In a storied and architectually significant neighborhood, Pine Hall Brick Rumbled Pavers merge with some modern aesthetics vastly improve a backyard in need of some TLC. (All photos courtesy Hans Kalkofen.)
Hans Kalkofen and Eric Hanson are owners of Garden’s Edge Hardscapes and Landscapes and Natural Perspectives, respectively. Two landscaping visionaries who just completed this innovative space in The Fan District in Richmond, Virginia.
The Fan is a residential section of the city literally shaped like a fan that was primarily developed in the late 19th and early 2oth centuries. It’s a beautiful and desirable environment, notable for having the largest expanse of Victorian homes in the United States.
But one of the home’s backyards had become uncharacteristically less than genteel.
“This project has totally transformed the way we use our yard. It was a glorified mud puddle before Hans and Eric worked their magic. Now it’s our favorite ‘room’ in the house!”
A beautiful historic home over 100 years old in The Fan District of Richmond, just needed a little vision. Hans Kalkofen and Eric Hanson brought it with deep, rich clay pavers and vibrant, verdant synthetic turf.
Owners had made the best of the narrow, sloping patch fenced in behind a perfectly fine home. In fact the house is a historically contributing property built in 1895.
But needs were changing with two playful dogs and new baby.
“The homeowners contacted me because they had a patchy lawn with a series of aging paver stepping stones and they were looking for a whole yard makeover,” said Hanson. “They have two very active dogs and a baby. They wanted to be able to have an area their family could enjoy while also staying functional for a stroller.”
Clay pavers, properly installed, are very smooth, even for rolling a sleeping baby back inside for naptime.
The existing shed looks new with the fesh patio of Rumbled Full Range and Cocoa clay pavers. Installed properly, as shown, pavers make a very smooth surface, even for a baby stroller.
Kalkofen and Hanson wanted to put a modern twist on the installation by incorporating a reveal on the wall block as the walkway sloped to the landing. This way, the caps actually begin at paver height and slowly drop with the grade.
The project is not just “cool looking” it also features synthetic turf that utilizes a cooling gel sand to stand up to the traffic of their two dogs, who stay very active in the area.
Dealing with the slope was a challenge and an aesthetic opportunity. Kalkofen explains that step down to the bottom landing was a necessity due to the steep slope between the back steps of the home and the existing rear gate. Without it, there would have been quite a ramp through the yard.
“Since the home features large, chiseled blocks on the front facade of the building, we opted to keep with a classic look with the materials selection,” said Hanson. “The Pine Hall Brick Rumbled Full Range pathway brick paired really nicely with Belgard’s Bel Air wall and cap in Danville Blend, and the clay paver cocoa border tied the whole thing together.”
The home was built in 1895. The landscape design draws inspiration from the chiseled blocks seen on front entrance.
“Now it’s our favorite room in the house!” – Margaret Ogden, homeowner.
“We were really pleased with the antiqued look that the Rumbled Full Range brought to this historic property,” said Kalkofen, “and we thought the Cocoa border really added a nice touch to the overall look of the project.“
Stepping back and looking toward the home, you see a fresh new urban outdoor room with privacy and space to play that befits life in The Fan.
“This project has totally transformed the way we use our yard,” said homeowner Margaret Ogden. “It was a glorified mud puddle before Hans and Eric worked their magic. Now it’s our favorite ‘room’ in the house!”
Hardscape meets softscape. The Rumbled pavers pair nicely with the historic home district, while the synthetic turf adds maintenance free play space a couple of dogs and their new little buddy.