In 2016, a long time client of ours called me to say, “We’ve purchased our retirement property in Sperryville and the landscape needs a lot of help. Are you interested?” With beautiful views of the mountains and one of the best coffee shops I’ve ever been to, I’m unlikely to ever pass up a Sperryville landscape design opportunity!
She wasn’t kidding about the landscape needing help! The rear yard consisted of a tiny, barely usable deck and then a steep hill that led to deeply tangled underbrush woven amongst tall scrub trees.
The front yard was no prize either. There was no walkway leading to the front door; no indication, in fact, that any visitor would ever need or want to go that direction. Tired, rotting planters were the only feature before we came to another steep hill. While the property had been maintained, the woods were creeping back.
In an amazing twist, my clients bought the home from the estate of the gentleman who built it twenty-odd years before. They not only had the original plans for the house, they had photos of what the site looked like back then. The photos showed tremendous, nearly 270 degree views of the surrounding mountains, and my clients decided to see if they could reclaim those views.
Even as I was beginning the conceptual phase of this Sperryville landscape design project, we had a specialist come out to evaluate the trees that had grown in over the past two decades. After determining what was worth saving and what should be cleared, they got to work.
Sperryville landscape design – The rear yard
Every once in a while the clouds part, and it turns out one of the biggest problems with the site is a huge gift.
In this case, it was the realization that if the deck went all the way to the hill, a seat wall is all that would be needed before making the transition up to the woods.
We built a concrete block wall to hold the slope back, and then veneered the wall with a thin natural stone veneer (no manmade lick and stick stone here!). Painstaking measuring and leveling ensured that everything would be just the right height.
The next step was to extend the the deck all the way to the wall. Because of the age of the existing deck, we ended up replacing many of the joists on that as well.
With the wall and deck complete, we could now begin work on the focal point of the whole rear yard: the water feature. We had the perfect slope to work with; it would have been a shame not to use it!
Since I don’t get to play on machines much these days, I made sure to run up on a quiet Saturday and search the property for large, wonderful boulders.
After a lot of hard work, the rear water feature was complete! Our Sperryville landscape design centers around water feature designed to look like a spring-fed pond.
Managing the water coming down the mountain after a rain proved to be a critical need. Over a hundred yards of topsoil later, we created a gracefully curving swale to divert stormwater away from the house and driveway.
Because no landscape is complete without outdoor lighting, we made sure that this project would look amazing throughout the day and night. Warm LED lights illuminate the paths and water feature, turning the water feature into the living room’s focal point as well.
Sperryville landscape design – the front yard
Out front, what bothered me the most was the lack of any indication to guests where the front door actually was.
Step one was therefore the creation of a new flagstone walkway, with a wide apron adjacent to the driveway that no one could miss. Walking through lush, pollinator-friendly plantings, guests could look down and enjoy views of the enormous water feature.
The view from below helps showcase the scale of this waterfeature. At the top of the hill, adjacent to the front walk, the water flows out of a spillway set in a stacked flagstone wall.
The water meanders through a winding stream and spills into a small pond, that then spills into the larger pond below.
Landscape lighting provides the finishing touch, and helps ensure that guests know exactly where they are supposed to go. With beautiful landscaping and views of the mountains beyond, this property has become the perfect getaway for our clients. I’ll add new pics to this page as the plants fill in, but I already love it. Since we’re out there a fair bit taking care of the landscape, you’ll get to see a bunch of photos if you follow me on Instagram too.
If you’re looking for a beautiful landscape, no matter how big or small, that’s what we’re here to do. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!