Home & Design

Shore Refuge

McHale Landscape Design transforms a prime property on the South River

The interior update of a home overlooking the South River in Edgewater, Maryland, led naturally to outdoor improvements. For McHale Landscape Design, the commission meant revisiting a two-acre property completed 15 years earlier. 

“The new owners wanted a higher level of finish, beauty and serviceability,” says senior landscape designer Hans Bleinberger, who led the latest iteration. “A lot of the challenge was in reimagining and reinventing.” 

Obstacles included an outdated concrete pool deck; awkward access to a potential patio off the lower level; and a restriction against new paved surfaces since the property is located in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. 

The company landed on elegant solutions to each dilemma. A deck clad in irregular flagstone has supplanted the concrete surface, and the pool has been fully upgraded. A newly created ipe patio and path to the dock extend the home’s lower level outdoors, while a lower terrace was granted a permit thanks to the use of permeable decking. 

Poolside plantings include a fringe of Russian sage in the foreground of the river view. A slope of wave petunias, hydrangeas, perennial sage and daylilies descends from pool deck to ipe pathway alongside a generous new flight of stone steps between brick retaining walls.

The serene setting belies substantial effort, which extended to finding new brick to complement the 20-year-old house. “It’s kind of neat when you can get back on a property, upgrade it and bring it up to modern standards,” Bleinberger observes. “At the end of the day, you want to make it look easy.”

Award: Distinction, Outdoor Living. Landscape Design & Contracting: Hans Bleinberger, McHale Landscape Design, Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Photography: Erin B. Bogan.

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