Home Additions Indoors and Out

    The Great Outdoors -or- The Great After-Thought

    Gilday Renovations completed a two-story home addition to a Washington DC residence several years ago.   We squeezed the budget in this ambitious design build renovation project to achieve all of the things our clients so passionately desired.  

    The homeowners were thrilled with their larger kitchen, new sitting room, and generous master bedroom.  New energy-efficient windows now fill the once shadowy interior spaces with natural light.  There was just one little problem.

    Can You Say "Phase Two"

    Those beautiful new windows beautifully framed the not so beautiful garage against a backdrop of -shall we say- over abundance? The homeowners wanted views to the outside of their home to be as eye-catching as the new interiors.  Only when construction was completed did they realize how incompletely their yard matched up to that newly renovated house.

    They wanted the design of the outdoors to complement the design of the indoors, and a smooth transition between the indoor and outdoor space that would, for example, allow a party to flow easily into the yard.  

    A complete transformation of the back yard was clearly called for.  For that, we called Cathy Carr of Garden Gate Landscaping.  Cathy has collaborated with Gilday and its clients for over ten years.  It would have made much more sense to have brought her into the design build team from day one.  But.......  that was then.

    Defining Space

    Four distinct areas were created from the narrow city lot: a flagstone dining terrace with ample grill space; a lawn panel; an upper shade garden above a new stone wall; and a deck that connects home to garden.

    Landscape design put the backyard on equal standing aesthetically and functionally with the design of the new two-story addition to the home.

    The landscape design concept features a diagonally-oriented terrace and curving lawn. Both mitigate the pinched feeling of the garage located in the middle of the lot.

    garden plan for two story addition in washington dc

    The new transitional deck is large enough for a small table and chairs while wide steps allow for spillover seating. Plantings add four-season interest and surround the space with color, texture, and movement. The deck was constructed of 
    Ipe with a composite railing system for trouble-free maintenance.

    BEFORE RENOVATION: steep, generic steps to backyard
    BEFORE RENOVATION: Back steps make an abrupt descent to the grass.


    AFTER RENOVATION: a terraced stairway to the patio and yard

    A Breath of Fresh Air

    This image below demonstrates the serenity and openness of the garden. Camellias and climbing hydrangeas will cover the fence; Nandina and mop head Hydrangeas were transplanted for an immediate mature look. Crape myrtles in the upper garden catch light from the east. Some overgrown Cedars were removed while those screening the alley were retained. Fern, Hellebore, Hosta, Azalea, and Solomon’s Seal underplant the trees.

    backyard AFTER renovation AFTER RENOVATION: A stone retaining wall defines the upper patio 

    The flagstone terrace, lawn panel, stone retaining wall and steps present attractive focal points from the home and new deck. The garage was painted to match the color of the new addition. The integration of the various inside and outdoor elements is smooth and harmonious as compared to the way it was before.

    backyard BEFORE renovation BEFORE RENOVATION

    The owners love it.  So did the judges.  This garden design by Cathy Carr of Garden Gate received a 2010 Award of Merit from the National Professional Landcare Network, or PLANET.

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