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Backyard Terrace Renovation
Making an Unused Space Useable

Because of the grade change at this residence in Canfield, Ohio, and the wet ground that accompanies spring, Tabors Landscaping & Gardens Center had to use a skid steer with steel tracks to navigate the site. An excavator with scissor clamps was needed to position each 900-pound step. The rest of the hardscapes were installed with hand labor.


The homeowner supplied the grill and cooking accessories for the outdoor kitchen area, which was built on a monolithic footer with a 4" block, veneered with the same stone used throughout the rest of the backyard. A cedar pergola was built to provide a place to mount downlights so the kitchen can be used after dark.

The owners of this Canfield, Ohio, residence hired Tabor Landscaping & Garden Center to give their backyard veranda style and flow. They had two small patios connected by a set of four steps, and a grade change of approximately 12 feet.

"The homeowners often entertain wine clubs, so they wanted the area to flow through the grade change," explained Erik Tabor, president of Tabor Landscaping & Garden Center. "They wanted the areas to connect."

The yard was divided into three elevations, ultimately tying the top of the yard to the veranda to the lower patio, where the home has a walk-out basement.

The project began with excavation for the bases and footers. Concrete footers were poured, and reinforced with rebar where walls and the fireplace were designated. After setting the grades on the retaining walls, the gravel sub-base was installed and the block walls built on the reinforced footers. The lower level was the first area to have the "Vienna Classic" pavers installed, on a permeable base atop geotextile fabric. To create a gathering space, they installed a circle inlay as well as a herringbone inlay with the brandywine-colored pavers. The pavers used to create the solider course border were recycled from an existing patio on site. The first set of wet cast steps, each of them 6'-wide and 900 pounds, was installed via an excavator with scissor clamps. "We used the 6'- wide steps to make the terrace areas flow together," said Tabor. The steps are from the same manufacturer as the pavers, to help create a smooth transition from patio to patio.


In addition to being an aesthetically pleasing feature, the waterfall helps to support the third terrace patio. The waterfall proved challenging, as it had to be built with the retaining walls so the backfill wouldn't end up inside the rubber-lined pond. Local creek boulders give the pond a natural look, while Pennsylvania flagstone creates waterfall drops and hides the skimmer and falls box. A 3,000 gallon per hour pump moves the water efficiently while creating an accurate natural falls sound.

The middle patio was installed next, followed by the second set of stairs, and then the final, upper patio. Approximately 2,000 square feet of Dutch quality Ohio white stone and vein limestone veneer were installed on the sitting and raised walls throughout the backyard.

Finishing touches included the addition of an outdoor kitchen with a large granite counter and a four-burner gas grill. "The kitchen also has a built in 'Big Green Egg' grill, a fridge, stainless steel drawers, and storage areas," Tabor said. "There's also a space for a slide-in cooler."

A freeform fireplace was also installed. "We created an arch opening using stone left over from the original construction of the house," which was Indiana limestone, explained Tabor. "The mantle is a piece of old curbstone from the city of Youngstown, Ohio, that we cut in half to create an eye-catching, large mantle."

The wet cast hearth and top caps match the steps and wall caps that were installed throughout the yard following completion of the kitchen and fireplace.

Finally, the softscape and accompanying LED lights were installed. "A built-in hot tub with LED lights was also incorporated between the second and third terrace," added Tabor. "Built-in speakers were installed in the ground and bar."

The project, completed in spring 2017, took 3-5 men working five days a week around two months to complete.

As seen in LC/DBM magazine, February 2018.

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April 22, 2019, 12:01 am PDT

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