A couple with a three-acre property in Darnestown, Maryland, was ready to trade its outdated patio and gazebo for a landscape encompassing a pool, spa, patio, screened porch and more. They contacted landscape architect Chad Talton to come up with a plan that would give them the features they wanted, along with a more inviting outdoor environment.
The septic field and problematic grading meant that the pool had to be carefully sited and the yard multi-tiered. “We terraced the back, but made sure it was a gentle slope,” Talton says. A stairway from the house to the yard was replaced by a pergola structure that leads in one direction to the spa and in the other to the patio where a grilling station and seating area lie. From the family room, a new door opens to the screened porch, which boasts ipe flooring and a gas fireplace with a stone surround.
Curvilinear features crop up throughout, including a rounded island and grilling station supported by a circular base. In addition to being a design element, this feature “conserved space,” Talton explains. “We didn’t want it to take up a lot of the patio and this was a way to accomplish that.”
In the pool area, a shallow swim shelf spills via a waterfall over boulders to the main pool, curved in a naturalistic style. Wide grass steps with bluestone risers connect the pool and patio. “They create a softer, garden-friendly look,” Talton says. Seasonal plantings in a variety of textures include flowering perennials and grasses; boxwoods and evergreens define the edges of the patio and stairs for a manicured look.
Landscape Architecture: Chad Talton, RLA, Surrounds, Inc., Sterling, Virginia. Photography: Morgan Howarth.