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Tudor Home Backyard Hardscape
Landscape Architecture by Fredell Enterprises, Inc.

This 1920s residence in Colorado Springs, Colo. was renovated to give the owners space to relax and entertain while retaining the home's historic aspects. The upper patio features a natural gas fire pit and a recirculating water feature, as well as seating and retaining walls in Siloam Stone and Colorado Buff flagstone caps. The patio is mortared flagstone in neutral tones. Colored concrete sidewalks lead to the fully renovated pool area, where a historic tuberculosis hut is located, now used as a pool changing area.

Renovations to the backyard included replacing terracing structures of timber, concrete and boulders and releveling the pool and deck. The previous slope, even with the terracing, exceeded a 25 percent grade in some places, causing drainage issues that were remedied by the new stone retaining walls. Releveling the pool required removing the concrete and all of the coping and tile around the top pool edge. A new concrete base was poured for a larger pool deck and pool coping, both then covered with 2,500 square feet of mortared flagstone.

The new owners of a 1920 Tudor home located on almost one acre in southwest Colorado Springs, Colo., wanted to create an outdoor space where they could relax, entertain, and enjoy their dogs. The house and grounds had not been updated in several decades, so major renovations were needed inside and outside.

From 1920 to Today
The existing pool had settled several inches at its northeast corner. The back patio, a patchwork of concrete pours over the years, had several downspouts emptying onto the pavement. The patio had settled and created drainage issues near the house. The existing backyard terracing consisted of treated timbers, concrete walls, and random boulders placed into slopes. Even with the existing makeshift terraces, the turf area still had slopes exceeding 25 percent in some areas, wasting water and causing more drainage issues behind retaining walls.

A historic octagonal "tuberculosis hut" from the Woodman Sanatorium, formerly used to house recovering tuberculosis patients in the early 20th century, was relocated to this site in the late 1940s. While currently used as a pool changing room, its location under a grove of scrub oak trees adjacent to one of the terraced walls proved unfortunate. The structure was rotting away at its base because of built up leaf debris and ponding water runoff.

Things to Consider
The most important consideration for the design was to solve the drainage issues around the property, particularly at the back patio and the pool areas. The pool needed to be releveled, and the cracked and settled pool deck completely removed and redone. The tuberculosis hut-turned-pool hut would need to be relocated in order to both protect it and provide it with a more prominent position within the yard.

The owner's three dogs were another important consideration for the design. A large open turf area would have to be created where the dogs could play, and the pool needed an electronic cover to keep the dogs out of the water. A large patio space where the owners could entertain and enjoy the city views was also a key part of laying out the design.

The Fire Magic Regal 1 barbecue grill was built into the stucco and granite top grill island. Neutral tones were chosen for the stone to match the stucco and other materials on and around the house.

The upper patio area has space for dining, relaxing and entertaining. The hidden mortared sandstone seating wall replaced timber, concrete and boulders that had been in place since the house was built in 1920. The stone was selected because of its local source and longevity.

The pool and pool deck were not level, and the concrete surrounding it cracked. The flagstone to resurface the pool deck and coping was selected for its gray to tan colors and its durability. The subdued colors were chosen to keep the hardscape from visually overwhelming the area. The new pool deck is sloped on all side for proper drainage.

Designing Hardscapes
Because of the large patio, pool deck, and extensive retaining walls, the project required a large quantity of hardscape materials. Fredell Enterprises decided to use indigenous stone from Colorado to anchor the site. Because the backyard needed such a large quantity of stone, neutral colors were chosen to keep the area from becoming visually overwhelming. The stone colors also had to tie into the stucco, wood and brick architecture. Colorado Buff flagstone was chosen for the patios and seating wall caps because of its gray to tan color and its durability. Siloam stone, a natural sandstone quarried in southern Colorado, was selected for the stacked stone retaining walls.

Having a large existing back patio area allowed creation of multiple outdoor "rooms" containing several outdoor living amenities. Half of the patio was designated as an entertaining area, where the outdoor grill island, covered dining area, lounge chairs, and babbling water feature would be located. The other half of the patio area, with the best city views, was slightly elevated, and a fire pit was designed to fit in the center of this space. The fire pit area was separated from the adjacent entertaining space both by elevation and by Siloam stone seating walls to partially enclose the space. Concrete walkways to the pool area and front yard meet up at each end of the patio, creating a loop around the property.

