Great Spaces: Patio Paradise

A landscape designer's green thumb brings paradise to the suburbs.

Photo by Roger Foley

It was an ideal “blank slate” scenario, says landscape designer Scott Brinitzer, starting with an expansive lawn on a leafy street in McLean’s Chesterbrook Woods neighborhood. His clients, Trish and Bruce Hoffman, had a wish list that included perennial gardens, an outdoor kitchen and fireplace, al fresco dining and seating areas, and plenty of open space where their kids could play. And with nearly 15,000 square feet of yard to work with, he was able to accommodate all of it.

Brinitzer created a landscape that the Hoffmans could enjoy from both inside and outside their house. “The real beauty of a garden is when you’re cooking dinner or making breakfast and you’re looking out,” says the Arlington-based designer. Also, “the site benefited from outstanding borrowed views” of the many lush, mature trees on neighboring properties.

Responding to the Hoffmans’ love of bright, saturated colors (they are Miami transplants), he went with a seasonally changing palette that includes fuchsia-blooming crepe myrtle trees, crimson daylilies, purple coneflower, red Knock Out roses and yellow black-eyed Susans. He left open, grassy areas in both the front and back yards for Gavin, 13, and Morgan, 9, to run around, and where the family now plays croquet and badminton.

The outdoor entertaining area is anchored by a massive fireplace made from rustic Maryland fieldstone with pale flagstone trim. An iron arbor with two types of climbing wisteria creates an intimate canopy of greenery and a soft counterbalance to the stone.

Today, the space is a haven for pollinators, as well as friends and neighbors. “There are a lot of kids on the street and they’re always over,” Trish says. Adds Bruce: “We’ve had several s’mores nights!”

Project Credit:
Scott Brinitzer Design Associates

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