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Landscape Design Trends: 7 Outdated Landscaping Features to Replace

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Getting the most out of your property boils down to maximizing the space that you have available. That was the case for two Alexandria, VA homeowners, who felt their yard was highly unusable due to being on such a sloped property.

Homeowners Holley and Warren say that they felt frustrated they had a beautiful property but it wasn’t highly functional. Their hilly backyard made it difficult to do much outside.

They were looking for solutions with a new landscape design and installation at their Alexandria, VA home.

Overcoming a Sloped Landscape

When the couple first reached out to Kingstowne Lawn & Landscape, they were worried that a solution would be complicated.

Landscape Designer Amanda McNiff says that it’s not uncommon for homeowners to worry that they won’t have a lot of options for their sloped property.

Fortunately, this isn’t the case at all. There are actually many ways that we can address a sloped landscape.

“I am very comfortable working with a sloping backyard space,” says Amanda. “People often feel it’s going to require a very complicated plan, but it really just requires the right person.”

In this particular case, we were able to cut into the hillside and incorporate a raised planter area. This is a place where they can highlight annuals and even a small waterfall feature that adds some tranquil sound to the space.

Amanda says that what people don’t always consider is that a hilly space can present opportunities that one big flat space cannot. It can add interest and appeal. In this case, it provided the opportunity to create a multi-level entertainment area. Instead of having one big retaining wall, they were able to add two small ones.

The homeowners also did not want the space cluttered with railings. They wanted a clean, contemporary look. That was achieved not only with the design but also with the materials used. They selected more of a smooth stone that compliments the clean lines.

Collaborating on Landscape Design in Alexandria, VA

As with any landscaping project, the entire endeavor was a collaborative effort. Holley says that she had some basic ideas of what she would like the patio design to look like.

pondless waterfall feature with hardscape patio and retaining wall

That was combined with Amanda’s design expertise.

Holley and Warren were also very involved in selecting the materials and the plants for the space. It’s always important for homeowners to be as involved as they desire in the decision-making process so that the end result truly feels like their own.

Warren says that it wasn’t just the hardscaping that helped make the space complete. It was also the new softscaping, too. New trees, shrubs, and plants helped to soften the look of the patio and walkway areas.

These landscaping elements also help make the space more aesthetically pleasing and enjoyable when they spend time outside.

Facing Unexpected Challenges

It’s not uncommon for challenges to arise once a landscaping project is underway. Sometimes you don’t know exactly what you’re facing until excavation begins.

In this case, there was some running water found in the hillside during the excavation process. This had to be addressed to keep the water away from the new entertainment area.

patio paver steps wall waterfall with lawn furniture and planting beds

“We were able to channel that water through a French drain down to a dry well,” explains Amanda. “Mother Nature is going to find a way and go where she wants to go, so it’s better to work with it than against it.”

Not all landscapers in Alexandria, VA are skilled with drainage solutions but they go hand-in-hand with landscaping.

If drainage problems are not solved during the landscape installation process, they run the risk of negatively impacting your new space.

Sometimes, landscapers also create new drainage issues that weren’t previously there during the installation of new features. Hardscaping can create drainage problems if not given the attention it deserves.

This is why it’s so important to choose a landscaper who is familiar with handling drainage, even if you don’t have a current issue. Sometimes problems do not reveal themselves until the installation is already underway.

Enjoying a Highly Functional Landscape Design in Alexandria, VA

Now that the project is complete, Holley and Warren say that they could not be more pleased with the results. They are now using the space more than ever and thoroughly enjoy spending time outside.

paver patio with hardscape wall water feature and landscaping on a sloped hillside

Much of that is thanks to some smart collaborative design decisions.

For instance, the couple included landscape lighting and a fire pit in the design, which has helped them to get even more use out of the space. Warren says that thanks to the landscape lighting, they can use their space in the evening hours. It is safe, functional, and beautiful at night.

Along with that, because of the warmth of the fire pit, they’re able to use their space all winter, too. Everyone can stay warm and cozy by the fire.

With all of these wonderful additions, they went from feeling like they had very little opportunity to spend outside to spending much of their free time enjoying their new space.

Amanda says that happy clients like Holley and Warren are what help inspire her each and every day.

She sums up: “Knowing that they are happy and out here using it so much is the most gratifying part of my job.”

If you’d like more information on an outdoor living project at your home, request a consultation, get your customized plan, and relax while we get to work creating your dream backyard.

Request a Landscape Consultation

Krisjan Berzins - Owner, CEO

Since 1997, Krisjan has led the Kingstowne team with one simple philosophy, treat every customer like the “only” customer. His passionate pursuit of impeccable customer service has resulted in 24 successful years and a thriving company with over 85 employees, helping thousands of homeowners in the Alexandria, Arlington, and Springfield, VA area get what they want -- a worry-free property they can be proud of.