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From Drab Drive to Private Getaway

Denny-Blaine Outdoor Revival

Unifying a drive and outdoor living space for friendly, yet private, family gathering.

These homeowners wanted a beautiful, approachable entry to their property and home, but crumbling concrete and foreboding, overgrown plantings were keeping the house from living up to its potential. Without a cohesive design, the existing approach to their home fell short of their vision and created a confusing experience for guests. Ready for an improved and unified outdoor experience, they looked to us to help them create a welcoming site: friendly, while still providing the right amount of privacy.

The entry sequence offered the first challenge. An old fence, failing concrete, and a mix of materials made finding the front door – located at the side of the house – difficult to navigate. The existing parking pad, finished in brick, felt at odds with the lovely, old brick pavers lining the drive. Bluestone replaced the crumbling concrete for a simplified and modern approach to the house. Stone-clad walls were added to either side of the driveway to frame and celebrate the updated entry from the street. A new fence and updated plantings complete the look and help conceal the new parking pad finished in durable concrete and a car-charging station.

Modifying the parking pad added other benefits to the home, too. By lowering it by approximately one foot, the presence of cars parked at the home is lessened, allowing other elements of the home’s updated site to shine through. Plus, the living room windows, whose views were once occupied primarily by cars, now have a clear view of a small park and pond just across the street.

A view to the blue house from the road. The driveway is made from bluestone with original brick down the center. The entry is marked by two low stone walls and grassy plants.
A Welcoming Entry

Once overgrown, the driveway and entry to this home are now open and welcoming while still maintaining needed privacy from the neighbors and road. Denny-Blaine Outdoor Revival | Photo by Meghan Montgomery.

A Welcoming Entry

Once overgrown, the driveway and entry to this home are now open and welcoming while still maintaining needed privacy from the neighbors and road. Denny-Blaine Outdoor Revival | Photo by Meghan Montgomery.

A straight-on photograph of the home's front fence. The fence is white and fronted by espalier trees with their branches coaxed into right angle from the trunk.
No Dull Driveway

Espalier trees add order and interest along the fence by the newly lowered parking pad. Denny-Blaine Outdoor Revival | Photo by Meghan Montgomery.

No Dull Driveway

Espalier trees add order and interest along the fence by the newly lowered parking pad. Denny-Blaine Outdoor Revival | Photo by Meghan Montgomery.

A close up of a bud on the Black Tulip Magnolia tree. The bloom is just emerging and is a bright pink shade.
A Pop of Color

Few colorful plants were used on the site, with the exception of this attention-grabbing Black Tulip Magnolia. Denny-Blaine Outdoor Revival | Photo by Meghan Montgomery.

The home’s entry was enlivened with seasonal plantings, like a Black Magnolia Tree, featuring opulent, goblet-shaped blossoms. An eye-catching highlight, its dark purple, springtime blooms can appear almost black.

At dusk, a tall yew hedge backdrops a tall sculpture made up of thick silver disks. Some disks have organically shaped holes cut out of them, like donuts. The sculpture and hedge are illuminated from below.
Unique Artistic Touches

This sculpture by artist Julie Speidel was strategically placed and lit to accentuate its beauty. Even the hedge was carefully carved away to account for the sculpture’s size and shape. Denny-Blaine Outdoor Revival | Photo by Meghan Montgomery.

Unique Artistic Touches

This sculpture by artist Julie Speidel was strategically placed and lit to accentuate its beauty. Even the hedge was carefully carved away to account for the sculpture’s size and shape. Denny-Blaine Outdoor Revival | Photo by Meghan Montgomery.

A photograph of some plantings along the patio and deck stairs. They're illuminated by lighting along the stairs and under the plants themselves. Because of the lights, the plants glow a soft yellow even in the twilight.
Beauty in Day & Night

The bright but diffused lighting played a big role in making these outdoor spaces feel ”right” to the homeowners. Denny-Blaine Outdoor Revival | Photo by Meghan Montgomery.

Beauty in Day & Night

The bright but diffused lighting played a big role in making these outdoor spaces feel ”right” to the homeowners. Denny-Blaine Outdoor Revival | Photo by Meghan Montgomery.

Looking across the deck toward to valley-view below. The sun hangs low in the sky casting light and shadow across the deck. Charcoal-colored planters lining the deck overflow with green, purple, and magenta plants.
A Deck For Year-Round Enjoyment

Careful planning brought together all the elements of an enjoyable outdoor living space: plenty of room for comfortable seating, a new roof overhang with built-in heaters for chilly nights, and plenty of access to the season’s greenery. Denny-Blaine Outdoor Revival | Photo by Meghan Montgomery.

A Deck For Year-Round Enjoyment

Careful planning brought together all the elements of an enjoyable outdoor living space: plenty of room for comfortable seating, a new roof overhang with built-in heaters for chilly nights, and plenty of access to the season’s greenery. Denny-Blaine Outdoor Revival | Photo by Meghan Montgomery.

With only a small walk separating their entry from the neighbors, maintaining privacy was still of importance to the clients, but the existing laurel was a challenge to maintain. We opted to replace the laurel with a row of mature yew, which not only provides denser vegetation for better privacy but also feels more modern and is easier to maintain.

Though a few structural trees remain, most of the plantings are new and designed to accentuate the home’s views and updated outdoor spaces. Strategic layers of color, texture, and lighting add vibrancy to key areas including a Julie Speidel sculpture which required careful sculpting of the existing hedge for a perfect frame and fit.

Beyond the drive and entry, the side and back yards, though spacious, felt compartmented by unnecessary grade changes and a porch with too many posts. A desire for gathering spaces and a space for a ping pong table for their teenage son meant reworking these areas into cohesive and usable spaces.

We leveled the yard and raised the grade at the porch to be flush with the home’s interior. Bluestone – the same we used at the driveway – provides the foundation for a patio sized to accommodate an eating area and the ping pong table. The consistency of the palette in the bluestone and the gray wood tones of the new deck brings uniformity to the entire outdoor experience.

A careful reconfiguration of the porch roof allowed many of the support posts to be removed for a more open flow. The more spacious feel creates the perfect canvas for the homeowners’ collection of outdoor pots which now overflow with bright, seasonal plantings. Added heaters and lighting make this once uncomfortable area the picture-perfect spot to enjoy their new space year-round.

Looking across the bluestone patio toward the back of the garden. Steps up the deck and to the left and a decorative sculpture peeks out at the right. In the center sits a light-wood table and chairs.
Room To Live

A spacious patio means room for dining and play without sacrificing the beauty of the space as a whole. Denny-Blaine Outdoor Revival | Photo by Meghan Montgomery.

Room To Live

A spacious patio means room for dining and play without sacrificing the beauty of the space as a whole. Denny-Blaine Outdoor Revival | Photo by Meghan Montgomery.

Dusk outside a blue home with a large raised port illuminated by exterior and interior lights. The garden surrounding the porch is verdant and green.
The Power of Light

Even as night descends, the new deck and green plantings feel bright and lively. Denny-Blaine Outdoor Revival | Photo by Meghan Montgomery.

The Power of Light

Even as night descends, the new deck and green plantings feel bright and lively. Denny-Blaine Outdoor Revival | Photo by Meghan Montgomery.

Notes & Credits
General Contracting by Wygal Builders.
Landscape Contracting by Benchmark NW.
Photography by Meghan Montgomery.

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