This McLean, Va., home features exceptional views, but a challenge: There was little usable outdoor square footage for play and entertaining. The homeowners tapped Joseph Richardson Landscape Architecture (jrichardsonla.com) to reimagine the area. Pimenta Construction Company handled general contracting (pimentastone.com), and Black Pearl Management (blackpearlva.com) served as the landscape contractor.
Joseph Richardson Landscape Architecture framed the new space with native plantings.
WHAT WE LOVE
Richardson and his team created a sequence of retaining walls, an extended terrace with a lawn for family fun and an infinity pool with water features, a spa and seating areas. The entire space benefits greatly from new native plantings, including winterberry holly, Annabelle hydrangeas, boxwood, fountain grass and pink muhly grass to soften the geometry. Pattern changes in the paving subtly border and define the garden and entertaining areas. A year-round spa doubles as a fountain with water pouring from bronze scuppers set into a wall of Western Maryland stone.
The new outdoor living space now has abundant square footage for entertaining
This combination of patio and outdoor terrace completely transforms a home in Kensington, Md. While the team from GTM Architects (gtmarchitects.com), led by Senior Associate Luke Olson and President George Myers, was required to use materials that fit the historic district’s architectural styles, the homeowners wanted a more contemporary look that served as an extension of their modern interior design. Jennifer Horn Landscape Architecture (jh-la.com) collaborated with GTM on the project.
A series of retaining walls and stairs lead to the recreation area
WHAT WE LOVE
“We’re in a climate that has as many heating days as cooling days, so it’s important to incorporate elements that will allow for both,” says Olson. “Ceiling fans, retractable screens, heating elements—such as outdoor fireplaces, space heaters and fire pits—all make it easier to use the space year-round.” The covered porch off of the family room features retractable screens and large pocket multislide doors that retract into the walls to maximize the clear opening between the family room and the screened porch, allowing the family to use the porch as an extension of the living room when the weather is suitable. Horn’s landscape architectural work extended the outdoor patio deck material into the screened porch, providing a seamless transition between the two spaces.
Stairs are framed by native grasses and trees, and the home benefits from a lush terrace for family fun.
The team from Anthony Wilder Design Build (anthonywilder.com), led by Wilder, architect Marian Vaias, designer Shannon Kadwell and craftsman Steve Spohr, created this “gravilion”—a palatial deck with garage doors—in Potomac. The homeowners wanted a room that didn’t feel like the rest of the home and would be perfect for entertaining. The couple spends lots of time outdoors with their young sons, so connecting with the outdoors is essential.
WHAT WE LOVE
“We didn’t try to parallel the design of the main house,” says Vaias. “The main house looks traditional from the front. The addition off the back was designed to look young, fun and open for adventure.” The garage door provides a large opening for a seamless flow between the indoors and outdoors. The room also allows for large unobstructed views, and there are different areas to mingle, including a grilling porch, the main covered porch and an uncovered deck area with a fire pit. Stairs lead to a flagstone patio.
Photography by: Allen Russ Photography; Stacy Zarin Goldberg; John Cole