being shown on the 55” television, recessed into the wall of the gazebo. The wood burning fireplace allows the homeowners and their guests to enjoy the space well into playoff season, even when the snow is falling, as they did this past fall. The fireplace mantle was created using a salvaged floor joist from a 200 year old building in the area. Each aspect of this outdoor living and entertaining space was designed and built to provide functional room for the client to entertain while maintaining the highest level of quality and detail. From the boulder super stepper which forms the landing out of the house, to the coffered bead board ceiling in the gazebo to the herringbone brick fire box in the fireplace, the contractor worked to provide the highest quality finished product.

Project Description

When the client and contractor first began working together, this project had been discussed, designed, re-designed and terminated multiple times by the homeowner and other contractors and designers. The client had a vision of how they wanted their property to look, but were unable to bring their vision to fruition. The contractor’s in-house designers developed a master plan which included createing a motor court, defined by a change in paving materials from asphalt to clay paver brick and anchored by the brick wall and arch, inspired by the architecrure at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. This arch defines the entry into the courtyard where the homeowner wanted a simplified Eurpoean style garden, complete with pea gravel pathways, manicured hedges and a strong axis to draw you through the space. The view through the courtyard is terminated by a low stone wall, behind which sits a stream and waterfalls, flowing into the Koi pond. This pond included several large boulders weighing over 1000 pounds. After passing through the courtyard, the visitor is brought onto the bluestone patio. This area of the site was designed by a Landscape Architecture firm who worked closely with the homeowner and contractor, who had been working on the design of the space over a period of several years. The design for the patio area included an outdoor kitchen, multiple levels to take advantage of the grade change around the property and a large gathering area complete with wood burning fireplace and pergola. The contractor constructed this portion of the patio using poured concrete footers, and concrete block walls which were steel reinforced to enure the patio structure which was to supported behind the 6′ tall wall did not move. Concrete slabs were poured for all the wet laid bluestone patio surfaces, and drains were installed below the bluestone to allow for adequate drainage. In the areas where drains were located below the stones, a series of 1/4″ holes were drilled through the bluestone to allow water to enter the drain without the need for a metal drain grate. The bench walls, stairs and fireplace were all veneered with Western Maryland fieldstone, incorporating a raked mortar joint for a rustic appearance. Low voltage lighting in the bench walls and stairs around the patio provide interest and safety at night. The landscape planting included 15 mature evergreen trees, installed at a height over 16′ with 60″ root balls, hundreds of shrubs including boxwood, hydrangea, viburnum, wigelia and thousands of ground cover. Due to heavy deer pressure in the area, 8′ tall deer fence was installed around the entire rear planting area, stretching over 600 linear feet and protecting the landscape from damage.