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Two DC transplants approached us with about as blank as site possible (i.e. lawn and gravel), fulfilling a designer's often unattainable wish for a blank canvas. Their guiding desires were for less lawn, but still dog-friendly; native plants, but low-maintenance; and a trade of existing parking for an inviting, outdoor lounging space. With all this in mind, we (plausibly) managed to craft one of the most optimized back gardens of Church Hill.

By removing a portion of the fence and tying into the remaining with a new fence that maintains the existing style, the potential for the space doubled. To enhance this feeling of spaciousness, thin wooden slats adorn the top of the fence, extending its vertical capacity. Light, warm tones were selected for the additional hardscaping, adding comfort to the sometimes harsh lines of modern features and reflecting the landscape lighting into a gossamer-like glow. A custom, CorTen steel gate provides an architectural focus, disguising its functionality.

Tropical specimens dot the bordering landscape beds, drawing the gaze around the garden to observe each one, while the grasses and native shrubs unite them and offer a complex backdrop. Their textures contrast one another, their density allowing them to brush softly against their neighbors. CorTen edges restrain these plantings to keep them from crowding the patio, but they meander and encroach ever so slightly. One must also respect the need for function, so a small dog run exists opposite the patio space.

With the fire going, it feels like home.

Location: Richmond, VA

Design: Meddō + Client

Installation: Meddō

Photography: Jud Froelich

Text: Emma Stephens

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