The client had two small decks on the back of his lake front home on Mallets Bay, and wanted to expand his outdoor living space by adding a patio. The existing steep slope made it necessary for a terrace to level and expand the grade in the back, raising it an average of 4 feet. However, the client did not want traditional retaining walls, but requested a natural flowing slope. Additionally, we needed to blend the contemporary architecture of the home with a new and flowing landscape.
To retain the slope and planting beds, large ornamental boulders were strategically positioned and partly set into the soil, and some were arranged to form small rustic walls. Two sets of natural stone slab stairs were set into the slope to give access from the terrace to the lawn area and lake. Multi-leveled living spaces were created with the two existing decks and the new terrace. Smooth cut bluestone stairs transition down from the decks to the spacious random pattern bluestone terrace. These materials complement the symmetrical and contemporary architecture of the home. Adjacent to the south deck, a level area was created for an above ground spa on a small bluestone patio. The top of the spa was aligned with the adjoining deck to give easy access.
A water feature was integrated seamlessly into the terrace. The upper collection pool has bluestone coping over a fieldstone surround and two copper scuppers that create small cascades. The cascades of water then flow down a stream with a series of waterfalls, and into a lower collection pool. The stream and lower pool have a natural form and are bordered with natural river stone. The water feature's transition from contemporary to natural mirrors the overall landscape.
Along the sides of the house, plantings are arranged in a natural and soft form. A low boxwood hedge makes the transition from the crisp, clean lines of the terrace to the flowing, soft plantings of the boulder garden / slope. Boldly colored perennials highlight the terrace and reflect this bright, sunny location. Plantings of deciduous trees and an Arborvitae hedge give privacy between the terrace and neighboring homes. By adding a terrace and plantings, a stark and unusable area was transformed into functional, inviting and beautiful outdoor living space, great for entertaining.