water feature dining table

Culpeper Modern Backyard Landscape Design

This Culpeper landscape design means a heck of a lot to me, because it’s my backyard! After 13 years as the embodiment of the phrase “the cobbler’s kids have no shoes”, I have a space to call my own.

The before

We bought our house (which was built circa 1906) way back in December of 2005. While the prior owners had maintained the landscape, it was nothing special. The shrubs (especially the Manhattan euonymus) were huge, and the backyard was far from a great example of landscape design in Culpeper. The following spring we started the process of ripping everything out.

I hauled a total of 15,000 pounds of concrete to the dump, and there was so much plant debris we hired a tree company to come in and chip it all up. We got it all to a blank slate, ready to go.

And there our yard languished for years. I got a plan together and while we waited to be able to do the hardscape portion, I began adding trees. I designed. Then I redesigned. And I re-re-redesigned.

The final Culpeper landscape design

We knew we wanted a patio. I sold MJ on the idea of a pizza oven, and she was all in on that. The rest of it started to come together the longer we lived here. I found a photo on Pinterest of an outdoor dining table that had a stream running through it, and we decided that was a must. As I developed a deep and meaningful relationship with my grill, I knew an outdoor kitchen with lots of prep space was important. It also had to be relatively low maintenance, and we couldn’t spend a gazillion dollars. Once we got landscape dawg, and then landscape dawg deux, we also knew plenty of grass was important.

[plan drawing]

The finished product – a modern landscape in Culpeper!

Our backyard is built around three main features. The first is the pizza oven. I used a form from Brickwood Ovens to build the oven itself, a brick at a time. Wanting something with a little oomph, I designed a stone surround. Revolutionary Gardens does a lot of masonry work as a Culpeper landscape company, so I wanted the stone to be a key design element.

culpeper landscape design pizza oven

I used a weatherface stone veneer to cover the majority of the oven. The rest is clad with a mix of locally sourced river jack and imported Mexican beach pebbles. I had a local company fabricate a custom-cut piece of granite to close off the front of the oven to help retain the heat. The adjacent outdoor kitchen and prep station is simple, clean, and modern.

outdoor water feature dining table

The second main feature is the water feature table. I opted to keep it simple, to not distract from the other elements of the Culpeper landscape design I was creating. A wood table, stained black, is divided down the middle with a galvanized metal rill that spills into a small pond below.

princess bride custom artwork

For the third element of our Culpeper landscape design, I wanted a ridiculously large piece of art. MJ and I are huge fans of the movie The Princess Bride, so that was a logical subject. There was only one person I wanted to design this for me. Luckily, Tony with K Art and Design was all in on this project, and the team at Xpress Copy did an amazing job installing his design.

princess bride art

It’s important to remember that even though I wanted a polished, unique space, this is still a functional backyard. With no garage on our small property, we need a garden shed. Curved planting beds and a dry streambed connect the shed to the patio, becoming another piece of our Culpeper landscape design.

culpeper landscape contractor

Controlling costs

I’m lucky enough to have a wife who is willing to indulge me a little when it comes to my personal landscape goals. However, I needed to be sensible, which is why we made some concessions to budget,

gravel patio

The most obvious value engineering I did was on the patio construction. The grade of our yard meant that we needed a multi-tiered patio. Pressure treated 6×6 timbers were used, both to border the patios and to create the small retaining walls needed to step with grade. For a patio surface we used a compacted base of 21A, topped with a layer of decorative gravel. By using a ¾” stone instead of a pea gravel, it stays put really well, despite sharing the yard with a big, boisterous dog.

pizza oven culpeper va

With the outdoor kitchen, the biggest cost savings was building the pizza oven from scratch vs using a kit or a drop-in. For the prep area, using the concrete block as a design element, along with the untreated wood slats under the counter, simplified the build and reduced the cost of our Culpeper landscape design.

landscape dawgs

Given that Bonnie and Jazzy seem to approve, I’m going to call our backyard a success!

water feature dining table

What do you want your backyard to look like? We work hard to make sure that every project we design is a perfect fit for clients just like you. I want to know what your dream landscape looks like! Contact me today and let’s start making it a reality.