Project Type: Residential

Project Description

This client in the Baltimore suburbs came into the project with the goal of designing and building their “forever home” on a lot which they purchased and planned to remove the existing home and start fresh. The outdoor living space would play a critical role in the functionality and appeal of that home. The client and landscape contractor were introduced through a mutual business contact as the client was designing and preparing to build their home. Many of the home’s details had already been decided by the time the landscape team was brought on board, but the backyard was an open canvas, which allowed input from the Landscape Architect and Landscape Contractor to create a space that would fulfill the goals for the new home.

The landscape contractor worked alongside a local Landscape Architect who designed the outdoor living space for the backyard. The clients planned to entertain a lot in their new home so they wanted room for guests both inside and outside.  Wish list items included a water feature which could be seen and heard from inside the home, outdoor dining space off the kitchen area, and a large area for entertaining, including an outdoor fireplace.

Because the client had bought a property and demolished everything but the foundation of the original home and the garage, the original landscaping had been removed or destroyed during the demolition. Only a single Japanese Maple was saved. The homeowner wanted to incorporate this tree into the new landscaping, and the tree was transplanted to its new location above the fountain on the first day that the landscape contractor arrived on site.

The home builder had salvaged several hundred square feet of Pennsylvania bluestone from a patio at the original home, and the landscape contractor had to acid wash and pressure wash this salvaged stone before mixing it with new PA bluestone to be used in the 2,000 square feet of new patio area.

Project Description

This Maryland family was looking to enhance their existing bluestone patio which expanded out from their finished basement and game room. The homeowner had built the patio in 2004 and wanted to make the space more of a destination. Together, we sketched out ideas for a wood burning fireplace flanked by bench seating walls on either side to envelope the patio and create an outdoor gathering area for guests and family. Because of the homes location in a rural, wooded setting, backing up to a lake in northern Maryland, we decided to use Western Maryland fieldstone for the fireplace and sitting walls. This gave the space a rustic feel which matched the homeowners’ style and décor inside the home. Bluestone caps on the bench walls and hearth tie the existing bluestone patio in with the new walls and fireplace for a cohesive project that looks as if it was built at the same time, not in two separate decades.

The foundation for the walls and fireplace started with a steel reinforced, poured concrete footer, then CMU blocks formed the interior structure for the project. The stone arrived from the quarry in large rough chunks which had to be cut and worked into pieces that were buildable for the vertical surfaces of the fireplace and walls. Each stone was hand cut and fit together to maintain tight, consistent joints. Corners and angles had to be scored and chisel split to maintain the same finish as the face stones. The Keystone above the firebox opening highlights the mason crew’s ability to turn rough chunks of stone into geometric works of art, all by hand. Raked mortar joints help to highlight the irregular shape of each stone and the consistency of the joints.

The decision was made to design and build the fireplace with a Rumford style firebox for its ability to project more heat out to the people sitting in front of the fireplace rather than sending most of the heat up the chimney. This small detail is not immediately noticed in the design but the clients appreciated it and have begun to bring a television outside to watch football games in front of the fireplace, well into the playoffs.

The final accent to finish off this project was the White Oak mantle which sits above the firebox opening. This mantle was crafted using a beam salvaged from a 120 year old barn which was dismantled in the area. The 10 foot long beam was cut in half and then the two halves were trimmed and mated together to create a 12” deep mantle with all the exterior edges of the wood retaining the aged appearance from the barn.

Project Description

One of our latest projects involved the construction of a bluestone patio, natural boulder retaining wall, natural stone steps, seats, planters, and an outdoor kitchen.

The project was unique as the outdoor living area sloped steeply away from the home in the backyard. The home was in a deeply wooded area and the owners wanted to complement that look and feel with a natural-looking stone. The retaining walls were necessary to raise the grade of the land so that we could build a flat level patio. We designed and built the boulder retaining wall, and once we built it to the desired height, we backfilled the yard with stone and then built the patio on this new grade.

For the patio, we used natural bluestone set in mortar with mortar joints; this style of installation is also known as a wet-laid bluestone patio. The mortar gives the patio a more permanent structure and requires less maintenance, though it is more expensive initially. Wet-laid patios provide a cleaner, more pristine look than dry-laid. (Be sure to ask about the different options available for your patio project!)

The patio was built to entertain multiple guests. Our team used natural stone to create seat walls and planter boxes with bluestone caps on each to help accent and define the edges of the patio space. An outdoor kitchen was also installed, complete with a built-in grill and outdoor refrigerator. Natural stone was used to match the patio, steps, seats, and boulder retaining walls.

We finished off the project by installing minimal landscaping along the base of the wall and in the planters to help the space blend into its shady backyard setting. The result is nothing short of stunning!

Project Description

Our client wanted to create a fresh look for his home’s exterior, particularly a new entrance walkway that accented the brick front of the home. Our team demolished the old walkway and set to work on a new curving pathway complete with a large circular patio at the front entrance of the home. The patio includes a circular dry stack stone seat wall that provides attractive outdoor seating for the residents and their guests.

In addition, our crew constructed a dry stack retaining wall around the driveway, as well as a unique stone mailbox. The total project consisted of more than 400 square feet of bluestone. We installed a lighting package to illuminate the new pathway, as well as under the cap of the seat wall. Lights were also placed on surrounding trees and the home’s exterior. We also made improvements to the landscape, planting a variety of ornamental and evergreen trees, shrubs and perennials.