Yard Works

When Gasper Sales Designer & Landscape Architect, Mary Anna Okin, first met with our homeowners they had a fairly good existing paver patio. True, it was showing some signs of age, and true they were always trying to find more shade, but it certainly was functional.  Unfortunately sometimes functional is just not good enough, and this patio just did not work with how our homeowners wanted to live and entertain in their back yard.  So when our Homeowners started the Gasper Design process, they had a laundry list of things that they wanted to change about their outdoor space.  They were tired of constantly seeking shade and wanted a new covered living area.  They wanted a hot tub, but wanted to make sure it was fully integrated into the space and they wanted expanded counter space for grilling and food prep.

Gasper designers started by addressing the need for cover with a new covered structure.  Although umbrellas are great at providing shade, they provide little to no protection from rain.  The new L-shaped footprint of the roof allowed a larger gabled roof to protruded out from the house, avoiding upper windows and a narrow ‘porch’ which provided a covered connection to the kitchen door as well as a spot for a small bistro seating set.  Under the gabled roof is a large space for both a dining set and for casual seating.  The finished wood ceiling is warm & inviting and compliments the color of the composite deck flooring below.  The recessed lighting, ceiling fan & exterior rated television which is mounted from the ceiling, makes the perfect place to comfortably watch the game on a weeknight evening or to host a fall football game with lots of friends and family gathered round.  “Since the roof is so perfectly integrated into the house, it is hard even for me to remember that it is new construction!” laughs Okin.

Details About the Project

The new deck was built with Timbertech composite decking. Composite decking has the look and feel of traditional wood, while being much more durable and lower in maintenance. Think no splinters and no staining! Having a deck instead of a patio, meant that the deck floor could be flush with the finished floor of the house. The benefit of having no step out of the door means that is has great flow between the interior rooms of the house, but it also means it is easier for elderly or disabled guest to access the outside space.

“There is no need to throw the baby, out with the bathwater,” says Okin while recalling the decision to keep the existing trees and some of the other existing landscaping. Careful construction practices are needed to avoid root damage to existing trees, but the end result is a more mature looking project.

The homeowners were emphatic that they wanted to keep their old grill, but they did acknowledge that additional counter and storage space would be helpful. As a result the new cook station was designed for the existing grill to slide right into the decorative block structure. The granite topped counters give ample prep and cooking space on either side of the grill and the elevation change between the lower patio level and the deck allows a portion of the new cook station to act like a coffee table on the deck providing space for serving food and putting down drinks. A Lynx stainless steel drawer/door combination gives protected space to store often used grilling supplies.

The new hot tub is located on the lower paver patio but benefits from an extension of the deck along the front of the kitchen bump out. The raised access from the deck makes getting into the hot tub much easier as well as making room for a bench to set down towels or to converse with guests while in the hot tub. The concrete pavers on the lower patio are textured to reproduce the beautiful cleft patterns of natural stone, but are much cooler on bare feet. There is just enough room on the patio next to the hot tub for a small bar set or chaise lounge. Privacy is provided by large ornamental zebra grasses that were saved from the existing landscape.

Sometimes, it is not about making the space bigger, it is about reorganizing to make the space work BETTER for how the homeowner wants to use it.

Mary Anna Okin

This project is like a lot of projects that we see come through our doors here at Gasper Landscape Design & Construction and probably feels like a familiar dilemma to a lot of our potential future customers: Patios/Decks that might have been designed by previous owners of the home; Patios/Deck that have reached their lifespans and are in need of renovation; OR Patio/Decks which might have suited a family’s needs in the past but no longer fits the bill. There is no need to live with a bad fit.

Contact us to today at (215) 364-2400 to see how a Gasper design for your backyard can transform your outdoor space into a space you will love to use.

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Whether you desire a simple planting design or a comprehensive outdoor living space, you’ll find our staff to be creative, knowledgeable and enthusiastic when bringing your outdoor vision to life.

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