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American Society of Landscape Architects


April 2006 Issue

Creating a Private Haven
A landscape architect turns his bleak site into cozy terraces that invite outdoor living.

By Hermann Weis, ASLA

Copyright 2004, The Taunton Press Inc. Fine Gardening Magazine, Republished with permission.

Creating a Private Haven Hermann Weis, ASLA

From the lower level of our home near downtown Atlanta, we looked out onto an ugly, sloping pad of broken-up concrete. Beyond that were weeds and a fallen tree stump left over from Hurricane Opal’s visit in 1995. Our small backyard—60 feet wide and 80 feet deep—was also exposed to views of our neighbors’ yards and had no attractive area that could be used for outdoor living. To make things worse, the lot is steep. It drops 14 feet to the lowest point at the far-right corner.

Our initial goals were to create a private garden space and a pleasing view from the rooms that look out onto the backyard, while providing parking for at least three cars. As a landscape architect, I knew that remaking this space would be an interesting challenge. Since my wife, June, and I both like to garden—and to make the project affordable—we decided to do most of the work ourselves.

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