Tag Archives for " culpeper landscape design "

Space Planning to Make a Beautiful Vienna Virginia Backyard Better

I’m often called in to make an existing landscape function better. The client doesn’t to rip it all out and start from scratch, but they need to fix… something. Usually it’s my job to figure out what that something is.

This project is a great example. You can see in the photo above that they have a cool little water feature, built with big chunky boulders. It’s a great feature but you can only see it well as you come in the back gate and sort of ok from the screen porch. From the deck, this is all you see:

Because of the railing and the massive yews, you’d hardly know there was running water there. As a result, I made the decision to eliminate the railing and yank out the yews and extend a level area closer to the pond.

It’s completely changed the dynamic of the space. Now the water feature is part of the deck space and the small seating area is simultaneously its own space and a means of enlarging the deck. This project is an example of how you don’t need to spend a ton of money to create a large change.

Should I Build a Fire Pit or a Fireplace?

I meet with a fair number of homeowners who say “I either want a firepit or a fireplace.” This uncertainty is actually a great place to start discussing how they’re going to use the space and how much they’d like to invest in the space,Continue reading

Travertine Paver Patio Installers in Virginia – What to Know

When I was designing landscapes in Arizona, one option we had available to us was travertine marble tile. These were actual tiles – typically 12″x12″ and less than a half inch think – so they had to be laid in a mortar bed on a concrete slab. Shortly after landing in Virginia in 2005, I started seeing travertine pavers make an appearance.

These are really cool because they’re an inch thick and are laid just like a concrete paver. You build up with a base layer of compacted gravel (21A or crusher run), then use a one inch layer of sand as your bedding layer. Once the pavers are in place they’re compacted and polymeric sand is swept into the joints. That’s it. It’s a beautiful finished product that has the ability to flex and move like a traditional concrete paver patio in Virginia. From the test data I’ve seen online, travertine pavers have a compressive strength similar to concrete pavers and can even be used for driveways!

The biggest challenge I’ve found with designing travertine paver patios in Virginia is making the materials make sense. Travertine in California or Arizona doesn’t look out of place. It can look a little foreign here, though. I recently designed a fireplace, seat wall, and travertine paver patio as part of a winery landscape design project. I used a plum-colored flagstone to tie in with the warm tones of the travertine and the rich reddish colors in the fireplace stone, and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. All those color theory classes have finally paid off.

I’m starting my next travertine paver patio project this week, and I may have one more in the pipeline as part of a swimming pool project. The travertine pavers are a great product that (unlike concrete pavers and flagstone) aren’t in every other backyard. Making it work requires someone who can integrate this new material in the landscape design while blending all the colors harmoniously. In other words, you need a landscape designer. Contact me to set up a consultation if you’re looking to build a travertine paver patio in Virginia, Maryland, or DC and I’ll be happy to talk with you about it!