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Carpenter Costin Blog

Featured Project: Tired Courtyard Receives New Landscape Design

Often times the best designs are not born of a single mind, but of a collaboration between many.

The First-Calvary Baptist Church and it's members, reached out to Carpenter Costin during the summer of 2014 for landscape architectural services. The issue was a central courtyard in dire need of a redesign, in order to provide a space for reflection and prayer within a garden setting.

Old Landscape in Courtyard

Courtyard before landscaping project

The original courtyard required a much needed redesign

Being a larger-scale project representing the needs of many, the church requested full landscape architectural services and plan sets. After the plan sets were completed, multiple contractors (including Carpenter Costin) would be able to bid on the construction aspect of the job. This would ensure fair, unbiased, and independent design + construction services.

Brendan Carey RLA from Grounded Growing Landscape Architects was selected as the designer and consultant by the church board members. He developed a series of conceptual plans focusing on circulation, drainage, and overall aesthetic. After a few weeks of intensive design work and meetings, Brendan had a set of drawings ready for landscape contractors to bid on.

Carpenter Costin was quickly selected as the winning bid for the landscape construction portion of the job

Siting strong analysis and understanding of the landscape architect's plan set, along with a competitive price, the church board members turned to Carpenter Costin to turn their plans into reality.

Being a courtyard in the middle of a place of worship, there were unique issues that took both acute sensitivity along with simple brute strength to solve. All materials stripped out of and brought into the courtyard, had to fit through a standard-sized door frame. Our crews crossed finished floors throughout the process and made sure to be extra careful of window walls surrounding the work zone.

Working closely with the landscape architect and the onsite representative of the church, we streamlined this process as much as possible.

Landscape Project In Progress

Blue Stone Placement for Landscaping Project

Blue Stone Outlining the Courtyard

In the end, the sum was greater than its parts.

Natural Stone Surrounding Sod

Creating this beautiful and reflective memorial garden in the heart of a church took more than one entity...it took wonderful and understanding clients, a thoughtful and talented landscape architect, and a resourceful construction team here at Carpenter Costin.

View of Natural Stone and Sod Installation

An inspirational view of the new courtyard from the inside.

Final Look of the Redesigned Courtyard

The final look of the redesigned courtyard.

*More pictures to come will show the depth of color and beauty from over 100 perennials in mid-summer. 

Beautiful Bluestone Patio Melrose, MA

before 1 resized 600

We recently completed a beautiful bluestone patio that transformed the back of a house in Melrose, MA. We worked closely with the clients and established a plan to remove the old and unsightly asphalt and concrete from the back area of the house and replace it with a beautiful bluestone patio.

You can see that one of the challenges this yard presented was the sloped landscape.

before 2 resized 600We put a lot of thought into figuring out exactly how the grading was going to work, in order to guarantee rain water would sheet-flow away from the house, and to make sure that the house, patio, driveway, and yard were all tied together properly.

A creative solution to the grading problem was to extend a stone retaining wall out of the foundation of the house and top it with a thermal bluestone cap.

This not only solved a grading issue, but the wall is a perfect seat, running along the side of the new patio.

after 2 resized 600Emerging out of the end of the seating wall is an uncapped retaining wall that returns back into the grade and allows a perfectly scaled walkway with granite steps to guide the clients or their guests from the driveway to the patio. Unlike the smooth, newly cut granite steps within the walkway at the entrance to the patio area.

The rough, recycled granite steps anchor the far corner of the space and lead one down to the sunken grass glade below.

The finishing touches will come in the form of a custom deck being constructed adjacent to the patio and colorful perennials within all the planting pockets we created throughout the landscape. We can't wait to share the final results!

 

after 3 resized 600
after 4 resized 600

The Perfect Touch: A Danvers Paver Driveway

Improve Your Landscape With A New Paver Driveway!

Custom Paver DrivewayYou might think of your driveway as an after-thought to your landscape or yard work, but pictures from this project will change your mind! A beautiful driveway is the perfect touch for curb appeal, welcoming visitors, and creating a clean and polished look to your property.
 
We just completed a beautiful 3,000 square foot driveway in Danvers, MA using a premium combination of pavers. The different shades and shapes create an interesting and beautiful look.
 
