In collaboration with Joel Parker of Kersey/Wike Landscape Architects, MH Akers Custom Homes has created this charming backyard sanctuary in the red hot Highpoint Terrace neighborhood of East Memphis. The elements of the project were bamboo peripheral screening, dining and living deck with pergola, ﬁrepit, fountain, plantings, landscape lighting, irrigation system, surface and roof water drainage system, and hard surface gathering areas.
A lot of detail and moving parts for such a conﬁned space.
The golden bamboo cultivar chosen for the screen planting will quickly grow to 12-15 feet and provide the desired privacy. Due to the bamboo’s invasive nature, it was necessary to bury barrier shielding 18 inches deep surrounding the planting space in order to discourage runners popping up where unwelcome.
The central feature is certainly the deck and pergola. The deck itself seems to ﬂoat unsupported as its bearing points are recessed from view supporting a cantilevered joist system. The surface decking is the nearly indestructible, Trex Transcend. A green choice too, as it is made 95% from recyclables. We turned to our commercial steel fabricators to fashion the contemporary pergola out of 6 inch round posts, pairs of 4 inch round beams, and 1-1/2 inch round trellis members. Both the benches surrounding the ﬁrepit and the pergola joists are 2 x 6 clear, all-heart redwood. For beauty and durability.
We brought a natural gas line to the deck to fuel the Paloform Bento ﬁrepit. Of contemporary design (cast concrete and crushed glass burning surface) its 70,000 BTU’s will keep those gathered around comfortable on chilly evenings.
The focal point fountain was a bit of a project but worth the effort. Our client preferred an upright monolith rather than a boulder (the much simpler and more typical choice for this sort of core drilled fountain stone). Underneath the menhir, which appears to just sit on its bed of gray river pebbles, is an excavation 7 feet by 7 feet by 3-1/2 deep which is ﬁtted with a watertight liner. Layered on the liner is a bed of sand then a 6 inch thick, steel reinforced foundation. Atop the foundation is a concrete and steel pedestal on which the standing stone sits (anchored with steel dowels) just below the surrounding surface grade. Into the remaining void surrounding the pedestal are ﬁtted specialized plastic crates and the submerged fountain pump. All is topped with river pebbles and ﬁlled with water. A buried electrical cable powers the show which is a pleasure to gaze upon, relaxing to listen to, and a drinking and bathing boon to our feathered friends.
Filling in the remaining spaces are various grasses, mahonias, magnolias, nandinas (another member of the bamboo family), and a Japanese maple. A lovely composition especially at twilight under the Tivoli lights and accented with discreet points of landscape lighting.
Let the backyard entertaining begin!