Home & Design

A pergola shades a new dining area behind the home.

A lounge area prolongs outdoor entertaining into the cooler months.

The final plan imparted formal, welcoming appeal to the front of the Georgian-style house.

City Living

A neglected property in Cleveland Park gets a fresh lease on life

While renovating their stately, Georgian-style manse, the owners tasked Joseph Richardson and Adam Sexton of Joseph Richardson Landscape Architecture with reviving their underwhelming yard. They envisioned an overhaul that would better reflect the gracious and venerable neighborhood and deliver privacy, security and spaces for entertaining.

The duo was given pretty much a free hand to design the landscape, measuring just under a quarter-acre, for the couple, who resided elsewhere while a renovation of the home by GTM Architects was also underway. “This was their first house with a fairly sizable outdoor space,” Richardson recounts, “and so they were leaning on us to direct them.”

The final plan imparted formal, welcoming appeal to the front of the house while enhancing outdoor living space in back. A brick walkway atop a retaining wall that ran from the front around the side of the house was extended to create a dining area covered with a wood-and-black-painted metal pergola; an adjacent lounge area with a fireplace prolongs outdoor entertaining into the cooler months. A built-in grilling station beneath the pergola is integrated with the fireplace.

A metal fence and planters filled with boxwood now adorn the retaining wall in back, which is softened by a bank of hydrangeas and boxwood. The patio overlooks an oval lawn ringed with Green Giant arborvitae and white knockout roses.

At the front of the house, a metal trellis over the garage carries semi-evergreen Snowdrift clematis and yellow jessamine vines, and a new dog run wraps around the side of the house to the back. Layers of stepped-up plantings provide the privacy the clients requested: pachysandra at ground level, then roses, hydrangeas and tall skip laurels. Adam Sexton notes the simple plant palette of creamy white flowers against the evergreen backdrop. “It fits the neighborhood perfectly,” he says. n

Landscape Architecture: Joseph Richardson, PLA, ASLA, principal; Adam Sexton, project manager, Joseph Richardson Landscape Architecture, Washington, DC. Landscape Contractor: Kohler Brafford, Black Pearl Management, Leesburg, Virginia, Washington, DC.

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