 
Paver Drive with GarageA horseshoe section of driveway delivers you to the top parking court area and garage, which sits about 15-feet above the grade of the road.
 
Some of the details include a double interior banding of weathered brick type pavers throughout the horseshoe
section of the drive, with a single banding at the top section to delineate the parking court area.
 
 
 
Our Carpenter Costin masons custom built an inlaid, 6'-diameter compass rose as a center piece for the parking court area. Look at the detail!
Custom Compass Rose Center Piece
Installation of select landscape boulders, plants, and high-quality Kentucky bluegrass sod softens the hardscape edges and finishes off the overall aesthetic.
 
Natural Stone Garden Wall

We love sharing projects like this to start sparking ideas! If you're interested in speaking with a landscape architect who can give you ideas about giving your outdoor space the perfect touch, call us at 877-308-873 or request a free consultation.

Featured Project: Natural Stone Patio and Water Feature in Reading, MA

Transformed a Barren Slope into a Tranquil Sitting Area with Water Feature

It is amazing how many homeowners have areas of their property that they render useless for one reason or another. These areas are often hopelessly abandoned because they are deemed unusable, unsafe, or undesirable. Fortunately, with a little creativity and expertise from a Landscape Architect, not only can the abandoned be salvaged, but it can actually be transformed into desirable, useful landscaped areas.

The property in this featured project sits with a wooded slope directly to the rear of the house, rendering the “back yard” fairly useless – that is until a Carpenter Costin Landscape Architect took a look. With some fill, minor regrading, a natural stone patio, a water feature, and some tree and shrub plantings, the slope in the back yard was transformed into a tranquil, and very desirable patio area. Next spring when the plants fill in, and the pachysandra ground cover matures, this area will be the complete package of hardscape, softscape, and water feature.

See the images below to see the transformation. To have a Landscape Architect out to your property for a free consultation, click here:

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Backyard Landscape Project Before

The slope made utilizing this space a real challenge.

Natural Stepping Stones and plantings

Thinning out the trees, adding fill, and regrading helped make room for the walkway and patio.

Backyard Before Patio and Water Feature

The area had scattered ground cover, but was undesirable to say the least.

Blue Stone Patio and Water Feature

The new patio and two-tier water feature from the deck above.

Backyard Before Patio and water feature

Before bringing in the fill, the slope was so extreme it made this area useless.

Patio with Chairs and Fire Pit

Leveling off the slope made plenty of sitting room. As the plants fill in next spring it will make for a peaceful little landscape.

natural stone patio with water feature

A desirable, serene patio with a calming two-tier water feature.

Natural Stone Retaining Wall Project in West Newbury, MA

We have a unique project to kick off the newest aspect of Carpenter Costin’s online community, our “Featured Project.” We’re hoping to highlight a project every few weeks, especially if it has a cool story or shows a great transformation.

Our first “Featured Project” utilizes a recycled material found in a rather unusual location – the homeowner’s basement. While in the process of excavating his basement from a crawl space to a full sized room, the homeowner encountered a large amount of natural stone schist. Now that there was a heaping pile of schist on the lawn, the homeowner needed to decide what to do with it all.

Enter Carpenter Costin. A quick look at the property and our Landscape Architect determined that the newly excavated schist would make a great natural stone retaining wall to replace the existing railroad tie wall.

Using the recycled schist from the basement to build the wall ended up saving the homeowner thousands of dollars in material costs, and makes a for a very cool story. Not to mention – this wall looks great and will serve as a functional retaining wall for many years to come. We’ll also be adding some plants in the future to round off the project.

View the pictures to see how the wall turned out.

before retaining wall

Before: A pile of stone, plants, weeds, and dirt. Not exactly "curb appeal."

after retaining wall

After: The new retaining wall, seen here meshing well with the driveway's slope.

railroad tie wall to be removed

Before: Timber railroad ties won't last forever. This one was only beginning to fail.

schist retaining wall

After: This stone will last forever, and when properly built, will serve as a sturdy retaining wall for many decades.

old wall

Before: A grade change made this part of the property hard to use and maintain.

stairs and level grade

After: Leveling the grade and adding stairs made this part of the property functional. Once the plants are added, it will be functional and beautiful!

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