Client: The Hamptons


On Initially meeting the Hamptons in their beautiful new home they just finished remodeling the interior. The exterior landscaping felt far from calling their home a home… The meeting first started off with their expressions and sentiments of not having a green thumb… and not knowing much about landscaping. The present situation had a laundry list of problems and issues to deal with.

Here are some of the challenges:

  • Poorly built retaining wall w/no drainage system made from a mix of bricks, CMU, mortar and a failing over chain link fence on top. Step too close to the chain fence and the ground would shift beneath your feet, which presented a treacherous fall down 20ft or so in elevation.
  • Invasive weeds, vines, and unwanted shrubs
  • Multi-terrace backyard with about 30 steps to first landing area.
  • Lack of machine use
  • Limited space for vehicle and truck parking
  • Shade

To tackle this landscape we sat down and had a conversation about their goals for their family, and what type of use and function they would like to utilize the space to enjoy… At the end of the conversation we decided coming up with a complete design would be the best solution. So while keeping their initial budget of 25K in mind we were able to design with different phases broken down for the client.

On the second meeting we sat down with them in their beautiful screened in porch, which overlooked the backyard while speaking about the future. We presented our initial thoughts of spacing location and order of events we could foresee taking place. We were proposing:

  • Level turf areas- for kids to play and dog to run
  • Outdoor flagstone patio for fire pit area
  • Pressure treated wooden retaining walls and steps
  • Replace of old rotted planter beds
  • Transition from deck area to backyard steps
  • Hill/soil stabilization w/ ground cover, trees and shrubs
  • Increased height dry-stacked stone wall semi-wet stack wall with drainage behind it to ensure stability (it was currently built low, and excess soil would migrate over the top, only a matter of time before it would fail with no drainage system in place.)
  • Raised garden bed for small vegetables and herbs to be grown.

The initial phase was demolition and removal of old structures, shrubs, and debris.

The second phase was to start at bottom of hill and work our way back up to the top of the backyard. This was done to increase efficiency and also avoid disturbing or littering any of the new landscape. We started with all solid structures retaining walls, patio, dry stack stone wall extension, steps, raised garden bed, plants, trees, ground cover, soil amendments, sod, and mulch.

Certain unexpected challenges came up while the project was occurring. The biggest was the historic amount of rainfall in 100 + years in Virginia. This limited which pieces of the project we could work on. We communicated to the Hamptons and explained the extraneous circumstances as we were working.

Took about 2 months to complete the project. Total project was around $35,000. Upon completion, we gave written watering instructions for maintenance of sod, plants, and trees. We also did a final walk-through to educate about maintenance of new landscape and address any final questions or concerns. They now have a new functional backyard space which they use for playing with their dog, sitting around a fire with friends at night on their patio, gardening, and a beautiful mix of colors from the plants, trees, and shrubs.

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