Al Fresco Flair

A design team conjures a charming and functional backyard aerie for a new custom home

Michael Winn, principal of Winn Design+Build, had just completed a home for himself and his family in McLean. He tapped landscape architect Joseph Richardson for a scheme to complement the traditional abode, specifying spaces for lounging, dining and grilling, as well as a rear lawn where his kids could play. “We also wished to incorporate an Asian element into the design,” Winn explains, “to pay homage to part of our family’s cultural lineage.”

A steep grade change meant that high retaining walls would be necessary to create usable living spaces with room for the play area beyond. Richardson decreased the rear wall’s massing by angling it out, then softened it with plantings above.

Two patios are connected by a bluestone-paver path set in river stone. The lounging patio is anchored by a stacked-stone fireplace while the dining area contains a kitchen complete with a 42-inch grill, smoker and storage. The path is flanked by a Japanese garden featuring a Tamukeyama maple, ornamental grasses and perennials.

Award: Grand, Residential Landscape Design/Outdoor Living over $250,000. Landscape Design: Joseph Richardson Landscape Architecture, Arlington, Virginia. Construction: Winn Design+Build, Falls Church, Virginia.