Families are spending more time outdoors, and landscape designers know that every homeowner’s idea of the perfect outdoor environment is unique. We asked Gardens of Babylon designer Ryan Fogartyto tell us about her most memorable project of 2020:
At home in the woods
The owners of this home on a large lot in West Meade struggled with a serious drainage problem. “Every time it rained, the backyard turned into mud,” says Ryan Fogarty. “This was their biggest gripe.” They also wanted to have a place that felt inviting, where they and their kids could entertain, and they needed more privacy, and for multiple places to entertain that felt connected, she says.
What was the biggest challenge? “The water issue,” Ryan says. They discovered that there are several natural springs on the property; no wonder it was always wet back there! A swale lined with river rocks was the best solution. “That was the biggest constraint of the whole project, making sure we built it to work.” Ryan says. “We did a lot of grading, so that when it rains, the water is all directed into the swale. We brought in a ton of soil!”
Beyond that, the homeowners asked for other improvements. “When we came in, the only thing they had was landscaping in the front and an existing patio in the back,” Ryan says. Her design called for enhancing the front landscaping and adding a flagstone walkway from the driveway around to the back patio. In the back, they built brick raised planters, painted to match the house. “The back of the house was so tall, the raised planters gave a better sense of scale,” she explains.
A feature that was added midway through the project: a separate patio with a rustic firepit and a seat wall, situated away from the house. “It gives a feeling of being in the woods,” Ryan says. A large piece of flagstone placed over the sunken swale serves as a bridge near the site of the firepit patio.
Originally, the lot was enclosed by a chain link fence. Gardens of Babylon worked with Titan Fence to remove and replace it with tall wood fencing.
What do you think is the best feature? “I really like the offset patio in the back, the firepit patio,” Ryan says. “It’s in a great location, which helps keeps the natural feel. I think it turned out really nice.” She is also pleased with the raised brick planters. “I like the transformation that it gave to the existing patio. It completely changed the whole look,” she says. “It’s something small that gives a big impact.”
Do you plan to upgrade your outdoor spaces in 2021? Click here to book a consultation with a member of Gardens of Babylon’s landscape design team.