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American University Park Rear Garden

The homeowners contacted GreenHeart, LLC to design a renovation to their once-pleasant garden. Their lawn had gotten weed-infested, but more importantly, it was graded so poorly that in a heavy rainstorm, water rushed down their exterior basement steps. The tiny stoop outside the kitchen door was aging, and the poorly-stacked stone retaining wall was beginning to fail. They take good care of their trees and shrubs and had good screening from their neighbors in place. Some plants were overused, although we were able to re-purpose a number of the Nandina domestica in the side yard (not pictured) and a few Boxwood where we wanted evergreen interest.

We chose to eliminate the drainage problem by adding a step to the basement's stairway, thus raising the grade by just over 6”. This enabled us to lose a step down from the screened porch and from the new deck, the latter of which was enlarged to allow for the use of a grill just outside the kitchen door. Pots of herbs and colorful annuals now make their home on the deck, as well.

The homeowners wanted to retain some lawn, and our main design concept sprang from the shape of the existing flagstone patio and the seat wall beyond. The patio was almost but not quite a capsule shape, so we designed a new lawn in the shape of a capsule, and had our masons refine the shape of the wall as they rebuilt it more professionally.

Although the home is a classic Washington Colonial, the homeowners have more contemporary taste. Eric Wasli of SDF Builders installed the new deck and steps from the screened porch, using Feeney’s cable rail system.

The project was originally to be installed in 2020 but Covid-19 squashed those plans. The project was one of the first installed in the Spring of 2021, by MMV Landscaping and Stonework. That extra time allowed the homeowners to decide that, while the rear yard was going to be disturbed, they might as well run a new electric line to their garage off the rear alley, to accommodate a future electric vehicle.

Olson Weaver Lighting Design and Installation did the exterior lighting, and Infinite Electric installed the line.

American University Park Rear Garden