Our Country Getaway project is a highly creative design build that took a sloped, bare backyard and transformed it into connected, functional outdoor space. The focus of the project intended to meet the client needs overall in areas with separate function. The main rear patio was to be perennial intensive and the front entry a mixed planting bed to enhance the home’s first impression. The intent on the west side was to establish a native plant palette integrated with a rose garden. An orchard producing four different kinds of fruit would also be implemented. The original site was positioned on a hill and had extensive erosion to the soil around the home. There were large existing grass areas, which were massively underutilized due to the steep sloping backyard. The back deck and concrete patio were existing on site. The clients needed to establish retaining walls around the back of the site, allowing for proper drainage and protection from erosion. The clients also required a complete redesign of their irrigation system for high efficiency watering and regulation of watering to the lawn as well as plant material offering year-round color and seasonal interests.
The project involved regrading of the west slope, allowing for proper drainage from the front yard to the back and transition to the rear lawn area. Integration of the functional planting areas were tied into the shape and size of the lawn as well as the flow patterns and view corridors for each area. The fire pit addition to the patio, as well as the retaining walls, pathways, plant material, finish materials, and irrigation system were all tied together to create a framing of the spaces and provide year-round enjoyment with low maintenance. The biggest challenge on this site was integrating the large retaining walls needed for sustainable erosion control and aesthetic appeal. Hydroseeded areas with native grasses were established outside the lawn area to provide a native backdrop to the surrounding area.
The site drainage and establishment of swales and flow for water was of utmost concern in protecting the watershed so close to the mountains. Native plantings were used in the areas around the home where the wind and sun exposure dictated a different microclimate. The use of low water turf lawn mix of perennial rye, buffalo grass, and bluegrass allowed for lower water use. Finally, the incorporation of native grass seed in hydroseed areas allowed for long term management of erosion and water use in the areas outside the main inner circle of the home. All materials were locally sourced for this project.