A patio retreat is hidden from the street

COLLEEN SMITH,  – May 24, 2005

A secluded nook outside this home looks like it belongs in a backyard. But it’s actually located in a south-facing front yard. Homeowners Patti Bowen and Monte Atkinson of Boulder wanted a woodsy retreat where they and their son and dogs could relax, but the property lacked a backyard. So they turned their attention up front, focusing on an area beneath the canopy of a sprawling ash tree.

To create a sense of enclosure and solve the site’s drainage problem at the same time, landscape architect Linn Green designed a sunken patio. A circular area 12 feet in diameter was excavated about 18 inches deep. Then slabs of randomly cut red flagstone were laid on a gravel base. Since no mortar was used, the recessed patio provides a permeable surface, allowing rainwater that runs off the yard to seep quickly into the earth below. Dry-stacked moss-rock boulders form retaining walls around the patio.

To screen the area from the street, foliage plants were placed around the perimeter. They include a sumac with orange blooms (front). The garden received an Award of Excellence from the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado.

DESIGN: Linn Green, Green Landscape Architecture, Allenspark, CO (303/747-2375)

INSTALLATION: L.I.D. Landscapes, Boulder ( www.lidlandscapes.com or 303/440-7833)

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