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Hofer Residence



Hofer Residence

Design Objectives
Designing the Hofer residence rear outdoor living space presented some interesting challenges. The existing site contained a unique pergola and a triangular flagstone patio in disrepair. As part of expanding the rear of the house, the Hofer’s decided to create a more interesting rear living space. Incorporating the new pergola, connecting the new doorway to the master suite, and solving a water problem at the rear mud room door of the house provided quite a challenge. Furthermore, Lynn Hofer wished to have a large patio without feeling too large and somehow incorporate an outdoor shower for her "dirty contractor husband" Barry, to rinse off before entering the house.

Tying these things together into a cohesive design became even more difficult. The rear yard slopes directly toward the rear of the house and especially between the existing pergola and the house. The client even admitted that the pergola should have never been positioned in the middle of the yard with no thought to the future. As with all Dietrick landscapes designs, a good balance of color, texture, fragrance, seasonal interest, and low maintenance were also concerns to integrate into the design.

Introducing an informal dry-stacked stone wall between the pergola and the house provides enough grade change to install all the lower terrace level with enough pitch to solve previous water problems. Initially, pipe was scheduled to be installed to collect water from the lower terrace and send it to the front yard. However, after seeing how well the rear shower water percolated into the ground, this was avoided. Usually, things work the other way!!! The use of two 6"x18"x72" bluestone slabs make for a set of simple solid steps. A quality clay brick (Pine Hall "Old Town") was chosen for its chamfered edges and compatibility with bluestone. The use of two materials allows the patio to function for a large gathering as well as just the Hofer family of five. The effect of using the bluestone inlay visually decreased the enormity of the paved area, designated the dining space, and created traffic flow patterns from the various doors to the functional outdoor spaces. The result of the construction and a tribute to the designer, the pergola now looks as if it was always meant to be in this exact location. The pergola, designed by someone else, has an interesting design element. Stainless steel cable, grommets and some canvas form shades that can closed in the heat of day and then opened up for a night of star gazing.
Plant materials had to be drought tolerant and minimal care for clients with twin newborn sons and a young daughter. Three Sweetbay magnolia will eventually form the canopy for the patio area and a Sugar maple will someday provide additional shade. A small hedge of Compact Japanese holly divides the upper patio from the lower and makes a nice background for various perennials and annuals. The Miss Kim lilac and the magnolias make for fragrant evenings on the patio. A mix of perennials and annuals provide color throughout the season with a minimum of effort.

The Shower enclosure was inspired by the pergolas lines and a rusted iron sun plaque hanging on the front provide a whimsical focal point from the main patio. The shower is quite a conversation starter, and, of course, my wife now wants one for her dirty husband! A Tom Torrens gong gets its own special place on axis directly out from the living room window providing a nice focal point.

The Hofer’s thought they were getting a new master suite. Instead, they now have three new rooms for their home. Future plans include a pool and pool house on axis out the rear of the pergola. Good design always leads to more work!

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