Additions to homes are common – they typically add a new room, or expand an existing room, so the family has more living space. Increasingly homeowners are asking for additions to their landscape. These are not entirely new spaces that are separate from any existing landscape element. These are additions or expansions to an in place landscape element – most often involving an existing patio. A major reason for these additions is the client’s desire to add an outdoor kitchen or fireplace, or to create a separate seating/conversation area from the dining area. Adding seamlessly to a patio that is already in place is challenging, but Landscape Architect Deborah Cerbone did a masterful job at this Morris County home, and Statile and Todd installed the new addition. The design and installation happened very quickly – from the first client phone call to completion of the installation took less than one month.

A small patio existed outside the french doors, but the clients wanted more space to entertain family and friends, and they wanted a fireplace to extend the outdoor season. A critical requirement in the design was to provide a level lawn area where their three active children could play outside, and where a hockey rink will be installed for the winter months.

Deborah Cerbone realized that for the new lower patio to look like it was part of the old upper patio the transition had to start right at the edge of the old patio – in other words the stairs and rock walls from the old patio would have to be redone so that they became part of the new patio. The result is a seamless transition from old to new that really feels like one space, not two distinct patios. The level turf area created for the children can be seen in the upper right. The clients also want a hot tub/spa in the near future so the design includes a nook (right corner of the patio where the dining table is) that is sized to fit the hot tub, and plumbing/electric/cable TV have been routed to that nook to make the future installation easy.

There were significant grade issues in a very confined space. Some areas had to be lowered and others raised on a piece of property that had significant slopes front to back and side to side. A key design consideration was how to use the grade to the client’s and the patio’s advantage.

The design effectively used the grade to the client’s advantage in that it created a patio enveloped in low rock walls which added additional seating areas, planters, borders and a sense of intimacy, while using excess soil to level a grassy area in the back yard for the children’s play space. The rock walls also provided a seamless way to integrate the fireplace that the clients wanted.

Statile and Todd is exceptionally skilled at masonry work and we use only in-house employees on our installations. The result is superb quality masonry construction and no waiting for an outside mason to fit into the installation schedule. From the day the clients first called Deborah Cerbone it took less than one month to complete this project.

Locating the fireplace in the back corner of the patio and integrating it into the rock walls that surround the space make it fit and feel perfectly placed. The fire can not only be enjoyed from the seating area, it can be enjoyed from the upper patio, the kitchen and multiple rooms within the house.

The patio served as a focal point for a party the family had soon after the installation was completed and has quickly become a meeting place for friends in the neighborhood. Best of all the clients love it. The wife told us that “Before this project the words beautiful and our backyard could never be used in the same sentence – now they can”.