Hardscape Solutions: Go with the flow

September 19, 2022 -  By

Location: Bethesda, Md. 

Company: Rossen Landscape

A 12-foot retaining wall at the back of the property was a blank canvas for Rossen Landscape to work on. The client wanted the wall not to be an eyesore; Rossen Landscape’s solution was a custom water feature.

“It was very technical in nature,” says Jeff Rossen, founder of Rossen Landscape. “Screening that back retaining wall with plant material and the water feature and the vines we have going on, it was all very important to the client. We had to special order copper for the whole thing.”

With a uniquely long and narrow yard, the landscape has what Rossen Landscape called a “bowling alley effect.”

The property presented drainage issues, as the water runs from the back to the front of the home. Rossen Landscape addressed that issue, in part, with Mexican pebbles surrounding the large bluestones that create a path throughout the backyard.

“Everything in the property flows from the back to the front,” says Rossen. “The backyard is very small, so we captured all the water through a series of panel drains and catch basins and carried that water all the way around the house. The infrastructure for the water was one of the first things that went in.”

Rossen says the property was a welcome challenge for his team, who had the backing of the client throughout the process.

“The design is something we’re very proud of,” he says. “It’s very modern. We don’t have the opportunity to be able to design that way very often. You just have to have the right client to do it.”

(Photo courtesy of Rossen Landscape)

(Photo courtesy of Rossen Landscape)

A full view of the narrow backyard, which Rossen Landscape aimed to divide into “rooms” for use in different seasons.

(Photo courtesy of Rossen Landscape)

(Photo courtesy of Rossen Landscape)

Due to a drastic grade change, the 12-foot retaining wall was a required part of the landscape.

(Photo courtesy of Rossen Landscape)

(Photo courtesy of Rossen Landscape)

A before view of the retaining wall and its potential drainage issues.

(Photo courtesy of Rossen Landscape)

(Photo courtesy of Rossen Landscape)

The large water feature uses custom-ordered copper and provides a unique way of integrating the retaining wall into the landscape.

(Photo courtesy of Rossen Landscape)

(Photo courtesy of Rossen Landscape)

A view of the right side of the backyard features large bluestone steppers as a walkway.

(Photo courtesy of Rossen Landscape)

(Photo courtesy of Rossen Landscape)

The water feature is a point of pride for Rossen Landscape.

(Photo courtesy of Rossen Landscape)

(Photo courtesy of Rossen Landscape)

The large water feature uses custom-ordered copper and provides a unique way of integrating the retaining wall into the landscape.

(Photo courtesy of Rossen Landscape)

(Photo courtesy of Rossen Landscape)

The client requested this outdoor dining area made of flagstone and an outdoor kitchen.

(Photo courtesy of Rossen Landscape)

(Photo courtesy of Rossen Landscape)

The fire pit serves as an outdoor space designed for use in the fall and summer.

Rob DiFranco

About the Author:

Rob DiFranco is Landscape Management's associate editor. A 2018 graduate of Kent State University, DiFranco holds a bachelor's degree in journalism. Prior to Landscape Management, DiFranco was a reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio.

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