outdoor living spaces
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When we started on this property, it had little more than grass, fence, and a trampoline. This young family wanted to entertain friends outdoors and create an atmosphere that got their kids out of the house more often. To accomplish that, we planned two specific features: a firepit to gather around and a koi pond, to give the kids fish to feed, frogs to chase, and to bring them closer to nature.
We began with the patio area. We built an elaborate seating wall with wide benches and a back. The seating wall is so wide and comfortable you could take a nap on it. Next we tackled the fire ring, patio pavers, and walkways.
After the hardscape components were completed, we built the 8' x 11' koi pond with 8' stream. The pond is tucked against the patio's edge, so the owners could enjoy watching the fish swimming and enjoy the aquatic plants that bloom beautifully in the summer - all from the comfort of the patio seating area. Lastly, we graded and landscaped the entire property and seeded a new lawn.
This project completely transformed this home. It turned the backyard from boring to an inviting outdoor room ideal for family BBQs and inviting friends over to hang out.
The homeowners first contacted us to ask about building a patio for their home. During the site visit, the homeowners showed us the previous work that had been completed around the back of the house. Upon inspection, we identified a number of issues that needed to be addressed.
Issues To Correct
To solve the drainage problem, we re-designed the outdoor space that would give the family enough room move around comfortably, while also being visually appealing.
All of the old plantings, the patio, and walkways had to be removed. Once the old work was removed, we started building a retaining wall to support the side of the patio. This wall also allowed us to create the patio on one level, making the space much more usable. The retaining walls continue out of the ground to create a enclosure affect around the edge of the patio providing safety and more of an outdoor room feel.
Landscaping, Walkway, and Lighting
We incorporated some plantings to the inside of the walls to bring a little greenery into the patio space. Low-voltage lighting was installed in the walls and pillars to provide a comfortable light level for safety and beauty during evening hours. A wide walkway was the constructed to connect the patio to the driveway to create an easy access path to the patio. Landscape lights were also installed along the walkway.
In the end we were able to create a beautiful and functional outdoor space that added a lot of value to the home!
Project Features: Permeable Driveway Pavers, Koi Pond, Patio, Lighting, and Walkways
This was an amazing property makeover complete with permeable paver driveways, eco-friendly landscape design, and eco-system koi pond. This was a full property project that started with just a simple conversation on how to improve what they had. The homeowner's words were: "I just want to walk outside and say WOW!"
As you can see from the Before images, the property was nice, but upon closer inspection, it had many underlying issues – the pond was not built correctly by another contractor, and there were issues with the structural integrity of the installed hardscapes, drainage issues, and maintenance issues.
The driveway and walkway pavers were installed flat, preventing drainage, which left water pockets and ice patches in winter. The water feature had constant water quality issues, maintenance was difficult, and the rocks were not stable. In short, it wasn't built correctly with biological filtration.
The lesson here is to always thoroughly research and vet any contractor before hiring one. Fortunately, the homeowners were able to afford to correct all the issues their property was facing. But being able to re-do poorly installed projects is usually the exception in most cases that we see.
Everything had to come out. The old koi pond, the improperly installed hardscape walkways, patio, and the 2 driveways– everything. The Tussey team worked to re-install a new koi pond with wetland filtration and reverse bog, Techo-Bloc paver driveways, patios, and walkways correctly to certified standards, and then applied finishing touches with landscaping, and added a fireplace and LED landscape lighting.
The homeowners initially called us because they wanted more privacy from the street and asked for a quote to do a green barrier with shrubs and trees. The homeowner's comment about wanting a "wow-factor" led us to a discussion about redoing the pond correctly with wetland bog filtration and making it bigger. Then we talked about adding another patio along the pond edge, which led to a conversation about meshing the look of the new hardscape mesh with the existing hardscape.
While completing the initial work we had agreed upon, we discovered how bad the previous work had been done and the homeowners began entertaining the idea of starting over from scratch. We worked with the homeowners to re-design the entire property, add a new pond, a new patio, and landscaping and lighting. We were halfway through that project when the homeowner asked us to evaluate the paver driveways. Same story. The pavers weren’t draining properly because the installation was incorrect. In the end, we completely over-hauled everything on the property: driveways, front walk, landscaping, and lighting.
The result was a property where all elements flowed together seamlessly, and the features all complimented one another.
This landscape project was installed at a new home in Altoona PA. So when we showed up, there was virtually nothing. Just a brand new home. We had a clean slate. But... the property was large, and the homeowners had many ideas, beyond what their current budget supported. So, no problem, we simply worked together to create the design that they envisioned, and once the design was created and approved, we chose what elements to complete first, and what to hold off for future phases of the project. In this case, we decided to do the front of the home first, which included the front walkway with Techo-Bloc Blu 60 mm pavers, landscaping and trees, landscape lighting, and the water feature facing the driveway, greeting all who arrived at the home with a spectacular view.
Below are some BEFORE and AFTER images of the front, which we completed in Phase 1 of the project.
Above you can see what was accomplished in the Front Yard Phase of the project. The following summer we came back to install the first half of the backyard phase. Which included natural flagstone walkways, natural stone steps, some drainage work, and landscaping. Below are photo galleries of the before and after on that.
The next summer, (3rd time we were back) The 3rd and final phase consisted of a large entertaining patio and firepit, kind of set away from the rest of the backyard. Creating a destination point. Also included in this phase was more flagstone walkways and natural stone steps leading to the basement doors of the home. All of it was surrounded by landscaping and LED landscape lighting for nighttime enjoyment and beauty.
That completes this full property landscape design. This achieved many goals for this home. It beautified the front and gave a welcoming and inviting appearance. Next it provided a large entertaining area in the backyard and completed a full outdoor living space. Below you can watch the full project showcase video of this entire project happening.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments on this article! We'd love to hear what your thoughts are, or if you have any questions. We'll be happy to respond and help in any way we can. Cheers!
- Weston Zimmerman
This project had a thick overgrown section of brush and small saplings along the front yard. It kind of created an unkempt look, and the homeowners wanted to remove it and replace it with a nice landscape bed with mountain boulders embedded throughout the landscape, along with a barrier of yew bushes to create some privacy from the hiking trail just on the other side of their property line. Below are photos of what the property looked like upon our arrival.
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This project started out as a home in Roaring Spring PA with virtually no landscaping, no patio, no nothing. We were contacted to design an outdoor living space for the backyard initially. There was some back and forth in the design process between Dave, the designer for this project, and the homeowners regarding how 'rustic' or how 'modern' to create this backyard project. They both liked both looks, so during the design process they arrived at a compromise that incorporated clean lines of a modern look, but still used natural stone, natural mountain boulders, which all assisted in merging the modern, clean look with the natural rustic textures of natural stone products. Below is a fly through video of the first draft of the 3D Design.
FINAL PROJECT VIDEO IS AT THE END OF THIS ARTICLE!
8583 Woodbury Pike
Hollidaysburg, PA 16648
Call us: 814.696.3700