Fireside Chat

A growing family enjoys a new outdoor gathering space ideal for sharing with friends and family throughout the year.

When Andy and Erin S. moved into their new house, the yard was steeply sloped, and there was not a lot of level ground around the back of the house. In fact, there was only sufficient room for a tiny patio, which was a tight fit for their table and grill. It was not the generous outdoor space they envisioned their friends and family gathering for kids’ birthday parties and year-round get-togethers. So, Erin and Andy reached out to Gasper for help in making their vision come to life.

“We had never built a patio before, so we were not sure what to expect or even how much it would cost, “remembers Andy. “But, our Sales designer, Erik Freeman, patiently and constructively walked us through what to expect, how it worked, and the different levels of investment.” Plus, because of the 3-D sketch-up model that Gasper created, Andy and Erin could move around the model in real-time and better understand what the patio would feel like when built. In fact, by the time Gasper broke ground, they had no apprehensions and felt quite confident in the project because of the time Erik had spent with them.

The first step in designing the space for a large patio by Gasper Landscape Designer, Nick Lupinacci, was to regrade the yard to create more level ground closer to the house. This was done by terracing or carving out the yard with a natural boulder retaining wall. 

An elegant but natural set of stone slab steps were positioned to gracefully wind up to the upper-level lawns where the kids will be able to play when they get older. Lush, billowy plantings of ornamental grasses and fine-leafed Amsonia (Blue star) spill over the boulders, adding interesting textures and color throughout the year. 

Andy and Erin are quite happy with how the space has turned out. “Nothing feels crowded, yet it is still very intimate,” comments Andy. The large wet-laid bluestone patio was designed to feel like multiple outdoor ‘rooms.’ “Even though it is outside and there is no roof, each section of the patio feels like it is a distinct place,” remarks Andy. 

We had never built a patio before, so we were unsure what to expect or how much it would cost. But [Gasper] patiently and constructively walked us through what to expect, how it worked, and the different levels of investment

Andy S.

A critical aspect of the patio was the hot tub area, which Andy and Erin had wanted for a long time. The second was a masonry stone, wood-burning fireplace. The fireplace “is something that is entertaining but is not television,” explains Andy. “It is a good way to enjoy the outdoors without compromising too much. Plus, it is perfect on a cool, still night because of the warmth it provides.” “We are really glad we went with Gasper. I only wanted to build a patio once, and our choice to go with Gasper makes us pretty certain that our patio will be as nice in 10 years as it is today,” states Andy. Sharing a bit of sage advice, Andy says, “If you think hiring a professional is expensive, try hiring an amateur!” Looking for some ideas to create a warm gathering space of your own? Contact Gasper today. 

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