In Edwardsville, Illinois, tucked in behind State Highway 143, is a small neighborhood of new construction homes. Many of them are more than ready for work to be done on their outdoor living spaces, and this is why these clients reached out to us.
An intimate outdoor space
A younger couple, who longed for an intimate outdoor area that included some privacy screens and a firepit, got in touch because they wanted a backyard where they could enjoy a glass of wine, have a few friends over and wind down after work each night.
During our consultation, one thing that stood out was their desire to have something unique – not just a cookie-cutter solution for their new space which, back then, was just a small, stamped concrete patio and grass, leading up to a forested area directly behind their home.
We measured the area and the elevation of the existing grade, as well as taking many photos capturing the existing site conditions (including the views from the backyard, which are very important to consider in design).
The idea of “thinking outside the box” when we brought this all back to the design center excited us.
Three-tier patio matrix
When it came time for the design reveal, needless to say, the clients were ecstatic!
We devised a three-tier patio matrix, all built with a series of straight lines and half-circles – what most designers would call an “arc and tangent” design theme.
Using the existing stamped concrete patio as the middle tier, we created an elevated patio space just off to the side of the stamped patio. This space was big enough for three or four patio chairs, and included room for others in the seating walls that were included too.
Firepit patio space
These also helped to separate it from the lower tier, which was directly in front of the stamped patio. As you step down into this firepit patio space, a seating wall wraps around its entirety to close it off and make it its own “outdoor room”.
The walls themselves were made from our rustic charcoal-colored wall block and capped with a white wall cap, creating an aesthetically stunning contemporary color combination with a more naturally textured stone.
But the rooms were not only created from seating walls – the differing paver textures and colors assisted in this as well. For the top tier patio, we used a double border of Belgard 6×6 Black Diamond pavers, thereby making the interior portion, which consisted of a rustic-textured paver in black-gray, stand out even more.
For the lower patio, we continued the 6×6 double border, but this time we used Belgard’s Belgian cobble-shaped pavers in moonlight, whose off-white color was a wonderful contrast to the rest of the patio spaces and truly made the firepit area catch the eye.
The firepit itself was made from the same charcoal-colored wall block and our white wall caps so that it matched the seating walls and created a sense of continuity within the design.
To solve the water drainage challenges that the space had, we used our secret weapon: we lined the firepit with a ring of decorative rock. Not only is this aesthetically pleasing, but the patio slopes toward the ring of rock and can drain there.
The garden space designed around the tiered patio is the icing on the cake. Creating a decorative trap rock vista with rounded curves that match portions of the patio, an expansive privacy screen is created so that the clients can enjoy their new oasis for themselves.
In addition to the screen created by the blue western cedars, pops of color and texture are formed from the lilacs (positioned close to the patio so their fragrance can be enjoyed on cool spring evenings) and the ornamental grasses.
An extensive sandstone flagstone pathway is created to invite the clients and their guests to wander the garden space and enjoy it.
Lifetime warranty path lights and wall lights will light up the landscape at night so that the small get-togethers the clients have planned won’t have to end when the sun goes down.
A thorough approach to design
In our final walkthrough with the husband, they told us how they had reached out to a couple other companies to do the work. While those companies were professional, the client said what won him over was our thorough design work, close communication and flawless execution of the project from start to finish.
We asked what they were most looking forward to, and they said they couldn’t wait to light up the firepit on the next cool evening and have family over.