Outdoor Living Area Category


Grand Award Winners


Fine Earth Landscape, Inc.
A Bethesda Escape

The client requested a rear entertaining area that included a pool, spa, swim-up bar, fireplace, TV, and outdoor kitchen. A large rear retaining wall was built using tail-in-tail engineering. A second wall done in hand-chiseled flagstone allowed for water features to the pool and space for mounting the TV. A blade fireplace was added and covered in the same stone design. All wall caps and the pool deck were done using wet-cast stone laid on a cement base and stack bond pattern. The swim-up bar was accomplished by installing a sunken bar and kitchen between the pool and spa features. Finally, a pergola allows the client to close the louvres in case of inclement weather. This structure uses solar power to operate the mechanics. All drainage is fed to a rain garden in the front yard.

Fine Earth Landscape, Inc.
Dahut Residence

These homeowners were constructing a new home and needed an extensive entertaining area in their rear yard. Retaining walls needed to be built to hold the more than 8-foot grade change from the rear line. A pool was constructed on a raised terrace from the rear porch. The county prohibited a pool house, so a shed was built with a pergola that had a solar powered option for closing the roof. On the wall of the shed is a TV and cabinetry. The floor of the pool deck and seating area is both Pennsylvania flagstone and Zuri decking. All drainage from the rear is piped to the front yard in a large rain garden. An outdoor grilling area anchors one side of the rear terrace, and a custom-built stone fireplace with gas logs anchors the other.

Land & Water Design, Inc.
Family-Friendly Backyard

The homeowners wanted outdoor living areas to enjoy with their family and friends. The space features a spacious Techo-bloc paver patio with a seating area around a fire table and seat walls to accommodate an additional 15–20 comfortably. The Ipe pergola has a full-service kitchen complete with a Viking grill, fridge, sink, warming drawers, and a granite bar countertop. A second pergola area makes it easy to dine by the pool and spa. The centerpiece of the outdoor living area is a custom naturalistic swimming pool with a waterslide and raised fieldstone spa. For safety, a 6-foot aluminum fence and lockable and self-latching gates were installed along the perimeter of the property. A basketball court offers family playtime.

McHale Landscape Design, Inc.
Spring Hill Residence

This unique and luxurious outdoor living space features an outdoor kitchen, swimming pool, pool house, and a pavilion. Our client lives outdoors as much as possible in the summer months and asked that we create an outdoor space that included all the amenities of indoor living. Upon completion of the project, the client said, "I can vacation in my own backyard all summer."

McHale Landscape Design, Inc.
Annapolis Residence

Our client desired to rehabilitate an existing deck area and add a spa entertainment area. The project is located at the edge of a critical area restricted zone and required creative solutions to resolve poor drainage and difficult access. The sunken spa surrounded by natural stone seat walls allows for a private retreat and view to the nearby creek. A Dry Dek ceiling below the Ipe decking offers a comfortable, shaded living space year round. Plantings of Yoshino cherry, magnolia, and osmanthus provide privacy and year-round bloom and fragrance. Ipe decking with custom aluminum railings minimize maintenance and provide a sleek finish. The oversized rustic cedar beams add shade and architectural interest to the south-facing upper-level deck.

McHale Landscape Design, Inc.
Ayr Hill Residence

The existing landscape was incomplete and did not reflect the Frank Lloyd Wright style of the home. Our team designed and installed a beautiful custom cocktail pool and water feature that is enhanced with exquisite craftsmanship and neutral plantings.

Distinction Award Winner


Fine Earth Landscape, Inc.
Foster Residence

The clients on this project needed an entire rear garden. The perimeter wall was built below a new fence to allow for lighting. The rear garage wall was taken down, and a new stone garage wall was built. A free-form patio was laid with a Belgium block band installed to delineate the patio from walkway. An existing pagoda needed to be incorporated into the design, and the clients requested a custom-made locking gate, which was placed between two stone columns.

Honorable Mention Award Winner


Denison Landscaping
Lothian Estate

Last spring, our clients approached us asking to reimagine the entire space with a focus on circulation, creating a grand approach and long flowing lines throughout the landscape. All of this became particularly challenging due to the various grades; multiple entries into the home; and fixed elevations of the pool, deck, and stonework on the kitchen, waterfall, and fireplace. What resulted was hundreds of feet of walls, nearly 5,000 square feet of pavers, over 6 feet of elevation change, and a backyard getaway large enough to host hundreds of guests.