Project Highlights

Location: Glen Allen, Virginia

Key Features: 700 Square foot Paver Patio, Raised Patio, Stone Walkways, Sitting Walls, Outdoor Kitchen, Outdoor Fireplace, Outdoor Lighting and a unique, Low Maintenance Landscape

Biggest Obstacle: Ensuring a design that could actually be built. From the start, the client wanted a multi-level patio space. Typically, when designing multiple levels, the slope of a yard will be going away from the house, leaving the designer with flexibility around the number of stairs and height of walls. With this property, the backyard had a varying slope that came towards the house and left us with very little room for error or flexibility.

Solution: Throughout the design process, our designer and project manager worked together to ensure the final patio plan had the correct grades, appropriate number of steps, proper sitting wall height and a yard with a drainage and runoff plan. To do this, our designer and project manager would mark out and take grade measurements for every patio design iteration, to ensure that the plans would functionally be able to be built.

Project Story

This young family of five contacted us because they wanted an outdoor space that was truly special. They were new to their home and wanted to turn their blank backyard into a place where they could create memories as their three young boys grew.

The final design included a built-in grill with space for dining and a lounge area featuring a fireplace. The two-tiered patio featured a tapestry of different Techo-Bloc products and colors that blended seamlessly with each other and the house. Though it looks much different than other projects, the hardscape features many Outdoor Dreams’ favorites including BLU 60 slabs, Villagio pavers and Antika pavers from Techo-Bloc. The pillars, fireplace and grill structure are accented with Sahara Gold natural stone veneer.

The hardscape was accented with rustic landscaping inspired by Colorado scenery. Along with hand-picked boulders, the landscape is composed of a unique plant combination that includes Hollywood Junipers, Golden Smoke Trees, Blue Spruces and a creative, texture-filled mix of perennials. The landscape and hardscape are both highlighted by a thorough lighting system that allows the client to enjoy the entire space long after the sun goes down.

The final result of this Outdoor Dreams Journey is one of our most unique spaces and the client is thrilled with the outcome! We really enjoyed our time with this client and even their boys were sad when Mr. Geoff stopped coming each day.

Which color Antika should we use? Let’s try ALL of them!

When the time came to select materials and colors, most of the choices came together easily for this client. The only debate was which color or colors to use for the Antika sections of the patio and hardscape. To make this selection, our designer brought samples of all the confirmed materials along with samples of all five available colors of Antika. Our designer did a mock set up of the materials and, with the client, looked at the various color combinations that could be created with Antika. After looking at every feasible combination, the decision was made to create a mix using 4 of the 5 colors available.  The combination resulted in the truly stunning mosaic that makes this patio and hardscape unique.


Value Engineering the Raised Patio Height

To properly build a raised patio requires a lot of materials and labor. A properly built raised patio must be a self-supporting structure with walls on all sides; none of the weight from the structure should be supported by the foundation of the house. Inside those walls, the area is to be filled completely with compacted gravel from the ground up. As you might expect, the proper build of a raised patio can be quite expensive.

The client’s original vision for this hardscape project was to have a raised patio at the same level as the main floor of their home. To do this would have required around 400 square feet of wall construction and over 100 tons of gravel. After the initial estimate came in very high, the client began to consider ways to get the cost down. The best way to cut costs was going to be lowing the raised patio. To aid the client’s decision, we produced estimates for the raised patios at three different heights. In the end, the patio was lowered by one foot and the client saved thousands of dollars.

The Outdoor Dreams Fireplace

Outdoor Dreams created this outdoor fireplace design in 2010 for our very first outdoor fireplace client. Though we offer countless different design options, many of our clients keep coming back to this original design. Despite our willingness and desire to try new designs, almost two thirds of our outdoor fireplace clients have chosen this design for their outdoor living spaces. Though we enjoy new challenges and expanding our portfolio, it is always a great compliment when one of our designs is loved and replicated by new clients.

Though they have the same design and dimensions, each client makes this outdoor fireplace their own with unique material choices and slight modifications. With this outdoor fireplace, the client chose a stone veneer that gives the fireplace a clean, yet rustic, look. The bright Sahara Gold color provides a nice contrast to the greys and beiges throughout the hardscape. Additionally, the Sahara Gold color blend features auburn highlights that tie the outdoor fireplace together with the auburn shades found in the Sandlewood and Champlain Grey Techo-Bloc products used for the patio, sitting walls and other hardscape features.

Let there be light!

This project was originally planned and designed to be completed in phases. As the process unfolded though, the client’s excitement grew and, ultimately, the entire project was completed in one phase. The best example of this “let’s do it all” outcome was the outdoor lighting. At first, the client only wanted to complete the patio and hardscape lighting because much of it couldn’t be added later. After seeing the dramatic impact made by the patio and hardscape lighting, the client immediately decided to do the landscape lighting as well. A few days after the landscape lighting went in, the client also had us light up the front of the house.

See What We Used

Patio: BLU 60 Slabs from Techo-Bloc (Chestnut Brown), Villagio Pavers from Techo-Bloc (Chocolate Brown), Antika Pavers from Techo-Bloc (Chocolate Brown, Onyx Black, Chestnut Brown and Shale Grey)

Sitting Walls: Mini-Creta Architectural from Techo-Bloc (Champlain Grey), Portifino Caps from Techo-Bloc (Riviera)

Pillars: Sahara Gold Country Ledgestone – Natural Stone Veneer, Bluestone Pillar Caps

Outdoor Fireplace: Sahara Gold Country Ledgestone – Natural Stone Veneer, Bluestone mantel, hearth and trim

Outdoor Kitchen: Sahara Gold Country Ledgestone – Natural Stone Veneer, Bluestone Counter

Walkways: Bluestone Irregular Flagstone

Plant Combination: ‘Hollywood’ Juniper, ‘Bakers’ Blue Spruce, Slender Hinoki Cypress, ‘Papaya Popsicle’ Torch Lily, ‘Heavy Metal’ Switch Grass, ‘Bloodgood’ Japanese Maple, Variegated Iris, ‘Tasmanian Tiger’ Euphorbia, ‘May Knight’ Salvia, ‘Walker’s Low’ Catmint, ‘Endless Summer’ Hydrangea, ‘Limelight’ Hydrangea, ‘Zhuzhou’ Loropetalum, Globe Blue Spruce and Golden Smoke Tree.

Ready to make your Outdoor Dreams a reality?