Photography: Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Rooms We Love: Outdoor Room

Brian Hahn of Botanical Decorators creates a living space for all seasons

SOURCEBOOK 2014A small, urban Alexandria, Virginia, property had become run-down and overgrown, with featureless topography and crumbling stonework. While renovating their house, the owners contacted Brian Hahn of Botanical Decorators to overhaul the outdoor space and give them a backyard they could truly enjoy.Hahn and his team created a landscape plan that would connect the interiors with the outside, offering views of the backyard from nearly all the main floor rooms and easy access outside from the kitchen, family room and formal dining room. In keeping with the home’s Colonial-style architecture, they created a series of traditional outdoor rooms delineated by a bluestone patio and cobblestone borders. A broad Carderock stone fireplace with a 12-foot chimney is the focal point. “We wanted to create a reason to go out there,” Hahn says. “The fireplace gave us that.”

The existing backyard was sloped, with old retaining walls and a patio in disrepair. Hahn excavated the slope to create a larger patio that would accommodate the owners’ wish list, which included separate sitting and dining areas and space for a built-in grill. Above the Carderock stone retaining wall, astilbe, hydrangeas, boxwoods and azaleas lend a lush look to the landscape, which frames a specimen Japanese maple and a styrax Japonica.

A mini-granite cobblestone border defines the comfortable sitting area in front of the fireplace. It beckons visitors with furniture from Kingsley Bate, while in the adjoining dining area a table from Kingsley Bate is paired with woven chairs by Gloster. Flanking the table, the professional 36-inch Lynx grill and surrounding bluestone counter surface make dining al fresco a breeze.