Location: Moseley, Virginia
Key Features: 800 Square foot Paver Patio, Raised Patio, Stepping Stone Walkway, Sitting Walls, Outdoor Kitchen, Fire Pit, Pergola, Outdoor Lighting and a Low Maintenance Landscape
Biggest Obstacle: This narrow backyard had a deceivingly drastic slope of almost 3 feet from the house to the far side of the patio.
Solution: The only responsible way to address a drastic slope is a retaining wall. For this paver patio, we constructed a retaining wall across the full length of the patio.
When we first met with this client, they were new to their home and quickly learned the shortcomings of their backyard. Because much of the forest area was protected land, they were left with a narrow strip of usable space that had a deceivingly significant slope. This young family was looking to make use of an unusable space; their dream was a multipurpose area for entertaining family and friends.
The final design made use of almost every portion of the backyard. To combat the slope, we constructed a two and a half foot retaining wall along the entire perimeter of the patio. This allowed us to create a level space for dining, lounging around the fire pit and an outdoor kitchen with bar top seating. The perimeter of the patio is accented by a creative “picket” style of sitting wall composed of Manchester wall blocks from Techo-Bloc. The kitchen and pillars are composed of matching Manchester blocks. The flooring is composed of Parisien pavers from Techo-Bloc featured in an “I” pattern with a two-toned, 3 course border. Lighting accents, a pergola and simple landscaping complete this outdoor space.
This personalized retreat is well loved by the client and pictures have been featured in Richmond magazine’s R-Home, West End’s Best and Chesterfield Living.
Value Engineering for Budget
The need for a 3 foot tall retaining wall, running the entire length of the paver patio, dramatically cut into the client’s budget. Because of this, we were forced to get creative with materials to keep the project costs down.
Semma Wall Block: Because the retaining walls were facing away from the house and patio space, the client wasn’t concerned about their artistic look. Though it doesn’t allow for an attractive mix of sizes, Semma block is engineered to build a strong wall, has a lower price point, and installs quickly for a low labor cost. Using Semma wall block cut the cost of this hardscape project by thousands.
Manchester Blocks: One of our favorite materials to turn to when controlling costs are Manchester blocks from Techo-Bloc. This versatile block has a lower price point, is incredibly easy to work with and has a variety of uses. Using these blocks for the sitting walls, pillars and kitchen drastically lowered the material and labor costs of the project, saving the client thousands.
Picket-Style Walls: One of the versatile uses of Manchester blocks is the “picket-style” walls seen in this project. Along with the unique look, this style of wall is also lower in cost due to the (obvious) need for less materials.
Parisien Pavers: This traditional paver provides a classic look at a lower price point. To add creative flair, we applied a two-toned, three-course border to the paver patio.
BLU Grande Slabs: Ever since Techo-Bloc released BLU Grande slabs, Outdoor Dreams has been using the product for creating stepping stone walkways. These large slabs are installed quickly and provide a sturdy stepping stone path that costs less than half of a formal walkway. For paths that do not incur heavy foot traffic, a BLU Grande stepping stone path is the perfect choice.
The Best Outdoor Lighting: Bistro Lights
At Outdoor Dreams, we install a variety of different outdoor lighting fixtures, but none do a better job of creating ambiance than bistro-style string lights. The glow created by these lights is truly unbeatable for setting the mood for any outdoor space or patio. With this patio and hardscape, we had the bistro lights installed around the pergola, creating a well-lit dining area. With electrical already run for the fan, the addition of these lights was done easily and without the need of an ugly extension cord. Additionally, it should be noted that bistro lights are not only one of the best ways to light your patio area, they are also one of the least expensive.
What We Used
Patio: Parisien Pavers from Techo-Bloc (Shale Grey and Chestnut Brown)
Sitting Walls: Manchester Blocks from Techo-Bloc (Shale Grey)
Outdoor Kitchen: Manchester Blocks from Techo-Bloc (Shale Grey), Black Pearl Granite
Plant Combination: ‘Brilliant’ Azalea, ‘Endless Summer’ Hydrangea, ‘Rheiland’ Astilbe, ‘September Charm’ Anemone, ‘Ostrich’ Fern, ‘Kanjiro’ Camellia, Virginia Sweetspire and Forsythia.