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Chester River Home
An eroding, dry, sunny slope was difficult to mow, and carried sediment into the watershed (provided no wildlife value) and was unusable by the homeowners. Existing invasive vegetation blocked views, required constant shearing to clear the stairway access and provided no food source for wildlife.
The design included a free-form terrace with a seat/retaining wall for viewing and a fire pit for gatherings. Sweeps of native and non-invasive plants were designed for year-round interest, biodiversity, erosion control and to reduce maintenance.
The Alexandria Design
Petro Design/Build was called to address ground and surface water in the rear and enhance an uninviting and unsafe front entranceway. The design and plantings were inspired by the homeowners love of Nantucket and mermaids.
The backyard was transformed into a year-round entertaining space with the addition of a fireplace, fountain, terracing and plantings. Fypon shells were included in the front portico design and a welcoming retaining/seat wall provided a ‘hug’ for the visitor as well as seating under the magnificent front Oak tree. A Custom designed gate with an ornamental iron inset entices visitors to enter the curving flagstone walkway leading to the back yard. Plantings include climbing roses, camellias, Sweet Bay Magnolias, Hollies, Boxwoods, Hydrangeas, Catmint, and various perennials.
Groundwater in the rear and side lots made the site uninhabitable and an eyesore from the inside. The pie shaped lot provided an opportunity for a focal point. The client wanted private use areas, entertaining spaces, easy accesses, and better interior views.
Petro designed and constructed stone terraces, walls, a shelf fireplace using a large boulder for the platform, a small stone spa, a circulating fountain with a lead shell spillway and flagstone steps leading to an intricate brocade of cut stone at the property corner to house the client’s future sculpture. Soft lighting allows for evening use and extends the views from the inside. A side walled terrace, off the music room, provides a private gathering area to hear the piano from the inside while breathing in the fragrances of the surrounding hybrid roses. This project was designed to activate all the senses while instilling a sense of calm.
An aging rooftop terrace filled with rotting timbers was unusable and unsightly.
After removal of the existing stained flooring, timbers, and soils, the surface drainage was amended, and new pavers (to complement the existing brick walls) were set on pedestals to allow the water to flow to the existing drain (which was previously blocked).
A lightweight modular wall system was used to build the new planter walls and fireplace. Propane was run to the fireplace for instant heat on faux logs.
A Cedar trellis provided afternoon shade, supported native Trumpet vines, soft downlighting and a buffer from the neighboring roof.
Modular teak components were used for the exterior kitchen and include concrete countertops, storage, gas grill and warming drawers.
Petro Design/Build has converted a small rooftop space into a multi-use family gathering oasis.
Curb Appeal in Alexandria
A steep slope to the front of the house was difficult enough to access with a vehicle. Foot traffic was exhausting and risky. The slope was dry, hot, and eroding.
Petro designed and constructed stone walls and steps to provide easy access to the front door and garage with landings along the way to sit and view the garden. Lighted limestone house numbers inset into the stonework, stone housing for the mailbox, and lighting provided safety, function, and stunning curb appeal.
Plantings included St. John’s Wort, Juniper’s groundcovers, and ornamental grasses to reduce maintenance, stabilize the soils and add year-round interest.