Wide Open SpacesNeil and Susan like a healthy lawn — but this empty expanse is too much of a good thing. They want to break up this space visually and create a patio that will offer living space and provide a good transition between the house and the yard. Another priority: finding an out-of-the-way home for their daughters' trampoline. Rising to meet this Midwestern challenge are landscape pros Bob Hursthouse, Gary Blanford and Rocco Fiore.
From Blandscape to GrandscapeThe Lockes chose landscape architect Bob Hursthouse's vision for their property, transforming their giant putting green of a yard into a series of outdoor living spaces where grownups can kick back and relax. Well-chosen plantings like blackhaw viburnum trees and a Japanese maple help define the spaces, including a mini-garden for Neil's beloved hammock.
Outdoor DestinationsBob's design creates a dramatic space full of inviting destinations. An expanded patio creates a bridge between the house and landscape while offering a perfect outdoor space for dining, relaxing and entertaining. At the back of the property, a grapevine-covered pergola frames a fire pit that serves as an outdoor living room. Other spaces around the property are perfect for reading, sunning, relaxing – and even using the trampoline.
Puny PatioNeil and Susan didn’t put a lot of thought into their original patio – and it shows. Not only is the plain concrete slab barely big enough for a small table and Neil’s hammock stand, it’s also pulling away from the house.
Terrific TerraceBuilt around a four-foot central fountain, the spacious new terrace multiplies the Lockes' outdoor living space with versatile dining and conversation areas. Mature serviceberry trees, which turn a dramatic red in the fall, provide plenty of shade. Bob even replaced Neil's hard-used grill, dubbed Old Sparky, with a state-of-the-art model.
Too Close for ComfortDespite its size, Neil and Susan's large yard didn’t keep the outside world away. They wanted their new landscape to define their property line and block unwanted views like their neighbor’s pool and yard.
Private HavenThe grapevine-covered pergola that surrounds their new fire pit defines the edge of the landscape and helps block unwanted views. Other plantings around the perimeter conceal neighboring yards and buildings while softening the edges of the rectangular property.
Cluttered CranniesThe spaces at the sides of the yard also needed work: For example, the side entrance to the garage served as a catch-all for items that wouldn't fit on the old concrete patio. Neil and Susan wanted a design that would integrate these awkward spaces with the rest of the landscape.
A Room With a ViewThe Lockes' new landscape includes a walkway to the garage's side door plus a small, formal garden tucked away on the opposite side of the house, under Susan's office space. Now, her workday windows overlook a secluded area planted with ornamental grasses, peppers and pansies.