Ground One designed and built a deck off the back of the house for casual sitting, mirroring the house’s front porch. This deck and the screened porch steps descend to a patio terrace. To expand the entertaining space and accommodate the setback restrictions for a permitted gas firepit, we excavated the lot’s back slope to gain bonus space and create a rustic campfire spot. Large boulders found on the site during house construction are incorporated into a retaining wall. Colonial bluestone fills the gaps between these large accent stones and surrounds the firepit. Additional boulders hold up the patio and a slab of bluestone bridges the terrace and patio, preserving the overall drainage pattern. Bluestone is the common thread throughout the project, but it is used in different forms; clean lines closer to the house transition to a more weathered look as you move toward the natural area. The swale is a variety of boulder sizes and river rock to create a more visually-compelling creekbed.
The firepit patio is comfortable for just two people, but can also accommodate a larger group. It is close to the dining space, but physical separation allows for entertaining in different configurations: pre-dinner cocktails around the fire, a roaring flame as backdrop during dinner, kids roasting marshmallows while the adults linger within sight at the dining table, or the gang huddled around a bonfire.