This postwar tract house in Bethesda, Maryland had undergone an early 80’s renovation that left a lot to be desired. But the homeowner, who had lived in her house for many years, loved her home with all its quirks and did not want to move. As a prominent world-renowned doctor at National Institute of Health (NIH), she wanted to give her property a look more in tune with her refined and mature perspective.
We started with the front of the house and gave it a facelift that included painting the siding and brick. Then, we planted simple but lush landscaping that was fitting for the neighborhood to set the tone for the property. We used only the highest quality materials to construct the front walk, driveway, and home renovations, resulting in a look that’s subtle yet screams quality in every aspect. At the end of the drive is a classic custom-built gate that leads to a refined garden in the rear yard separate from the public perspective.
Working with the architect who designed the library, we re-designed the garage to reflect the architecture of the house down to the detail of the French doors.
The client desired a large library addition surrounded by gardens that reflected her own love of gardening. We had to excavate into the rear of the hillside to build the library. We used the topography to our advantage to create an upper lawn for her dog.
Sweeping stone walls create the illusion of space and combined with the plantings, create privacy from adjacent neighbors that are in close proximity. The walls also provide the perfect backdrop to a fountain that is centered on the rear window of the library.
Finally, we crafted the outdoor patio with an arbor to create a fresco experience. A few steps up beyond the wall and behind the garage, we created a hidden area with access to an air-conditioned dog house. Plenty of entertaining space, lush gardens, fountains, and stunning landscape architecture define a garden that no one would ever expect in this quaint Bethesda neighborhood.
Though this rear yard looks as natural as if it has always been this way, nothing could be further from the truth. When we first saw the property, the grade sloped right to the rear door where water sat for days when it rained. It also sloped almost seven feet from the house to the rear property line only 38 feet away. Additionally, the yard was a jungle with 14 feet azaleas that engulfed the house and the garage.
The client’s wish list was long and included a great deal of flat space. We accomplished the desired effect by using the rear of the addition to retain the first 30 inches, a stone retaining wall to catch another 30 inches, and sloped planting beds to capture the balance. The retaining wall also serves as a damn that is level from the house perspective, but slopes behind the wall to redirect the water that once flowed into the space. This, and an elaborate BMP now located in the front yard, corrected the water problem.
The garage, however, had problems of its own. It was an old block structure that was buried into the grade and leaked like a civ. So we excavated the entire garage, waterproofed and finished it in three-part stucco, and installed a new roof and trim. The renovation was twice what a new garage would have cost, but renovation was the only way to keep it in this location.
Other difficulties we faced during this home renovation and outdoor patio project included:
Overcoming landscape design challenges like these is all in a day’s work for our company. Our clients seek us out when everyone else has told them they’re crazy. We are passionate about our work and our clients love what we do, making us a top landscape design company serving the Bethesda area.
If you want to renovate your home with a stunning outdoor patio and landscape design like this one in Bethesda or other parts of Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., look no further than Botanical Decorators. View information on some of the awards we’ve earned through the years or contact us to schedule a consultation today.