Landscape architecture firm The MacDowell Company took a cookie-cutter backyard in Lexington to a higher level, creating an alfresco living room and outdoor kitchen where family and friends can gather to barbecue and watch the game.
The spacious grounds provided a ready canvas for a redesign, which began with the removal of the deck and stair off the kitchen for the upgrade to a multi-programmed stone terrace with a dedicated dining area and custom fire pit design. Owner Bruce MacDowell Jr., of The MacDowell Company, much prefers “the life that natural stone has” to decking, and it’s not hard to see why. This project is chock full of beauty and nuance, and features a heavy, three-inch Blue Mist granite for the flatwork and stone wall caps, a Connecticut Blend in an Ashlar pattern for the vertical stone and a tawny umbria granite that adds additional warmth to the radial stonework by the fire pit.
The two sections that bookend the terrace form a winning combination. Guests can be seated at the table by the grill master, who works magic in an outdoor kitchen outfitted with a built-in grill, refrigerator, storage and a recycling center—before congregating on plush seating around the fire well into the evening. An outdoor TV, mounted on a cantilevered swivel, ensures that everyone gets a view of the action.
For the softscape, The MacDowell Company installed a fence for privacy, and specified a combination of ornamental deciduous trees and flowering perennials for interest throughout the shoulder and summer seasons. They then added ambiance (and a bit of magic) by uplighting the trees and illuminating key points within the hardscape.
"After" photograph by Shelly Harrison