“This is Our Cottage”
02 JUL 2019
By Ted McIntyre
“Each project excites me,” Daniel Pacheco observes. “Coming up with the design, seeing the 3D model Design come to life, the project come to fruition and the homeowners excited. It is life changing.”
Pacheco isn’t building a new home, but the owner of Scenic Stone Landscape & Design has indeed created a new living space at his latest project in Etobicoke, Ontario.
A six-week project stretched into a soggy eight week project due to Mother Nature’s unrelenting wrath, where a record eight inches of rain fell. The finished product for clients Terry and Jennifer Young was worth the wait. What was, just two months ago, an uninspiring expanse of empty yard with a humble sitting area is now an oasis for the Youngs and their two children.
“It’s amazing,” Jennifer beams. “We look at the before and after shots and can’t believe the transformation. I think the whole design works really well. It’s like we bought ourselves a backyard view. I actually took a picture from inside the house and sent it to Daniel the other day.”
A stunning birch tree near the entrance and a handsome new cabana/pavilion structure at the back anchor the right-hand side of the two-tiered yard. New plantings run the remaining length of the rear portion, connecting to a strand of small trees that now hug the left fence line.
Armour stones border the yard’s lower elevation on three sides—the centerpiece being a pool whose geometric shape helps define the rear portion of the yard, Pacheco explains. “I love the way it jogs inward to help maximize space around the pavilion area. And I really like the six-foot-long shallow shelf of pool. They’re going to put water chairs on that shelf.
“The Youngs’ choice of materials exude elegance,” Pacheco says. “The Unilock Natural Stone (Greyfield) pool coping, and the Unilock Umbriano French Grey pavers bordered with Copthorne Basalt really finishes it off nicely. I wish every one of my customers had the budget for the Umbriano paver. It can be modern, contemporary, or can be a little more traditional, as shown here, with a 45-degree angle pattern. Umbriano has a very clean, granite-like finish to it.”
If there was one unexpected transformation, it was right outside the patio door. “When we ripped out the original boards of their deck, we discovered we had to rip out the entire frame, which added two days to the project,” Pacheco notes. “The footings were not sufficient. Everything was off. I believe a less experienced contractor had taken on the project for the previous homeowner. But since the Youngs don’t have a shed in the backyard, and the cabana is mostly for pool equipment, this gave us the opportunity to create an outdoor storage area of sorts. It’s an AZEK composite deck, with a side gate to access below. The homeowners are really happy with it. We also used a Trex RainEscape system that goes underneath the new deck. It collects all the water, runs through a downspout, through a PVC pipe and shoots off the side.
“As a Unilock Authorized Contractor and as a professional in general, drainage, grading and what lies beneath is always our priority,” Pacheco adds.
Speaking of dealing with water, the mud strip that long served as the entry point between the Youngs’ and their neighbour’s home is now a healthy green turf bordered by walkways of immaculately interlocked stones.
“We commandeered the neighbour’s walkway for this project,” Pacheco reminds. “He was very understanding and is extremely happy with how his side has turned out.”
And the clients’ reaction? “The final invoice was paid over two beers on a Saturday,” Pacheco smiles. “We couldn’t have finished the project at a better time. It was the first sunny day we’d had at 25C. The kids were in the pool.”
Projects like this always result in referrals. “A couple of their friends have come over. They can’t believe the transformation,” Pacheco says. “We’re already in talks about doing something in their backyards, including a pool.”
Jennifer expects that their backyard oasis will get a heavy workout in the months and years to come. “If the weather cooperates, this is where we’ll be all summer,” she says. “We don’t usually vacation in the summer, because my son has sports. So we’ll just come from baseball and soccer to home.”
Do you have a cottage?
Jennifer turns and smiles.
“This is our cottage.”
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