Sunken Backyard Patio in Jacob's Springs

Materials: Lumber; Gravel; Stone Dust; Landscape Lighting; Pavers; Wall Block; Drainage Parts; Soil; Seed; Plants; and Mulch.

What to Do...

I scratched my head quite a bit when I first saw this backyard. It was narrow, sloped, and directionless. The previous homeowners before my clients had rocked and planted the space a bit, and it was odd. After mulling over the design and layout for a bit, I got to sketching. Our clients needed a space to hang out in the evenings, relax on the outdoor couch, and possibly enjoy a bit of time around a fire pit.

Up or Down?

The original deck had a set of stairs leading to the side – a little awkward for our plans. We played around with the layout, but quickly realized these deck stairs needed to be turned to allow entrance to the new patio head on. Our second challenge was the falling grade of the yard. We were forced to either build up or go down to construct a level patio space. To accomplish our goal, we decided on the lower patio, cut into the grade of the yard with a small retention wall and stone stairs to hold back the grade.

Natural Looking Patio

The patio needed to have a organic feel- more rustic with a closed in and intimate setting. Sinking the patio below the original base grade was the perfect start. The retention wall also doubled as a seating area, creating plenty of additional informal seating space, especially around the fire pit. We used EP Henry Imperial Cobble pavers with a EP Henry Imperial Rustic Double Faced wall. The EP Henry Coventry Fire Pit finished out the hardscape perfectly and nestled beautifully into one of the curves of the wall we laid out

Some Subtle Lighting

While the walls being constructed, we laid out 8 bronze CAST Classic wall lights. These added the perfect look, not only during the day, but also at dusk and into the evening. They featured a subtle bronze finish with LEDs, which are not too bright, but just enough to keep the conversation flowing well into the night.

Privacy Landscaping

We used the landscape plantings to build an additional wall of privacy and hide this backyard from peering neighbors. We kept the layout extremely simple but bold. We used Endless Summer Hydrangeas to brighten the space with flowers throughout the summer, and planted an outer hedge of Skip Laurels. We used a few Otto Luken Laurels, along with Red Rhododendrons to finish the space out as you head to the bottom of the yard. We started Periwinkle in the corner of the steps to eventually fill in, adding the perfect rustic touch.

Let’s grade it again!

Due to the slight change in the grade of the yard, we needed to regrade and adjust the whole back of the home. We used our power rake to make quick work of the grade, followed by new seed and erosion matting. Once the grade was complete, we finished out the landscaping with aluminum bed edging to permanently lock our bed into shape, and then laid out fresh dyed shredded hardwood mulch.

The Price Tag

Our sunken patio and wall, paired with the staircase relocation, landscaping, and (of course) landscape lighting, brought the total project just short of $35,000. Now complete, this space will add value and quality of life to this home for years to come.

Three Years Later…

Take a look at our check-in with this patio after three years. We deep cleaned and re-applied polymeric sand to the patio. The landscape is really starting to shine!