Backyard Built on a Slope - Terrascapes
Patio design in Needham

Rear patio with spring flowers

This backyard was transformed using custom stonework for the walls and patio and extensive plantings providing year-round garden interest. The beautiful stone walls act as a backdrop for the terrace garden filled with peonies, roses, evergreen azaleas, and irises. A large dining and entertaining patio, and in a later phase, a deck, was installed after the slope was retained. The bluestone and brick paver patio is used for business entertaining, family dining, warming by the fire bowl, and as a viewing point for the terrace and upper gardens. Stone edges were softened with native Redbuds and by cascading hydrangeas and other draping perennials.

The Dining and Entertainment Patio

The Water Garden and Terrace Walls

In addition to the terraced patio area, this backyard includes a water feature. Although the previous owners had filled in a concrete frog pond, we easily unearthed an intact basin. The design added a waterfall to the existing pond requiring an intensive clearing of Japanese knotweed. Sasa veitchii, a 2′-5′ bamboo, graces one edge of the pond to direct visitors away from the deeper end of the pond and to invite them to sit around the shallow end. One side of the gentle slope is planted with a grove of birch trees and shade tolerant groundcovers Heuchera villosa, ‘Autumn Bride’, and Bleeding Hearts, along with ferns, mini-iris and other spring and fall bulbs. The other side is sprinkled with yellow and blue hosta varieties under-planted with a vigorous Lamiastrum galeobdolon for slope stabilization.

Upper Lawn and Woodland Walks

At the rear of the home is a large upper lawn and woodland walks. My philosophy supports replacing trees with lawn IF there is a distinct use for turf and if it will be used. My client has 1 1/2 acres of forested land and 3 lacrosse players who need to practice, so we cut down some trees. After the trees were removed, we screened the pie-shaped field from the street with a tall curved hedge of hydrangeas which bloom white in summer, change to pink in fall, and remain beige all winter. Cut them in spring and begin anew. Light conditions around the field now allow for sunny perennials to border one edge of the field and Eastern Redbuds, native viburnums, peony, roses and weeping grasses to trim the other. The upper woodland path (which lies below the field) is bordered by a gently curved stone wall on one side and azaleas, Oakleaf hydrangeas, rhododendrons, Solomon’s Seal, and ajuga on the other. Small stones found during the course of garden maintenance were placed along the path edge to create a sense of repose. Maggie, the resident Labrador retriever, loves to fetch her sticks from the woodland path to have them tossed over the field. It’s a perfect marriage of open field and wooded path.

Back Yard
Before and After