Project Spotlight: Challenges + Solutions = Best Landscape Design


It’s not unusual for a landscape update to begin with a list of challenges to work around. That was the case in creating a landscape plan for this home in Nashville’s 12 South neighborhood. We asked Gardens of Babylon’s Matt Kerske to give details on the successes, solutions, and challenges of this design:

What did the homeowners want? 

The owners of this home had a common request: an easy-to-care-for backyard where they could relax with family and friends. In a neighborhood graced with mature trees, they also had to work with the landscape’s abundant shade. And to expand their leisure time opportunities: “They also wanted a gravel pathway on the side of their house that could maybe even double as a little bocce ball court area.”

But before that, they had a drainage problem that needed to be addressed: the pitch of the landscape allowed water to flow toward the backyard garage and guest house. Kerske’s design solution devised a way to divert the water from the backyard buildings, while at the same time maximize the lawn space, giving the kids a place to play.

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What was the biggest challenge? 

“The biggest challenge was the poor drainage in the backyard,” Kerske says. Water from heavy rains was also washing out a lot of mulch. 

The solution included the installation of a French drain system around the property, along with proper grading and the addition of a retaining wall. “A retaining wall for the backyard allowed us to flatten out the lawn area, making it more usable,” he says. “We installed river rock to avoid mulch washing out.” 

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What do you think is the best feature?

 “The best feature is definitely the fire pit and the paver patio surround,” Kerske says. “They’ve always wanted a feature in their backyard to have company around, and to enjoy time with their kids.” 

The gas fire pit sits on a circular patio across the small lawn from the back porch, connected to another small patio there by a flagstone walkway. The fire pit patio area includes a semi-circular seat wall and space for Adirondack chairs. The garden beds around the patio are planted with hydrangeas and other shade-tolerant shrubs and perennials.  

“The clients were really thrilled with the finished product,” Kerske says. “It was really a backyard transformation. Before, it was a construction site; afterward, a finished backyard. That says a lot.”

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Do you plan to upgrade your outdoor spaces in 2022? Click here to book a consultation with a member of Gardens of Babylon’s landscape design team.

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