Flagstone steps connect the upper patio with the lawn and pool area. To solve drainage issues, downspouts were piped under the patios, hidden weep holes were installed through seat walls to allow patio drainage, and all planting beds at the patio had area drains installed.

The previous yard had a walkway bisect the center of the yard. The new design allowed a large central turf area to become the most visually prominent amenity in the backyard. The new walkway, which surrounds the yard instead of dividing it, creates a large contiguous turf area with ample open space for the dogs to play. The central Bluegrass turf area was then surrounded by colorful gardens.

Putting it Together
Removing the existing cracked concrete patio revealed multiple patchwork layers of concrete up to 18 inches thick, and a 2-foot deep footer from a previously existing solarium, or sunroom. Tree roots had to be selectively cut and constructed around in order to preserve the trees and allow the pathways and patio to be rebuilt. To relevel the pool, the entire concrete pool deck and all of the coping and tile around the top pool edge had to be removed completely. A new concrete base was poured to create a larger pool deck and pool coping. Both were then covered with mortared Colorado Buff flagstone.

An overhead view of the small recirculating water feature on the upper patio shows the mortared flagstone patio and the terraced stone retaining walls with flagstone caps. The 6'x 3' water feature provides a trickling sound that can be heard throughout the area. The planter behind the water feature, over the stone wall, stretches 45 feet across the width of the backyard and is home to Colorado globe blue spruce, blue Avena grass, 'Limemound' spirea, 'Autumn Joy' sedum, purple coneflower, and 'May night' salvia.

The octagonal building was a former tuberculosis hut from the 1940s. At one time, these little huts were commonplace in area sanatoriums. The sunny, dry climate was believed good for those suffering with this life-threatening disease. Today, the surviving huts from the sanatoriums are mostly in local businesses and private residences. This hut was relocated to the property in 1947 and turned into a pool changing area. During the backyard renovation, it was moved 30 feet to protect its base from rotting.

A challenge that arose from working with the flagstone was the varying thicknesses of the stone. Variations in size reached up to 1.5 inches. To compensate for this, the concrete base was poured low and the mortar bed was varied for each individual piece of flagstone that was used. This was the process for the nearly 2,500 square feet of mortared flagstone on concrete laid for this project.

Custom cut flagstone was ordered for the steps, seating wall caps, and formal front yard pathways. This provided stone uniformity where it was most critical. Approximately 1,100 square feet of hidden mortared Siloam stone retaining and seating walls were constructed on concrete footers with vertical rebar throughout the backyard.

The 1,100 square feet of hidden mortared stone retaining and seating walls were constructed on concrete footers with vertical rebar throughout the backyard. The water feature was constructed with moss rock, and the water falls about 16 inches from top to bottom. The surrounding plants are blue Siberian Iris, Japanese blood grass and moneywort.

To solve the many drainage issues, all downspouts were piped under the patios, hidden weep holes were installed through seating walls to allow patio drainage, and all planting beds at the patio had area drains installed. The new pool deck was sloped appropriately to drain on all sides. The downhill side of the pool that had settled was excavated and recompacted. The historic tuberculosis hut, now a pool changing area, was secured with moving straps, raised with jacks, supported with heavy timbers, and transported 30 feet on moving dollies to its new location on concrete supports, protecting it from further rotting at its base.

The backyard was transformed from a decades-old, cracked concrete space to a new, open entertaining area with places to both play and relax, while remaining true to the existing Tudor style. Fredell Enterprises successfully blended the old with the new in this hardscape renovation.

Project Team
Fredell Enterprises, Inc.
Design and Landscape Construction:

Paul Fredell, Project Manager
Jon Walsh, Landscape Architect
Carlos Rascon, On-site Foreman
Grill Island, Deck and Handrail Construction
GMC Construction Co., Inc.
Concrete Patio and Pool Deck Flatwork
Colorado Flatwork, Inc.
Downtown Electric Co.
Work Smart Industries
Custom Ornamental Iron Fence
Releveling Pool, Pool Tiling, Electric Pool Cover
Blue Dolphin Pool, Inc.

Materials and Vendors
C&C Sand and Stone Company
Colorado Buff: Flagstone for Patios, Stone Steps and Wall Caps
Cascade Cedar: Shredded Wood Mulch
Siloam Stone, Inc.
Green Belt Turf Farm: Bluegrass Sod

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February 27, 2020, 5:48 am PDT

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