52nd Ave. Residence

52nd Ave. Residence

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Wausau, WI

A family of six needs room to roam, and this 1,165 sq. ft. outdoor living area provides plenty. 

Before its construction, the home’s backyard had consisted of a large expanse of bare grass and an old, gray concrete patio that was cracked in spots. The family wanted something with more of a ‘wow’ factor that would allow them spend more quality time outdoors. 

The designer met multiple times with the homeowners during the initial design phase of the project. Once they brainstormed ideas and developed a concept for the project, he first sketched it out on paper and then used spray paint to lay it out on the physical location. This helped put the homeowners at ease that they project would truly meet their needs.

Two patio levels help to break up the space into more inviting areas. The curved edges of the patios soften their appearance. They did require more cutting, but the homeowners agreed that it was worth the extra expense.A series of seat walls defines the space and helps to camouflage the hot tub, which no longer dominates the backyard. One of the walls features a wider countertop to be used as a serving counter. 

Because the site is very flat, the designer had to keep a close eye on how water would drain off the patios to prevent frost heaving. Raising the lower patio slightly above the grass line and paying close attention to slope ensured that any water falling on the surfaces would end up in the grass rather than collecting on the pavers. 

The materials were chosen to match the home, starting with the pavers. The homeowners chose a large, flagstone-like concrete paver in a subtle blended gray color. They liked the various shapes and texture, which differs from standard patio pavers and lends a unique appeal. A charcoal gray concrete paver with a hammered texture was selected for the subtly contrasting border. 

For the fireplace and seat wall pillars, the homeowners requested a look that did not feature obvious mortar joints. A dry stack ledgestone fit the bill perfectly, in multiple colors that complement both the home and the pavers. The stucco between the pillars was colored to match the future color of the home, since the homeowners plan to re-clad the home in darker gray siding. 

A smooth limestone was chosen for the serving counter, both for its pleasing appearance and because it is easy to clean. The same stone appears on horizontal surfaces throughout the installation, with the exception of the steps. Here, a complimentary-colored concrete block provides durability. 

Wet weather and delayed availability of the limestone tops presented challenges towards the end of construction. The property line did not leave much room for the crew to maneuver with the heavy block on wet soil. Fortunately the neighbor was cooperative.  The construction of the project ended up impacting the lawn more than planned. However, the contractor was able to repair it to the customer’s satisfaction before quitting the job. 

Thanks to this project, the family now enjoys a greater degree of privacy in their backyard, and a much greater incentive to spending time outdoors. 

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