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A Private Yet Open Space
Unconventional Enclosure Provides Ample Privacy

By Andrew Soto, LC/DBM


The owners of a residence in Carmel, Indiana, hired Pro Care Horticultural Services to design and install an enclosure system to increase the privacy of their property while keeping an open outdoor feel. A gate and custom set of wood, metal and copper panels were installed around the site, serving as the primary means of accomplishing this.


The gate incorporates travertine style decorative inserts along with brickwork to match the home. The gate columns are set on concrete footers and secured to the masonry of the main structure using hardware custom made by Pro Care.


A Colorado based company specializing in custom made architectural panels and screens designed to withstand the elements provided copper screens to Pro Care's specifications. The builder's in-house carpenters fit the metal and copper screen inserts to the rough sawn cedar frames on site.

Indiana is home to a secluded outdoor living space hidden from view by a strategically positioned enclosure. A set of wall panels and landscaping were brought together to create a private yet open space. The property is located in the suburban community of Carmel, just north of Indianapolis. The homeowner hired Pro Care Horticultural Services to painstakingly upgrade key areas, crafting the desired aesthetic over the course of several years.

Pro Care is an Indiana based family business that takes pride in creating unique, appealing and functional landscapes. Mort Rolsky, who at the time was the superintendent of Indianapolis Parks and Recreation, founded Pro Care as a family business in 1972.

He served as chairman of the board and oversaw the operation of the business and it's growth with the guidance of his son, Lowell Rolsky, the president. Each employee, from the office staff to crewmembers, has a personal stake in furthering the company's mission.

"To the Rolsky family, the employees are an adopted family. These are people we have come to share many experiences and emotions with, both good and bad," said Lowell Rolsky. "These people are the backbone of what makes Pro Care Horticultural Services so unique and different."

A set of wall panels, a patio arbor and a patio deck were built over the span of four years. The entry gate, one of the most prominent features of the enclosure, was installed during the first phase of the project. Work began in 2010 with the construction of the gate and ended in late 2014.

Although a build of this nature does not normally take years to complete, the homeowner extended the project so he could be intimately involved with the day-to-day construction work. According to the contractor, the homeowner used to spend his summers working for a landscape company in Texas and never hesitated getting his hands dirty during the build, lending a helping hand wherever he could.

The Goal
While fences, walls and gates provide a high degree of privacy, they do not blend seamlessly into the landscape. By the nature of their design, fences and walls separate and enclose, which can create a sense of confinement in smaller spaces.

The property owner wanted to create an area that did not feel cramped or closed in. Pro Care found a solution to this client's need by using natural terrain features to position a unique enclosure that uses the existing landscape to produce an airy and open environment while providing ample privacy.

The Preparation
When Pro Care broke ground on the project, the size of the worksite presented a challenge all its own. The installation team was able to compensate for the lack of space by taking advantage of some of the grades and elevations at the build site.

With the exception of subsurface drainage, the team minimized most of the preparation normally associated with a job of this nature by installing the new patio over the existing patio without removing much of what was there. A skid steer, walk-behind loader and excavator were brought in throughout the build to help with the heavy lifting.


The build team, ranging in size from two to six workers, installed the deck and fire pit over an existing patio. Adorned with a Texas star, the deck floor and frame are unstained and made from pressure treated lumber. The screens at the back of the structure block the view from the adjacent home while strategically planted trees fill in the gaps between the screens.


All of the wood privacy wall panels are supported by a 4" x 6" board planted in the soil at a depth of 30"-36" and embedded in a concrete pier. Different length boards were used on the front and backs to create added detail and a more unique look to the overall construction. Over 2,200 feet of rough-sawn cedar was used for the panels, deck arbor and gate arbor.


The rough-sawn cedar arbor fastened to the entry gate is finished with the same semi-transparent oil-based stain used on all of the cedar panels. The hinges and associated hardware were all fabricated in-house. The patio hardscape is a combination of exposed aggregate and stamped concrete surfaces installed by Pro Care.


The curved wood bench is framed and supported using pressure treated frame boards and posts then covered in composites. Tennessee sandstone flagstone pavers are surrounded with pea gravel interspersed with 'dragon's blood' sedum and creeping Jenny.


The copper and metal inserts for the screens and gate were the only work Pro Care did not do in house, but they were fabricated to the builder's specifications. Roughly 189 square feet of metal and copper was used for the panel inserts.


Pro Care custom designed, fabricated and fitted a natural gas burner to a system designed for water. The end result is a custom unit designed to have fire rise from the surface. Approximately 7 tons of Idaho gold ledge quartzite was used in the construction of the masonry columns, gate work and water and fire feature.

While using the existing features of the site reduced much of the prep work, certain trees had to be relocated to conform to the design while some perimeter grades were changed and elevated to create the privacy requested by the homeowner.

Unconventional Enclosure
Pro Care custom built a series of decorative wood wall panels with laser cut copper and metal inserts to serve as the primary enclosure for the property. These one-of-a-kind units were designed to match the entry gate and assembled on site by in-house carpenters.

A total of seven screens were strategically placed along the perimeter of the property. To achieve a balance of privacy and function, trees along the perimeter were planted or replanted as needed to fill the gaps in between.

The panels were a small aspect of the overall job. However, they encapsulate the creative use of quality in-house carpentry and masonry skills in conjunction with ornamental copper and metal work. They create a very interesting open look that can be enjoyed by the property owner and guests, while still providing the privacy and blockage required to maintain the integrity of his private outdoor living space.

Something Different
One of the most unique and challenging focal points of this build came in the form of fire and water. A natural gas burner was built and modified by Pro Care. The burner was then fitted to a water feature, which transformed the two units into a combination gas burner and water feature. This allowed for flames to rise from the surface of the water.

The homeowner requested that all gas, water, electrical lines and equipment powering the feature be hidden from view. Additional screens had to be built and installed around the hardware supplying power to the unit.

The Challenges
Limited space was a concern during the initial stages of the project. The overall goal of the build was to provide privacy without compromising the enclosed environment's sense of openness.

Because there was so much going over an extended period of time, it was critical that Pro Care take into consideration all of the things that would be happening for the duration of the project. The company needed to keep track of when things would happen and how they would accomplish those things over the timeframe set by the homeowner.

They needed to know how to incorporate whatever necessary initial work needed to take place to compensate for something happening later on down the road. Anticipating what the homeowner would want next became part of the job and contributed to the uniqueness of the overall build.

"We even planned for potential changes to the plans," said Lowell Rolsky. "Even to this day the customer still comes to us about the possibility of adding this or that into his space to make it even that much more perfect."

As seen in LC/DBM magazine, January 2017.

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January 22, 2019, 11:57 am PST

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