Private Urban Landscape

The goal was to transform a steep, unsafe sloped backyard with poor drainage, weeds and diseased fruit trees into an aesthetically pleasing, functional and private urban landscape.

The homeowners wanted to create a sense of privacy without sacrificing light or views, to gain as much usable space as possible, and to forge a strong connection with nature through outdoor living spaces that would draw the family outside.

Through decks, stairs, rockeries and creative grading the backyard has been transformed into a very usable space. Design elements include:

  • Replacing a nondescript concrete walkway with a curving bluestone path to the front door
  • A number of large boulders, including a very colorful 8.3-ton specimen that serves as the centerpiece of the front yard
  • A multi-tiered staircase that snakes down a steep, previously unnavigable slope
  • An eight-foot tall metal mesh fence/arbor that adds both privacy and a convenient area to grow peas/edibles
  • A lower lawn area including a vegetable and other edibles garden and a lawn suitable for badminton

Sustainable garden features include:

  • Three 550-gallon cisterns to capture rainwater from downspouts
  • Drip irrigation system from cisterns
  • Drought tolerant plantings
  • Plantings that attract birds and other wildlife
  • Edible garden
  • Recycled concrete crushed gravel
  • Recycled soils and mulches
  • Pervious pavement driveway system
  • A large pine tree that needed to be removed was donated to a local Native American carver for his work
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