Friday, February 3, 2012

Beauty and Function meet!

Historic neighborhood yards in Baltimore often contain layer after layer of gardens. Often they are a gold mine of old bricks, flagstone, and marble. Sometimes we find old walkways underneath newer walkways as we excavate to put in a new patio or walkway. It is alway an adventure to work with the older gardens. We love to reuse the existing brick from the gardens and use it to redesign a more contemporary garden that better suits today's homeowner's needs and style.

In the garden pictured below from two different perspectives of "Before" had a brick patio and a falling down brick wall that partially enclosed a trash area. The homeowners designed a wonderful new patio with trash area whose angle paralleled the angle of the metal deck. We highly recommend that homeowners with small garden create some kind of at least partially enclosed area for trash cans, be this area made from stone, brick or some kind of fencing material. The garden areas are simply too small for the trash cans not to dominate the scene if they are highly visible.

(Lots of old bricks to work with!)

The new trash can area was created out of recovered old brick which gives it a look that completely harmonizes with the historic style of the neighborhood. The homeowners had a piece of terracotta from the local area, which we set in the brick wall in a way that it could be seen from the patio and deck. We also ran an electrical conduit from the storage area of the house under the patio and to an outlet box in the wall. This will allow the homeowners to have electricity in the garden for use in the patio and for use in landscape lighting if desired. The time to install these types of conduit is while the new patio is going in and not as an afterthought that entails digging up the patio!

The garden also included a small brick area at the rear of the garden that accommodated an old stone bench. The bricks used all came from the original patio that we removed.
Two bluestone step stones lead from the brick area to the larger brick and bluestone patio. The bluestone patio is a combination of 24"x30" full color bluestones between rows of old brick. The entire project, other than the brick wall, is dry-laid meaning no concrete was used.

The final result produced a more spacious, cleaner look, which although reflects contemporary preferences (such as clean lines of bluestone) also does justice to the historic integrity of the neighborhood. Trash cans are neatly hidden behind a functional brick wall that due to the old brick and terracotta is also an artistic focal point! Here beauty and function meet!