Landscape East & West’s Backyard Hardscape Project Wins Contractor of the Year from the NARI

March 01, 2023

Landscape East & West received the regional 2023 Contractor of the Year Award from the Pacific Northwest chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). Our hardscape re-design of a private backyard won in the category of Residential Landscape Design/Outdoor Living Under $100,000.

Overall, the project presented several unique challenges but also had an element of collaboration between the Landscape East & West team and the homeowner. These are the types of projects we love, and we are beyond honored to be recognized by the NARI Pacific Northwest chapter for our efforts! Here are the details of the project, including before and after images.

The Project Setting for this Hardscape Re-Design

This backyard is a typical suburban sloped lot common in the Portland area due to its volcanic history and uneven terrain. These backyards generally leave the homeowner with a tiny patio in a big, but otherwise unusable space. Landscape East & West was therefore tasked with reclaiming usable space through paving and multi-level design. This terrain makes for the perfect hardscape design, and hardscape planning can help remedy the unevenness of the yard.

This project was a test of Landscape East & West’s decades of experience in landscape services, as all of the materials for the build needed to be delivered through side yard access that was less than 4 feet wide, with 9 feet of total drop from front to back. Landscaping rocks and stones were carefully brought through this space, and we prevented any damage to the home in the process, in part by removing an existing stone paver staircase. The existing gravel along the narrow side entry pathway also presented challenges as it could become unstable while heavy pieces were being brought to the backyard. However, Landscape East & West was able to manage this, and upon completion of the project, we re-installed the steps along the pathway and fortified them – they look like new! 

Collaborating on Backyard Landscaping Ideas with the Homeowner

Our client was seeking an Oregon high desert resort aesthetic where they could entertain friends, relax in the hot tub or by the fire pit, and get more use from the large space. They had a vision but were short on specifics, and that’s ok! Landscape East & West can provide plenty of landscaping ideas. Our expert project managers can survey the space and understand limitations such as irrigation and property lines. In this case, we had a strong starting point because the client already had an idea for their backyard that was compatible with the terrain.  The plan was for a solid hardscape that included river rock landscaping and low-maintenance native plants for the backyard.

We were able to manage the slopes of the backyard in a way that now looks natural and manageable. The best part for the homeowner? Less mowing on uneven ground. This means more time for relaxation and entertaining around the new fireplace, and the newly-installed hot tub. 

Backyard Hardscape Features

In order for the hardscape design to look natural, the plants, soil, pavers, stones, and all other aspects of the build needed to look like an accurate representation of the climate with sophisticated and intelligent design. 

We were able to design and build a fun and functional space that the clients and their friends have been enjoying ever since. The hardscape design features native Oregon plants like rhododendrons and irises, multiple French drains along the edge of the patio (these are designed to fit into the landscape without being obvious drains), natural stone, and elegant patio furniture.

Landscape East & West was also able to utilize an existing retaining wall near the firepit area. When the hardscape project started, there was simply a dirt path in front of the retaining wall that later continued around the back fence. This area was planted with Oregon native plants and now features nutrient-rich soil and solar lighting.

The goal of this project was never to fully level the yard, but rather to work with the yard’s dimensions in order to increase usable space. The yard still has a small slope gradient that subtly drops from the back door of the home all the way to the fence. However, thanks to the pavers and pathways we installed, the homeowner can safely navigate the yard and enjoy the space.

Don’t Know What to do with Your Uneven Backyard Landscape?

We love making your design/build dreams a reality. From hardscaping to event location design to erosion prevention features, Landscape East & West is ready to help you create the outdoor living area you’ve always wanted. Call us at (503) 256-5302 and let’s get started on your project today!