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Backyard Landscape

The interior of our Washington Park home was move-in ready, but the yard needed a master’s attention.

June 2012

The phrase my husband and I used with our real estate agent was “turnkey.” We wanted a house that required little attention—no kitchen overhaul, no bathroom renovation, no blowing out any walls. He nailed it. Our Wash Park bungalow was in near-mint condition. At least, the interior was. The falling-down deck, cracked cement patio, patchy grass, shoddy tool shed, and overgrown vines all called for major intervention. 

Enter Luxescapes. We interviewed four landscaping companies, and this small, independent firm was the only one that offered to mock up a design free of charge. (We did commission a plan, for comparison, from one of the other firms for $1,000.) Meghan Himschoot, co-owner of seven-year-old Luxescapes, came to our house, took measurements, asked questions about our vision for the space, and inquired about our budget. Armed with that information, Himschoot took two weeks to draw up a draft that became the blueprint for our upgraded yard. luxescapes.net; 303-288-5893

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1. Hidden Beauty

The upright junipers create a tall, green backdrop and help hide an unattractive air conditioning unit.

2. Fireside

Himschoot swears by double fire-ring pits: They’re more exciting and warmer than traditional fire pits.

3. Squatters

For the dog, Himschoot covered a small area near the door with pea gravel, which makes for easy cleanup.

4. Have a Seat

Himschoot extended the raised-garden design around the fire pit to create seating, which is great
for entertaining.

5. Free Flow

Himschoot tore out the deck and cement slab to create a level patio that’s multifunctional and flows from the door. 

6. Dividing Line

The lighter shade stone banding creates the illusion of separate spaces and matches the color of the house.  

7. In the Dark

The south side of the yard doesn’t get sun. Himschoot planted shrubs and flowers that don’t need much light.

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Consider This: Ask yourself  these questions before you call a landscape designer.

How do I want to use this space?

Himschoot says:  Whatever your answer—to play with the kids, to entertain guests, to garden—keep that in mind throughout the process.  

What is my budget and what is my highest priority?

Himschoot says: If your highest priority is a $20,000 patio but your budget is $22,500, you might need to build your backyard in phases. Tackle the patio first, then, in a year, put in that fire pit you wanted.