Every Detail Matters in Mission Hills Makeover

New Patio, Planter and Seat-Wall

To create something exceptional, your mindset must be relentlessly focused on the smallest detail.
– Giorgio Armani, Italian fashion designer

At the intersection of form and function, dozens of small decisions are made in most every landscape design & build project that, when considered alone, seem to have little significance. However, as a project progresses toward completion, the combined effect of each small decision can have a major impact on the whole. The little things – and the big things – absolutely matter when it comes to creating a highly functional and aesthetically pleasing outdoor living space. As one recently completed customer project clearly demonstrates: It’s all about the details!

This particular project began when long-time customers decided to completely renovate their backyard patio and outdoor living space at their Mission Hills home. The client (a local restaurateur and his wife) wanted a multipurpose patio living area. The resulting project would need to be pet-friendly, provide the couple privacy and shade when dining al fresco together and, be able to expand to seat up to a dozen for larger dinner parties.

With demolition of an older patio, preservation of multiple existing plantings, installation of new plantings, an all-new patio surface, seat-walls, built in flower planters and a custom lighting system, the design & build task was no easy feat – but the team at Heinen was excited about the possibilities!

Front Yard Privacy Berm and Plantings

Previous Installations – Functional Landscaping

During previous projects in the client’s front yard area the Heinen team added privacy berms, landscaped with Junipers, Hydrangeas and other plantings. The berms and planting area featured stone borders and river-rock infill (for ease of maintenance).  The raised berms and plantings not only added privacy and security, but also served as an effective noise barrier from a busy street near the front of the home.

In the backyard, the Heinen crew had previously installed a wrought-iron fence around the property’s perimeter, adding additional junipers for organic texture and backyard privacy. Function and beauty at the same time? Yes, please!

The Patio Plan – Expandable Dining

Techo-Bloc Patio and Dining Area

As a successful restaurateur of note who also enjoys hosting at home, the client provided well-informed input – which the team at Heinen valued immensely. After all, this client has restaurants that serve hundreds and hundreds of diners each day – this was a client with far more than a passing knowledge of what it takes to serve a great meal in a comfortable environment! The challenge would be to design and build an intimate space for the husband and wife – and also provide an expandability option to comfortably seat a dozen. Importantly, the couple wanted the made-over space to have an upgraded look and vibe that reflected their evolving taste.

The space would also need to be easily accessible and navigable by the couple’s three aging Labradoodles – along with not showing wear and tear on the patio from the pooches’ inevitable in/out traffic as they made their way from kitchen-to patio-to backyard and back, traversing the same route two or three times a day.

Once the patio designs were created, reviewed and approved, the first order of business was demolition of an existing travertine patio. Heinen’s hardworking hardscape experts then installed a crushed limestone rock base for stability and added a soil-separation fabric above the limestone to prevent weeds. The Heinen team also installed utility sleeves for lighting wiring and sprinkler piping under the new patio with enough spare room to allow for future upgrades or additions – without requiring demolition of the new patio.

Crafted from manufactured stone, the new Techo-bloc patio pavers imitated natural earth tones – which would also surreptitiously hide any paw prints left by certain furry family members. Another intentional benefit came with the installation of the individual Techo-bloc pavers thanks to the soft grout between the heavy and durable blocks vs. a concrete or other large, solid pad. Because of the built-in expansion/contraction properties of the grout and use of weather-durable, crack-resistant, Techo-bloc pavers, the client would never need to worry about patio cracks.

Seat-Wall with Adjustable LED Lighting

Along the perimeter of the patio the Heinen hardscape professionals created a seat-wall, providing a functional – yet natural looking – feature that would easily expand casual patio seating. The intimate seat-wall acts as a link between the natural outdoor elements and the refined entertaining space.

Under the front edge of the seat-wall, Heinen nestled low-voltage LED lights controlled by a state of the art FX Luminaire control system which can be set to a timer or controlled manually for perfect mood lighting.

Planters + Plantings = Function & Form

A custom Techo-bloc planter was constructed behind the seat wall and planted with hydrangeas and roses – creating a soft backdrop to the seat wall, separating the private seating and conversation area from the downward cascading elevation of the backyard.

The new patio table seats six and can be extended to seat up to 12; in addition, occasional chairs can be pulled from the adjacent conversation pit to comfortably seat a large group at the patio table.


Patio Steps – Egress with a Green Purpose

Intelligent Design Meets Function

Since the backyard has a bit of a downward slope, Heinen included several Techo-bloc patio steps extending from the patio into the grassy backyard. These stairs serve multiple purposes: they provide a paved access route to the yard, subtly directing foot traffic. Guests know where to enter the yard versus walking between shrubs or accidentally tromping flower beds. The naturally colored stairs would also prevent the clients’ dogs from carving a muddy footpath through the grass!

Japanese Maple Preserved in Patio Design

One challenge that arose during the redesign was preservation of a stunning Japanese maple at one end of the patio. As the expanded dining area required an enlarged patio to accommodate the dining table, it appeared the maple would need to be removed. However, with creativity, angle adjustments, and custom-cut block, Heinen’s skilled craftsmen were able to design and build the new, larger patio – and preserve the beautiful tree!

The slight angle at that end of the patio provided the space needed to expand the patio and still protect the maple. Each stone paver was cut specifically and precisely and fitted in place to successfully accomplish the objectives.

From subtle lighting, to perfectly selected plants, and precisely cut stones – every inch of the design and build for this project was done with intent. In the end, managing all of the large (and small) details added up to and amazing finished project!

If you’re considering renovating an outdoor living space, contact Heinen today  After all, it’s all about the details. And at Heinen Landscape, that’s what we pay attention to!