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Landscape Design in Reading, PA Wins NALP Award of Excellence

Posted On: August 17,2017 By: Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

Every project we do at Earth, Turf, & Wood is exciting for us since it means we get to help bring our clients backyard dreams to life. But some projects certainly stand out.

This project, completed just outside of Reading, PA is one such endeavor. In addition to providing beauty and functional use to this client's backyard, this project received two significant recognitions on the national stage.

Since the hardscaping featured beautiful examples of what E.P. Henry has to offer, this manufacturer featured the project in its 2018 product catalog which is used by thousands of landscape contractors around the world. As a longtime client of E.P. Henry, we were thrilled to see our team's hard work on display for all to see.

NALP-award-excellence-goldThen in late 2018, the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) also granted the team at Earth, Turf, & Wood the Gold Award of Excellence for this project. Our team is grateful and humbled to receive yet another significant recognition for our work.

With a pool, spa, patio, retaining walls, walkways, steps, lighting, a pavilion, outdoor kitchen, and more, this project basically features a little bit of everything we do.

If you’re looking for a landscape design for your Reading, PA home, or its surrounding areas, some of these features just may give you ideas for your own property. Take just a few moments and learn more about this exciting project.


Creating an Entertainment Hotspot with Landscaping and Hardscaping in Reading, PA

The homeowners of this Reading, PA area project are big on entertaining. While they had spent a lot of time renovating the inside of their home to accommodate parties and guests, the outside was still in need of an update. They had an outdated pool with tiles popping off and some of the elements, such as the pool decking, needed some attention.


Some of these issues, such as steps that were too steep, actually posed a hazard. The homeowners wanted a complete revamp of their pool, and its surrounding areas, as well as some exciting additions like a pavilion and outdoor kitchen in order to bring their outdoor living area up to the same quality as the rest of the property.

In addition to replacing the tile and pool decking, we also designed and built a sun shelf in the pool, which is a great space to set up a lounge chair and relax. In the adjacent raised spa, we replaced the cracking tile with natural stone and also added sheer descent waterfalls with water flowing from the spa into the pool. The homeowners also wanted to incorporate some sort of fire feature into the landscape design for their Reading, PA home so we added fire bowls which add some special ambiance in the evening hours but are appealing in daylight as well.


Outside of the pool, we were charged with the challenge of increasing the “entertain-ability” of the space. That’s where the timber frame pavilion and the outdoor kitchen came into play, as well as a nearby quoit court and pizza oven.

Since it is quite a bit of distance from the home, it was important that the kitchen was very self-sufficient so that there was no need to run back and forth from the home. Therefore, the kitchen features many amenities including 3 refrigerators, a sink, a power burner, a grill, built-in trash containers, and weather-proofed shelving units to store items like plates and napkins.

Hardscaping and landscape design in Reading, PA featured in EP Henry Catalog.

A lot of thought went into the landscape design for this Reading, PA project. The “lazy Z” shape of the kitchen was intentional so that when the chef was standing at the grill, he or she would still be able to see and interact with people at the spa, the pizza oven, or even the nearby quoit court. Many lines of sight connect one space to the next so that even though the layout is expansive, it’s still very interactive. This is important since the homeowners do entertain large groups quite frequently.

Hardscaping and landscape design in Reading, PA featured in EP Henry Catalog.

Included underneath the pavilion was also a fully-equipped entertaining and lounging area, big enough to house comfy furniture and an outdoor fireplace with attached TV. The pavilion’s audio and video equipment cabinetry also conveniently locks with an integrated key fob to keep it secure since it’s a good distance from the house.


The Right Materials for This Landscape Design in Reading, PA

With so many renovations being done around the entire property, it was important that the outdoor areas we were revamping integrated nicely with everything else. We worked hard to pull in materials that really complemented the existing colors and materials around the rest of the property, including the home itself.

Some of the features, such as the fire bowls and the border around the spa, needed to be constructed from natural stone in order to hold up to the wear and tear of fire and water. But we also used a lot of EP Henry products including Bristol Stone I in the pool decking and Devon Stone in the pavilion.

There are also a lot of personal touches incorporated into this project. With any landscape design, we work very closely with the client in order to truly customize it to their needs. This particular homeowner loved France and the fleur-de-lis symbol, so that is incorporated in a water wall feature that we custom designed.

Hardscaping and landscape design in Reading, PA featured in EP Henry Catalog.

Water trickles over a natural stone tile behind the fleur-de-lis symbol in this pondless waterfall design that is even illuminated at night with energy efficient LED landscape lighting. The clients also really loved Tiffany-blue hydrangea, so we incorporated many of them, as well as a lot of other plant materials, into the overall design that is also lit with professional grade lighting for nighttime enjoyment. We listen closely to our clients wants and needs and incorporate these kinds of features that make the space truly their own and one they can enjoy 24 hours a day.

Other details of this project included revamping some existing fish ponds and also providing a brand new walkway and steps leading guests down to the space. A takeaway lesson from these small, but important, additions is that “no space should be forgotten.”

Hardscaping and landscape design in Reading, PA featured in EP Henry Catalog.

We often see homeowners revamp one section of their outdoor space only to leave other sections untouched. Though those other spaces may not be used as much, it can really impact the overall look of the finished project. Instead of just making one corner of the property nice, look at the big picture for a truly completed space.


Choosing a Landscaping Company for Your Outdoor Project

It’s probably not a surprise to learn that there aren’t many landscaping companies in Reading, PA that could complete a project of this magnitude. That’s where Earth, Turf, & Wood is different. We can complete a large-scale project like this from start to finish instead of requiring you to hire a bunch of different companies for different parts of the construction and design.


One of the biggest benefits of having the same company complete everything from start to finish is being able to focus on the big picture. Using a landscape contractor in Reading, PA or surrounding areas with a Registered Landscape Architect will help ensure that one area of the property flows nicely to the next and that it all comes together in a complementary way.

For a project of this magnitude, it’s essential to start planning at least 4-6 months ahead of time. There are many steps and many important decisions that make the process take much longer than a simple backyard patio.


Enjoy the Video Featuring this Project!


If you liked this Reading, PA area project, or perhaps one of its features, we can help create something similar for you.

As you begin to think about features you’d like to add to your own landscaping or hardscaping project, we’d love to offer some suggestions and share some of our ideas.

No matter what the size or scope of the project, it’s the joy of helping make our clients’ dreams a reality that we enjoy the most and the best reward we could ask for.

If you’d like to start the conversation about your next outdoor living project in Reading, Lancaster, Lebanon, Hershey, or York, PA, contact us for a free consultation or give us a call at (717) 276-9447.


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Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

Written by Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

Mary Hatch Dresser is a Registered Landscape Architect with a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia School of Environmental Design. Mary has designed landscapes for 32 years and joined ETW exclusively in 2009. Mary is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA); and also serves on the Shade Tree Committee in Strasburg Borough where she resides. Mary prides herself in carefully listening to her clients to professionally meld their ideas and personal criteria with sound, experienced design practice.

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Serving Southeast Pennsylvania including: Lancaster, Reading, Lebanon, York, Hershey, Harrisburg and surrounding areas.