u2014 ALE: Classic Fireside Getaway -

u2014 ALE: Classic Fireside Getaway

Plantique, INC http://www.plantique.com
Entry Name: Classic Fireside Getaway

2014 PLNA Awards for Landscape Excellence Winner
Category: Hardscaping-Residential $30,000-$60,000
Award Level: Bronze

Photo Description:
The initial call from these homeowners was about a drainage issue. After having installed new roofing, siding, and a new porch enclosure, it was discovered that the original piping for the downspouts had failed. A few recent rainstorms had left a large pool of water behind the house. The new gutters and downspouts were now properly channeling water into a sub-surface piping system that no longer functioned. Obviously this had to be fixed, but after some further discussions, it was suggested that if a cost-effective solution could be found, perhaps a patio could be created along with the drainage solution. This would make the space between the porch and the pool more useful. The surfaces would have to be as kid-friendly as possible, as the homeowners foresaw frequent visits by their grandchildren. The flow of the spaces would have to be such that small bikes would be able to easily maneuver around chairs and tables.
After a site study was conducted, several issues were discovered. Pertaining to the drainage issue, it was determined that the grade sloped directly toward the porch from the pool. This not only channeled water toward the house and porch, but created a dam in an already shallow drainage swale that trapped water off to the side of the porch. Since the soil in this area is predominantly clay, water could sit in that area for days until it drained away. On the aesthetic side, a good part of the house’s façade was brick, the porch floor was brick, the small patio and walkways were brick, and the seating wall next to the pool was brick; there was a lot of brick. The challenge would be to find a cost-effective material that would contrast will with the brick, while creating a functional patio space that also facilitated water drainage.
The solution involved a significant re-grading of the area between the pool and the house, along with the installation of a completely new drain system to channel roof water away from the area. Working with the fixed points of the porch and foundation levels of the home, the slope that pitched toward the house was cut into to create a positive pitch away from the house. This created 20 in. high cut at the furthest point from the porch. To retain this, a segmental retaining wall block was used to form a curved seating wall around a mortared brick fire ring, perfect for evening campfires and marshmallow roasting with the grandchildren. Prior to the patio construction, new subsurface PVC piping was installed to channel water away from the house, under the patio, and to daylight about 100 ft. further into the side yard where it could properly drain. To construct the patio, the existing dry laid brick walks and patio were recycled as a border around a gray colored concrete paver that mimics the look of more expensive PA Bluestone, an often used companion to brick. The smooth surface texture and tight joint provide a barefoot friendly walking surface that stays cooler in the hot summer sun. The patio itself is also pitched so as to drain runoff to the lower end of the yard in case of a failure in the drain piping.
Along with providing several clear pathways between the porch, pool, and driveway the new patio includes an open air dining area, a fire pit area, and a seating/lounging area (not yet furnished at the time of the photo) for larger family gatherings or more intimate dinners and fire-side relaxation.

Photo Credit: Plantique, Mike Wimmer
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