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Back yard renovation can quite often be a huge eye opener. Andrew Landscape Construction helps homeowners throughout the Inland Empire, Orange County and into parts of Los Angeles County with their landscape remodels. We recently completed a small project in the City of Claremont that involved some demolition and a lot of redesign imagination. In the before photo you can see how someone used railroad ties to build a small retainer wall. Maybe the retainer looked okay 25 years ago, but now, oh my goodness! They also had some very interesting concrete things to extend the little retainer wall. I guess these materials did the job, but they certainly were nothing to look at. Today’s homeowners want to be able to use their back yard for entertainment and just relaxing after a long day at work. When it looks bad, you can feel like you’re sitting in the alley behind some industrial building, and that’s not very enjoyable!
Most of us will look at something like that in our back yard and think there is no way this area can ever be anything close to acceptable. But guess what? It can be fixed! You just need to call Andrew Landscape. This Claremont family was looking at their mess and knew it could be made better, but needed help to make it happen. Their dream was to make the area into a nice outdoor living space. They didn’t care about an outdoor kitchen or bar or fire pit, they just wanted to make the useless back yard into something nice looking and usable.
Those old retainer walls had to come down, (before someone got hurt). Our clients wanted to turn the area into a nice sitting/dining area. Here again, they weren’t interested in anything too fancy, just making the area clean and comfortable. Due to the grade changes between the homes, we had to replace the small retaining wall, but this time we used a mortar less stacking block provided by Belgard USA. For the sitting and dining area we wanted to use pavers rather than concrete. Belgard mortar less stacking block is a nice split face style block that looks a little like the old Celtic walls and looks great next to the pavers. By the way, the pavers were provided by Orco Pavers. The retainer wall also provided some extra sitting room in the sitting/dining area since we built the wall at about 24” high along that area. This paver area wasn’t huge do to space limitations. But now we have room for a small dining table and chairs and seating for maybe 10 to 15 along the wall.
Of course, we needed to install new plant material. Andrew Landscape installed plants to provide for color, height and scent. Star Jasmine will provide some wonderful summertime fragrance. Day Lilies and Agapanthus will have beautiful flowers down at the lower levels of the dining area. In the back, we have some Hibiscus to provide for a much taller screen and great flowers and don’t forget the Leptospermum and the little Polygala’s. All the new plant materials and some of the old ones are now being irrigated with a drip irrigation system. We love using drip irrigation in planters like this. No more water spraying onto the pavers, concrete, decomposed granite and especially not on the Redwood fencing. This type of irrigation is also far more water efficient. When we finish installing the drip irrigation that is normally provided by Rainbird Irrigation, Roberts and Netafim we top dress all the planters with a shredded wood. Top dressing provides a very clean and finished look and, of course, helps hide all the drip tubing and sometimes the landscape lighting wire. While always looking good, top dressing also helps the soil retain much of the moisture being provided by the drip irrigation. That sun can be brutal!
Speaking of landscape lighting – please remember that any landscape job, especially when it’s a back yard living space, can be turned into a beautiful night time living space with some landscape lighting. You will be amazed how the lighting will totally change your day time space into a great night time space. An entirely new and different area can be created with the addition of landscape lighting. Recently we have moved to using LED lighting and I must admit the difference is dramatic. Fixture cost is still higher than incandescent lighting, but the installation cost is a little less because of transformer size and wire size requirement differences between the two bulb types. You will also find some pretty amazing warranties from some of the fixture manufactures such as Kichler Lighting. Give Andrew Landscape a call and we’ll help walk you through all the new changes that are happening. Let us help you create that dream garden or outdoor living space you’ve been thinking about. Happy summer time living!