The Great Outdoors -or- The Great After-Thought
Gilday Renovations completed a two-story addition to a Washington DC residence several years ago. We squeezed the budget in this ambitious design build remodeling project to achieve all of the things our clients so passionately desired. The homeowners were thrilled with their larger kitchen, new sitting room, and generous master bedroom. New energy-efficient windows now fill the once shadowy interior spaces with natural light. There was just one little problem with the windows. Those beautiful new windows beautifully framed the not so beautiful garage against a backdrop of -shall we say- over abundance?
Can You Say “Phase Two”
The homeowners wanted views from their home to be as eye-catching as the new interiors. Only when construction was completed did they realize how incompletely their yard matched up to that newly renovated house. They wanted the design of the outdoors to complement the design of the indoors. They realized they wanted a smooth transition between the indoors and outdoors that would, for example, allow a party to flow easily into the yard. Overgrown trees would make a damp and bleak reception for party guests inclined to hazard the rickety back steps to the yard.
A complete transformation of the back yard was clearly called for. For that, we called Cathy Carr of Garden Gate Landscaping. Cathy has collaborated with Gilday and its clients for over ten years. It would have made much more sense to have brought her into the design build team from day one. But……. that was then.
Four distinct areas were created from the narrow city lot: a flagstone dining terrace with ample grill space; a lawn panel; an upper shade garden above a new stone wall; and a deck that connects home to garden.
The conceptual design features a diagonally-oriented terrace and curving lawn. Both mitigate the pinched feeling of the garage located in the middle of the lot.
The sitting room originally looked out to the back wall of the white garage. Here is what it looked like before;
The new transitional deck is large enough for a small table and chairs while wide steps allow for spillover seating. Plantings add four-season interest and surround the space with color, texture, and movement. The deck was constructed of Ipe with a composite railing system for trouble-free maintenance.
A Breath of Fresh Air
This image below demonstrates the serenity and openness of the garden. Camellias and climbing hydrangeas will cover the fence; Nandina and mop head Hydrangeas were transplanted for an immediate mature look. Crape myrtles in the upper garden catch light from the east. Some overgrown Cedars were removed while those screening the alley were retained. Fern, Hellebore, Hosta, Azalea, and Solomon’s Seal underplant the trees.
The flagstone terrace, lawn panel, stone retaining wall and steps present attractive focal points from the home and new deck. The garage was painted to match the color of the new addition. The integration of the various inside and outdoor elements is smooth and harmonious as compared to:
The owners love it. So did the judges. This garden design by Cathy Carr of Garden Gate received a 2010 Award of Merit from the National Professional Landcare Network, or PLANET.