Situated on over an acre on the Eastside of Seattle, this parcel backs up to a native greenbelt. The homeowners loved most every aspect of their traditional two story home, they came to Sundance requesting a design to expand their indoor & outdoor entertaining spaces while retaining the homes classic layout.
The homes existing Family & Living Rooms had proved to be too small for entertaining. Adjoining these two rooms, was a partially covered deck, but the circulation through the rooms to the deck was awkward for entertaining. The portion of the deck that was covered was just large enough to accommodate their outdoor dining set & BBQ. For years the family enjoyed using this covered area throughout the seasons, but it was never large enough to be used to host an outdoor party with our very unpredictable Northwest weather.
To address the interior's issues, Sundance redesigned & remodeled the living & family rooms be extending the exterior walls out by 8 feet, adding two sets of double sliding French doors for visual connection and access into the large Outdoor Room & Slate Patio. The Outdoor room's focal point is the 2-story brick fireplace with a gas insert and Flat screen TV. For outdoor entertaining, a full kitchen equipped with a 36" Gas BBQ, double side burner, warming drawer, sink, refrigerator, keg-a-rator and 42" high bar allows the family to prepare & serve their guests without leaving the party. To provide added comfort during chilly weather, a forced air system was designed to provide a curtain of warmth along the perimeter of the Outdoor Room. During our summer warm spells, a ceiling fan and four opening skylights are activated by remote control.
Within the landscape areas, the home owners had several existing issues. Throughout their level lawns, drainage problems had persisted for years despite attempts made by two other companies to resolve it. They had many organic shaped garden areas based on the existing native canopy left by the builder, but the gardens lacked focal points, relationships to one another & a cohesiveness in materials. Some were sparsely planted, while others were packed with multiples of the same material. Over the years, many ornamental trees & shrubs had matured into excellent specimens but were hidden because they had outgrown their spaces.
The Owners requested a backyard lawn large enough for active play, impervious path surfaces that were environmentally friendly, interesting plant materials that provided color & fragrances throughout the seasons, a low maintenance water feature, a subtle outdoor lighting scheme to emphasize the features of the landscape and provided evening lighting for the pathways and raised vegetable garden beds.
Sundance removed the entire perimeter drainage and clay soils that the lawn was planted on. The new lawn was hydro-seeded over a network of subsurface drainage, graded for positive flow to the storm water system and a 12" deep base of soil exclusively prepared for lawns was installed. Plant material was inventoried & stockpiled while gardens were redesigned & bermed for interest. Existing plants were then edited for suitability for the new design & then redistributed into the new beds. Some of the excessively used plant materials were incorporated as an under story transition material between the Greenbelt areas and the ornamental gardens. The remaining inventoried plants were removed from the property. For this project, the homeowners took a very active part with the remaining new plantings. During the concept phase, Sundance interviews clients as to the level of participation they want to have in plant selections. Sundance proceeded with the clients' wishlist and proposed plantings that would fulfill the clients goals, as well thrive in their new gardens.
During the garden redesign, Sundance modified an existing pathway in the front yard. What was once an unused cut through from the street to the garage, has been transformed into a crushed gravel pathway which guides you through a hidden garden in the front yard. Two side yard pathways were redesigned in crushed gravel and provide access from the front yard to the backyard Outdoor Room. A small circular slate landing provides a transition from the gravel path to the slate stairs at the base of the Outdoor Rooms raised slate patio. Screening material was added to the gardens surrounding the existing sport court fencing. At the opposite side of the backyard, a water feature was sited to allow views of it from every Inside & Outside Entertaining spaces. Success of the design rested on the scale of this water feature. Sundance optioned to frame the Sheer Descent Waterfall with an oversized arbor. This element offers the eye to step down visually, from the existing 15' Leylandii Hedge background at the property line. Finally, to remove the linear emphasis to this property line, Sundance placed the waterfall on a second small slate patio in a horseshoe, adding the much needed depth to this focal point.