When Garrett Churchill first arrived at this house in Elkins Park for the homeowners’ first in-home consultation, we almost couldn’t find the entrance!
Azaleas and ivy had overgrown around a driveway, practically covering the entrance to the house (and leaving guests to wonder if there was even a way in at all.)
Our client’s original idea was to alter the driveway to accommodate four cars near the bottom and turn most of the front yard into useable lawn space for their young family since the back yard is very shaded and a difficult area to grow grass. After they realized the retaining wall work required to make such a project a reality, they altered their goals.
During their consultation, the homeowners discussed several things that needed to be addressed. They wanted to remove the overgrown plants and start with a clean slate. They also wanted an attractive, easy-to-navigate pathway leading family and friends from the street, along their driveway, and up to the front door. Finally, they requested that new plants be installed that would look great all year long and be easy to maintain.
Our first task was to get rid of all the old shrubs and ivy. After that, we began installing precast concrete steps. These nicolock irregular steps were a new product for us. Each pallet has six different pieces on it and we used a total of seven pallets Each piece ranged from 350-600 pounds.
Our pavetool BL-980 clamp was a real asset on this project. We were able to quickly adjust it for the varying sizes and move the pieces into place with our mini excavator doing all the work. We altered direction and order to make the path look as natural as possible. We laid pieces level with each other where we did not need steps and stacked them on top of each other where we did need a step(s). Each area was dug out and compacted then stone was used to level the base and that was compacted.
In the process, we had to move the Japanese maple that was right next to the front walkway. Over time it had created an obstacle to the original walkway and had been pruned a number of times to make the walkway accessible. Japanese maples are more difficult to move than other plants since the branches hang down so low. This plant had a 5″ caliber trunk resulting in a 5′ diameter root ball. It took two men a day to dig move and replant this tree but now it has the room it needs to grow.
With the steps in place, we repurposed some of the rocks found during our excavation, laying them along the new pathway to create natural accent pieces throughout the landscape. These stones are perfect complements to the new plants we installed by the pathway. A stunning selection of creeping sedum thyme, hens and chicks, and sedges will grow into a uniquely beautiful, low maintenance garden.
After planting shrubs on the front bank of the yard, we installed a number of path lights along the walkway to that the steps are well lit at night. Now that their front yard is finally visible, the homeowners wanted to make sure that it could be seen day and night!
Landscape Design In Elkins Park Photos
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