Initially engaged to repair an earthquake damaged patio and driveway, we discussed the current shape of the back yard and suggested making changes to create a tiered outdoor living area. Upon these suggestions we were then asked to create a concept for the whole section. The key requirements were that it had to make the most of the subtle height change in the section that sloped down towards the stream and that the design and layout be considered without breaking the bank.
The design incorporates two of our most popular surfaces: Natural Tone; and Ultra Pave exposed aggregate. Natural Tone has been used throughout the feature areas, such as the entry path, driveway accent borders, lower lounging patio, lawn mowstrips and bridge. Ultra Pave, a more subtle surface, was used on the driveway, plinths, upper patios and paths.
The more formal, upper patio outside the bifold doors promotes indoor-outdoor flow and is ideal for the client’s large dining table. It also offers views over the entire outdoor living, lawn and stream. Flowing down, the exposed aggregate steps leads to the Natural Tone lounging patio. Nestling into the garden, this patio links through to the lawn and bridge.
The real challenge in this job was the accuracy and strength of formwork required to create the straight walls and bridge, both which require technical building knowledge to construct. We created the formwork in such a way that it could be stripped to allow the faces to be finished without causing damage. The formwork for the Natural Tone became particularly difficult because it has to be removed on the day of pour while the concrete was still soft in order to texture the faces.
By using height and surface to split the areas, we created two distinctive spaces within the confines of the small area that are perfect for everyday outdoor living. The key features of the environment include the contemporary cutting and grouting pattern, exposed aggregate entry plinths, deep set lights into the front path and the floating bridge.