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Riestenberg Outdoor Living Space

The Objectives:

To design a new outdoor living area that would improve the limited accessibility to the back door while creating a new and fun covered setting for a grill and fire pit.

The Challenge:  

The original dilapidated concrete steps that went down to the back yard gave way to an awkward entry and exit to and from the back door. The interior back yard space was a weedy mess with large gravels strewn around a mature and beautiful Sugar Maple Tree.  With absolutely no order or definition in the back yard, it was difficult to discern what was intended to be landscape area, hardscape area, and lawn space.

The Design Solution:

The Riestenberg home was a designers dream.  A longstanding residence in the historic Sequoyah Hills neighborhood, its charming architecture offered plenty of appetite for complementing its inherent characteristics.  The back yard was literally a clean slate, and access to the house was in desperate need of improvement.  Being such a cute and young family with a deep love of nature and the outdoors, the Riestenbergs were very enthusiastic about hearing ideas of a Natural Flagstone patio that would surround their awesome maple tree; it was obvious that this tree would be the centerpiece of the patio footprint. The importance of the Maple tree inspired us to design a permeable patio that wouldn’t restrict the tree from accessing the same water supply it had grown accustomed to.  Transitioning from the main floor level to the Stone patio was made possible with a custom trex deck with wide and accessible stairs both top and bottom.  The deck accommodates a covered grill and countertop with a custom bar countertop stemming out around the deck perimeter.  The cantilevered bar area created the perfect view of the new landscape surround that would tie it all together.

The Installation Approach:

Engaging our landscape architect in this project was a key step to provide detailed construction plans.  After using the plans to set our posts for the deck, it was time to carefully excavate around our large Maple tree while the patio subgrade was taking shape.  A deeper base material layer was critical to create the permeable layer so the tree could drink.  Once it was all set to a level grade we began laying the large flagstone slabs.  Seat Boulders around both the inside perimeter (around the tree) and the outside edge were a perfect accent offering the Riestenbergs permanent seating with a natural, rustic flare.  Once the heaviest lifting was well on its way, our skilled carpentry crews came in to work on the deck and countertops.  The Riestenbergs had chosen a wonderful grill that even had a burner to the side for extra cooking capacity.  The grill had a large influence on the countertops and the custom cedar cabinetry below and to its sides.  This area was all covered by a shed roof using a tin roofing material.  Some custom electrical work was a great way to accessorize this area with outlets and switches to control the grill lights and a fan to exhaust the smoke.  Once completed it was time to have some fun with plants!  As one end of the patio neared the property line, it created a great setting for some large evergreens to give immediate privacy to the new family setting.  Since Dave is a big fan of birds and butterflies, most of the plants used in the landscape plan were flowering shrubs native to our area, with autumn berries to follow.  Both spring and fall will be a great time to sit and observe the wildlife!

The Result:

The Riestenbergs are so pleased to have the outdoor deck & patio they’ve been longing for.  The boulders and Flagstone tuck perfectly into the planting surround underneath the dominant maple tree canopy.  The large stone slabs are a perfect surface for the kids to chalk up while playing.  The deck will prove to a useful spot share many outdoor family dinners.