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Reading, PA Landscape Design Case Study: From Fixing Patio Problems to Perfecting Outdoor Living

Posted On: June 28,2019 By: Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

It can be frustrating when a finished area begins to have problems—particularly if it was the result of improper construction. Even if you love how an outdoor living area looks, you want it to function well, too.

That was the case at this Reading, PA home.

The home’s hardscaped courtyard was experiencing some major problems. While the homeowners appreciated the contemporary look and design of their space—as their entire home had a modern flair—its functionality was quickly declining. 

This project was in need of a major renovation. And at the same time, the homeowners were also looking to add to what was already there.

A Contemporary Landscape Design in Reading, PA

This home had an existing courtyard area with a brick patio and built-in spa and the owners wanted to add a new covered kitchen area. However, the brick surface of the patio was in disrepair and had a number of issues that needed to be corrected. 

Most notable was a drainage problem. Because the patio was uneven due to settling issues, water was pooling in the recessed areas. It was also difficult to traverse and not as aesthetically appealing now that the patio had a look of “waviness” to it.

For these reasons, this landscape design in Reading, PA began as a design project but quickly became a renovation project with existing areas being repaired. Because the brick patio’s base was compromised, that meant re-building it almost from scratch. 

While the patio design was altered a bit, all existing brick material was re-used. This was important to the homeowners, who were eco-minded and valued the ability to re-use the bricks rather than discard them. The solution also required a new grading plan that would correct all drainage issues. 

Renovation Turns to New Additions

The renovation work required quite a bit of problem identification followed by corrective construction. As the project progressed and the homeowners were happy with the new look, they started to desire more. This led them to request new additions.

In addition to adding an outdoor kitchen for their Reading, PA home and rebuilding their patio, the homeowners decided that they would also like to add a fire feature to make their space more complete. 

patio fire feature in Reading, PA

The fireplace is gas-powered and adds a sense of ambiance to the space. In addition, the kitchen features a large grill along with a burner and plenty of storage drawers. It’s a sleek, stainless steel kitchen; Perfectly suited the homeowners’ style. The kitchen features outdoor lighting that makes the space highly usable.
brick patio with outdoor kitchen in Reading, PA

The flat roof over top of the kitchen area has a waterproof membrane with internal downspouting and was designed to compliment the contemporary nature of the space. The roof-covered outdoor kitchen area also allows for a table for dining al fresco, regardless of weather conditions.

Updating the Front and Side Yards, Too

As the new kitchen took shape, the homeowners also decided they wanted two additional areas of the property renovated. A flagstone stepping stone path connected the driveway to the newly renovated courtyard. But it was poorly drained in some areas and difficult to traverse. 

As a replacement, flagstone sidewalks were added to this area (again, re-using the flagstone that was already there with sustainability in mind). One of the new walkways now connects the front driveway to the back courtyard. Another also extends around to connect to a sound studio, where one of the two homeowners (an accomplished musician), works on his music.

flagstone walkway and plantings

The front yard also required some updating. Timber edging around everything, which looked very dated. A design that enhanced the contemporary features of the house was implemented.

A new brick retaining wall in the front yard solved some drainage issues and also allowed for a large planter containing seasonal flowers to be placed on display. That platform area could also feature a statue if the homeowners want to change their front yard display. Lighting was added to the front yard retaining wall area.

In addition, flagstone was used to create a unique front hardscaped area that was attached to the driveway.

flagstone walkway with brick wall lighting

As a whole, the front yard was a difficult project that required some ingenuity. The house, in general, had grading and drainage issues; The front yard was no different. With some troubleshooting and creativity, the front yard renovation resulted in a transformed front entrance space.


Working with a Patio Company in Reading, PA

It is commendable that these homeowners recognized that their patio needed major renovations in order to repair work that was not done correctly in the first place. They knew that they needed to find the right company that could identify all of the problems and correct them so that they wouldn’t be back at square one with more issues down the road. 

brick patio with outdoor kitchen and spa in Reading, PAThe homeowners were pleased that we didn’t just put a “Band-Aid over their problems,” but instead got to the bottom of what was causing them—and then addressed all of the concerns.

Of course, had the homeowners just searched for “patio contractors near Reading, PA” and picked any old company, they might not have gotten the same results. But our team at Earth, Turf, & Wood is well-versed in dealing with difficult properties and troubleshooting (and solving) problems. On top of that, we also perform custom work and design outdoor areas that fit any given design style—in this case, contemporary design.

Oftentimes, renovation work turns to exciting landscape design additions. There are often ways to make a space even better and to enhance what is already there. That was definitely the direction that this project took as the homeowners decided to add features such as an outdoor kitchen, fireplace, and lighting, that were not there before.

It is always our goal to work with the specific wants and needs of our clients and to offer our own solutions and ideas that will make the space even better. These homeowners had some very specific ideas but were also open to suggestions that we made. In the end, the project came together in a way that fulfilled everything the homeowners were looking for—and more.

If you’d like to start a conversation about how you can bring your outdoor dreams to life at your Reading, Lancaster, York, Lebanon, or Hershey, PA home, 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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