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A Family Retreat

The homeowners would like to soften up the yard and bring life to it by adding lots of green plants and colorful flowers.

John and Angelie love their Cape Cod house. They especially love the open airy feel of the high ceilings and many French doors and windows. Their yard, however, is a small, gray concrete box that's surrounded by cinderblock walls. The homeowners would like a playhouse for their children, more privacy, a place to dine as a family and space to entertain friends.

Canaday's plan provides a rustic, natural look by adding stacked-stone planters and a flagstone patio whose color blends with those of the home's interior.

The designers who have signed on for this task are Chris Canaday, Tony Vitale, and the design team of Gary Gardner and Jason Redfox.

A play structure in the corner for the children would be backed by a large tree for privacy. A stacked-stone fountain and planter would bring color and interest to the space. Tony Vitale wants to add function and form with an innovative sense of style by adding a seat wall on both sides of the yard. He would incorporate a curvy flagstone patio and a sandblasted smaller patio with a built-in barbeque. His design adds a grassy, landscaped area to provide a shady, colorful play space for the kids. A lattice and covered arbor provide privacy and a stacked-stone water feature includes a fire pit in the center. Gary Gardner and Jason Redfox propose a cottage-garden design by adding trees and natural stone. They would remove the step leading from the house to the backyard and lay down stone to transform the yard into a cohesive outdoor room. They'd add a storage space for the children's toys by moving the side gate. They would stucco over the cinderblock walls and add a lattice for privacy. The design also includes a beautiful stone fountain, a barbeque, pergola and a kids' playhouse that matches the style of the house.

Angelie and John decide to go with the Gardner-Redfox plan.

The tiny, gloomy backyard is transformed into a colorful English garden, filled with Peruvian lilies, delphiniums, azaleas and a mayten tree. Now full of life and color, the space is very inviting for all who enter. New lattice added to the top of the walls provides privacy and helps make the yard appear larger than it is. The new flagstone ties the space together and creates one level for easy access. The wall fountain that incorporates planting pockets is tucked neatly up against the back wall and is a focal point of the yard. The built-in barbeque and nearby cozy seating area under a pergola are sure to become popular hangout spots for the whole family. The children are especially excited about their beautiful new playhouse. John and Angelie love their new yard and are pleased to have been able to maintain a sense of adult style with a kid-friendly touch.

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