Howard Cohen designed a screened-in outdoor room with a large stone fireplace.
A limestone deck and lounge area is enveloped by beds of Black-Eyed Susans.
A formal pathway is lined with single-stem crape myrtle and a boxwood hedge.
A stone entrance with a wrought-iron fence welcomes guests into the backyard.

Grand Vision

Surrounds overhauls a dull garden into an elegant, cohesive whole

On his initial walk-through of a lackluster Great Falls, Virginia, site, landscape architect Howard Cohen recalls the owner asking him to create a “grand vision” for the project.

Cohen got the picture. Surrounded by a tiny deck, the existing pool was offset from the rest of the property. “The landscape had no flow and was not very functional,” he says. “We wanted to create something that was going to make the property look like it should.” 

Cohen’s plan started at the driveway, where he designed a stately stone gate with a wrought-iron fence to usher guests into the backyard. From there, a limestone cobble walkway leads down an allée lined with crape myrtle to a small stone wall, then turns left past an outdoor grilling area, eventually arriving at the newly revamped pool. “The pool deck has plenty of room for chairs,” says Cohen, “so now you can actually lounge around it.”
The project also encompassed a new outdoor room complete with a massive stone fireplace, limestone floors and a pitched pine roof where the owners entertain year-round. Meanwhile, a new stone storage shed creates a focal point on the other side of the lawn. “The shed is functional and roomy,” Cohen says. “But from an aesthetic perspective, it’s kind of like a folly—a random building in the middle of nowhere that’s just nice to look at.”

AWARD: Grand, Outdoor Living Area (Design/Build). LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE & CONSTRUCTION: HOWARD COHEN, Surrounds, Sterling, Virginia.