Idyllic Backyard Retreat

Idyllic Backyard Retreat

Enjoy Al Fresco Dining
Enjoy Al Fresco Dining
For this modest home in Silver Spring, Maryland, we created an idyllic outdoor retreat with strong indoor-outdoor connections.  Shown above is the al fresco dining room — with walls of foliage and cedar — in the fence and pergola.  The room’s ceiling is suggested by the open cedar rafters off the house, a cedar pergola and an umbrella. The flooring is Trex decking at grade level.  We created a curved stream of river rocks to blend the decking into the landscape – see below.  The back of the yard is anchored by a large maple tree and an existing shed.  A  simple curve of grass ties together the beds, the gravel and the decking.  A new curved stone wall encloses the parking pad — keeping the car out of the living area.  The car that’s currently parked on the pad is almost invisible.  Lower stone retaining walls replace old timber retaining walls.
Decking Integrated Into the Landscaping
Decking Integrated Into the Landscaping

Stone Wall to Hide Parking Pad with Stone Retaining Walls
Stone Wall to Hide Parking Pad with Stone Retaining Walls

Focal Point Connects Indoors & Out  - Stool for Cat to View Territory
Focal Point Connects Indoors & Out – Stool for Cat to View Territory
There is a strong connection to each of the rooms that enters onto the garden room — the kitchen, the dining room and the media room.  The river of gravel helps create a strong focal point from the kitchen/breakfast area door.  The thoughtful homeowners keep a low table by the window so their cat can lounge while keep on eye on his territory.

Backyard "Before"
Backyard “Before”
Above and below are a set of before and after shots.  In the after shot, I’m standing right next to the shed that you can see in the before shot.  While the new deck is only about 2ft deeper — it feel much more expansive because we’ve raised it to grade level and merged it with the surrounding landscape.  We changed the roofline of both side and back existing additions and joined them with open rafters to create more connection to the landscape.  We shortened the driveway and isolated it from the landscape with a 4ft high stone wall.  The dirty white aluminum siding was replaced with a silver/grey fiber cement siding.  This makes the window trim standout and helps give the facade definition.  We used square structural fiberglass columns that match ones used on the new front porch to create architectural interest and continuity.  The columns further define the outdoor rooms.

Back Yard "After"
Back Yard “After”
Enjoy the gallery, below, with additional custom details.
All images courtesy of Braitman Design/Build


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