5 Landscape Transformations: From Dreams to Reality

January 03, 2022

January in the Pacific Northwest is a time when even the staunchest of rain lovers can find themselves pining for sunnier days. And though we landscapers don’t mind the rain so much, we’ll admit, things do tend to get a bit soggy this time of year and, well, yards don’t always look their best. Which is one reason we think winter is the best time to plan a yard makeover. That and the fact that spring will actually be here sooner than you think and contractor schedules fill up fast.

So, if you find yourself staring out the window, daydreaming about what your yard could be, we encourage you to get carried away. Imagine what you have always wanted in your yard, what special features would make it more enjoyable, and how a new layout could make it more functional. To help you imagine the possibilities, here are five yard transformations.

  1. From Dilapidated & Dysfunctional to Beautiful & Enjoyable

    before afterObjective: Transform an outdated, dilapidated, and poorly arranged outdoor living space into a functional landscape all can enjoy.

    Challenge: A small rotting wooden deck and a heaving concrete patio needed to be replaced. There was also no access to the lower patio from the deck, and the deck did not take advantage of the lake view. The clients also wanted to increase the size of the guest room balcony, add patio space for their three kids, and incorporate a spot for a hot tub with a view. Access to the site was fairly restricted and the yard was filled with large boulders which were problematic to the client’s vision and design.

    back yard

    Solution: Through several design iterations, the Landscape East & West design team came up with a cohesive plan to increase the deck space, including a catwalk across the back of the house large enough for seating, a stair system to connect the upper deck to the lower patio, an enlarged patio space, and a second raised terrace for the hot tub. The newly released Rio paver color from Belgard and the Melville Tandem retaining wall created a crisp contemporary look for the project and met the client’s personal aesthetic. Timbertech Legacy decking in Espresso and the Impressions railing system played in nicely with the pavers and walls to complete the look.

  2. extended living spaceTransforming the Unusable into an Extended Living Space

    Objective: Create a beautiful and functional outdoor living space for entertaining.

    Challenge: A narrow 25-foot wide urban lot with an unusable sloped yard with no distinctive qualities or design aesthetic.

    Solution: A fresh modern design was drafted to take advantage of the slope and create an inviting courtyard setting. A raised bed with natural stone elements built into the retaining wall was installed to stabilize the slope and frame the concrete pavers. The custom fencing was designed to provide a stylish backdrop as well as increased privacy. A water feature completed the courtyard, which now serves as an extension of the home’s indoor space.

  3. Unifying a Disconnected Yard

    multi level deckObjective: Create a unified yard with designated areas for adults and entertaining, as well as play areas for children.

    Challenge: A run-down bi-level backyard, with a failing staircase that disconnected the upper and lower yards, limited privacy, and offered no space for kids to play.

    Solution: Working with the client’s vision, the designers at Landscape East & West created two distinct spaces that allow the parents to entertain and relax on an expansive upper patio, while the kids play on the lawn below. A wide staircase was incorporated into the design, connecting the two areas both visually and functionally. Raised planters create a buffer between the home and the circulation moving up and down. Additional plant material was brought into the upper dining area for increased privacy and beauty. To reduce cost, the existing stone wall was left in place and integrated into the design.

  4. Steep Hillside Transformationsteep hillside Objective: An inviting and useable backyard suitable for entertaining and the family dog. Challenge: A tight and restricted hillside with lots of shade and no room for a lawn or patio. Solution: The transformation of this yard first called for a leveling of a portion of the hillside, and the installation of a block retaining wall. This expanded the useable space, which then allowed for both a stone patio and a synthetic lawn. Four-season native Pacific Northwest plants helped stabilize the slope, while also adding to the natural aesthetic. A water feature completed the space for the homeowners who now have a relaxing hillside oasis.
  5. Creating a Natural Woodland Oasis in an Urban Setting OasisObjective: Transform a tired, run-down urban backyard into a quaint multi-use wooded and natural-looking landscape. Challenge: Very little lawn and unkempt, overgrown shrubs made the yard feel neglected and unwelcoming. The landscape was not well defined and the overall space was underutilized.Solution: To fully maximize the yard’s potential, different areas were designed to accommodate walkways, a lawn, new garden beds, and an outdoor pavilion for year-round enjoyment. Other special features were incorporated into the design including a fire pit area and a water bubbler. The combined effect was an inviting woodland aesthetic that brought a new level of charm to the yard.

    We understand reimagining the possible in your own yard isn’t always easy, even with the added inspiration you might find in someone else’s yard or in pretty pictures. That’s why hiring a landscape designer is a great place to start. The professional designers at Landscape East & West are used to working with “impossible” yards and turning winter daydreams into summer realities. Contact us today to learn more about the design process and how we can help you transform your landscape in the yard you have always wanted.