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Grandma's Garden

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For years the owners of this Waukesha residence lived with a plain, boring concrete patio space that was more dog kennel than anything else.  After the kids moved out these empty nesters decided it was time to renovate the patio so when the kids and their families came to visit they would have a comfortable, more welcoming space to gather in.  The homeowners criteria for the project included:

-          Shade for the patio

-          Incorporate green space around the patio

-          Utilize more attractive patio material than gray concrete

-          Replace existing rotting timber walls with more appealing, permanent material (border garden)

The homeowners were excited to get started and they had a budget of $20,000 - $25,000 to spend on the project.

While this project wasn’t very large, it did have some challenges to overcome.  One of the first design challenges was coming up with a way to hide the unsightly well in the middle of the patio space.  The landscape architect came up with the idea of a hollow bench/table structure that would be placed over the well.  Since being put in place it has become a popular spot for potted plants and snacks during get togethers.

Another significant challenge was melding the new patio space with the existing modular block retaining wall.  The existing wall was to remain in place due to budgetary constraints.  The shape of the wall is a lazy curve that is not complementary to strong shapes or forms.  The landscape architect decided the best approach was to design the patio to be independent of the wall and create a planting space that separates the two elements.  The plantings that were installed by the homeowner do a fantastic job of creating a buffer.

Perhaps the most critical challenge of the project was drainage.  The large patio was virtually flat, making it difficult to move water away from the house.  The landscape architect decided to raise the patio up 6”.  This not only improved pitch, it also allowed for the elimination of one step out of the house.  The homeowners appreciate the new, more comfortable transition.

In the end, the project was a huge success.  The homeowners use the new space all the time and are constantly amazed with the transformation.  Most importantly, newly retired Grandma now has more space to utilize her green thumb!