Front & Back Yard
Town & Country Missouri
Designing a landscape for a new home that sits on 1 1/2 sloped but almost bare acre lot in Town & Country Missouri was made easier since we worked in tandem with the homeowner very early one in the home construction stages. Our goal was to fashion a unified look that would match the traditional facade that consists of stone sheathing with brick trim and a series of peaked roofs. The biggest challenge was developing a natural progression of outdoor living spaces that nestle into the sloping terrain off the rear, which drop altogether 9 feet from the rear to the bottom of the flat lawn.
- Circular driveway at front
- Minimize use of a side door and play up the front door
- Outdoor space for everyday uses and expandable for larger parties
- A secluded gathering area with fire feature away from the main home
- Shade and sun… can we have both?
- Bridge the different levels with adequate retaining walls, seating, and steps.
- Lush plantings and trees in sync with the site’s large scale.
The Site and its Challenges
The size of the lot and scale of the house dictated that any hardscape and softscape additions reflect similar proportions.
Circular driveway. The owners wanted a circular driveway for cars to drop off guests at the front in a gracious style. We suggested soil berms between the street and driveway so that the driveway’s asphalt paving would not be in view by passersby. Altogether, we brought in 350 yards of soil, and raised up berms 30 inches. This careful placement disguised the driveway without hiding the front door., and grass planted in the berms softens the new hardscape.
Minimize side doorway, play up front door. Many homeowners like the idea of entering their home through a side or back doorway to avoid traffic in more public living areas. These clients, however, wanted the front door to remain the main entry. To discourage use of the side door, we laid a concrete walk of 30 inch squares spaced four inches apart with mulch between, placed a decorative bird bath along the path as the equivalent of a red light to stop traffic, and tightly framed the whole with clumps of grasses. Then, to encourage guests to proceed to the front door, we switched to a more decorative stamped and dyed concrete walk from the driveway and added traditional lanterns along the low curved entry wall. The design is convenient for large cars to pull up and several passengers to embark, and head straight ahead.
Trio of patios. The primary patio reached by a slight drop that necessitated three steps lands you right between the two spaces, one smaller one for everyday use, and the larger one used together with the smaller one and connecting area for larger parties. We recommended an affordable concrete paver that we arranged in a circular shape with a retaining wall from complementary Belgard concrete wall system that works both for safety and as extra seating. A cedar pergola planted with dwarf hybrid wisteria screens hot sun. The wall rises up 20 inches above the patio but extends down 5 feet below the patio due to the drop to the next level below. Stairs built from large limestone slabs and embellished with ivy leads down to the main lawn area and the winding flagstone path thru the turf leads to the secluded fire pit area on the lowest level with limestone flagstone flooring that’s an appealing destination with front-row views of the dense woods at the edge of the property.
Finishing Touches. To add more of a feeling of patina, we planted a wide variety of materials that include boxwood, liriope, hostas, lilacs, red sunset maples, Norway spruces, Austrian pines, and holly. Due to the height of the home and sheer size of the lot the owners requested taller specimens. We also built a mailbox from stone with brick detailing and peaked roof shape to duplicate the home, and installed path lighting throughout.