Rooms We Love: Outdoor Room

Botanical Decorators designs a pet-friendly backyard oasis with a modern vibe in downtown DC

Rooms We Love Outdoor Room After completing a dramatic, glass-walled addition to their Q Street row house, a young couple enlisted Morgan Washburn of Botanical Decorators to landscape their small, urban backyard so that it would relate to the modern aesthetic of the renovated home.

When the project began, the yard was a blank slate surrounded by a cedar privacy fence. It measured 20 by 30 feet, with a dogleg to one side. The owners, who have numerous dogs and cats, hoped to create a beautiful, comfortable space where they could entertain—but making it pet-friendly was a must.

Washburn designed a patio using staggered Pennsylvania Bluestone pavers that mirror the size of the window mullions. A table in the middle of the space creates the perfect oasis for outdoor dining. A water feature abutting the house cascades from a stone plinth into a small pool that is up-lit at night.

With pets in mind, the couple requested AstroTurf rather than real grass. “AstroTurf is gaining in popularity,” Washburn observes. An irrigation system not only cleans the material but also sprays the area with an organic mosquito repellant.

A grilling area occupies the dogleg, which contains vertical-form sweeping magnolias that soften the view of the side of the house. Shrub-like, non-invasive bamboo provides lush texture to the garden, which also includes summer snowflake viburnum. Upright European hornbeam lines the outside of the fence, and pots are filled with annuals such as coleus and sedum.

Landscape Design: Morgan Washburn, Botanical Decorators, Olney, Maryland. Architecture: Darrel Rippeteau, AIA, Rippeteau Architects, PC, Washington, DC. Photography: Jasper Colt.

Other Rooms We Love:

Living Room

Dining Room