Severe water damage at this Avondale Estates home made the backyard and sideyards nearly uninhabitable. Frequent flooding of their basement meant that the homeowners not only had issues to contend with inside their home — they also weren’t able to enjoy any of their outdoor space.
The owners saw this as an opportunity to not only fix the drainage issues but to also design a relaxing space to enjoy with their pets, family, and friends.
The design of this intimate suburban backyard is as charming as it is functional.
One of the most important aspects of the design is hidden from plain sight. A large drainage system surrounds the home. Known as French drains, these trenches are filled with gravel or rock with a perforated pipe inside and redirect surface water into a series of underground collection boxes throughout the property.
While the backyard is small, there’s no denying that it’s beautiful. The mountain landscape at the homeowners’ mountain vacation home was a big source of inspiration for the design. Design features include…
- Concrete paver patio, natural stone sitting wall & wood-burning firepit — Perfect for gathering around with friends and loved ones.
- Night-lighting — The landscape can be enjoyed late into the evening.
- Specialty plants — The evergreens, Japanese maple trees and a rare weeping redbud were chosen by the homeowner. We then designed around these plant selections!
- Smart irrigation controls — A “smart” controller controls when plants and turf are watered based on local weather conditions.
The major challenge was figuring out how to stop the excess water from causing damage. To help with drainage, the natural stone sitting wall around the firepit is dual-purpose. It’s wonderful for sitting near the warmth of the flames but also acts as a natural barrier to excess water, redirecting it to the drains we installed. Underneath the back deck, a drain-line for the drainage system had to be hand-dug to a depth of four feet!
Making the space pet-friendly also presented challenges. To give the homeowners’ three energetic dogs access to their own space to play and do their business, we installed a privacy fence between the front and back sections of the backyard with a small cutout window so the dogs could easily access both spaces. Natural mulch and pet-friendly hardscaping materials make it safe for all furry friends.