OUTDOOR DESIGN - A Weekend Getaway Becomes A Permanent Home

An award-winning project by McHale Landscape Design, Inc.


When a retired Bethesda couple decided to modernize and enlarge their weekend house in Easton, Maryland, for full-time living, they encountered an unusual problem. Although the property sat along the picturesque banks of the Miles River, the views from the back of the home looked directly into the neighbor’s residence and yard.



The couple turned to landscape architect Richard Sweeney of McHale Landscape Design, Inc., who presented them with a novel solution to the problem: Alter the existing landscape just enough to direct the eye to the west and its beautiful riverside sunsets. An old, oval-shaped swimming pool was redesigned as a rectangle and placed at a 45-degree angle from the house. The mortared flagstone patio was removed, and a new one of the same material was dry-laid in a random rectangular pattern to lend the outdoor living area a more casual air and complement the contemporary-style addition at the back of the house.



Down by the river, Sweeney installed a fire pit along with native species that filter runoff water before it empties into the river. Plantings include Coreopsis and annual yellow petunias, chosen to fit the color scheme of a daughter’s wedding that was held near the water. Now, when sitting on the terrace, the homeowners look out over the pool to a rolling lawn dotted with stately trees, and the river beyond.

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