While we love to completely transform existing landscapes into a modern oasis, or conjour up a beautiful, innovative space for a new house, not everyone needs a complete master plan.  Sometimes a few simple but big impact elements can be added to upgrade your outdoor space.  Here we’ll share our five favorites.

Add Curb Appeal and Function with a new Entry Walk and Fence:



Here an old, narrow, concrete walkway was removed and replaced with these beautiful, oversized, tabby concrete pavers.










Previously there was no connection to the sidewalk.  By adding a new oversized brick landing at the steps and taking the entry walk all the way to the sidewalk, we are able to create a sense of welcome and connection to the neighborhood.  The addition of the brick piers and wood fence define the public and private space and the plantings of perennials and grasses give it a pop of color and texture.

Build a Deck:

If you have a great back yard, but hardly ever use it, try adding a large deck.  A deck has the advantage of being at the same level as the living area of your home making access easy and convenient.  It also makes a great space for adults to hang out and stay out of the fray while the kids run and play in the yard.  A well designed deck can create another ‘room’ in your house for entertaining in our great Charleston climate.

Add a Fire Pit:

This may be one of  the simplest elements to add.  If you have an existing stone or brick patio, adding a nice wood burning or gas fire pit can elevate your entertainment space.  The fire pits shown below are custom designs.


We love a good greenwall for use in tight spaces.  The use of the vertical space on an existing fence or wall can bring more green to your small garden.  Fill it with native grasses and perennials, or even herbs for cooking.  The Wooly Pockets system shown below is modular and can be used on various materials.  You can also simply add stainless steel cables in an interesting pattern and grow flowering vines.

Use Your Front Yard for Entertaining:

This typical suburban home is located on a canal resulting in a very narrow backyard.  By taking back some of the unused space in the front yard we have given the homeowners a great space to entertain.  A low seawall defines the space and gives privacy without feeling like the entrance is cutoff from the neighborhood.  By planting a small tree, native grasses and perennials, we further increase the privacy and enclose the patio in a beautiful garden.

Hope you enjoyed these few tips on making the most of your outdoor spaces. – H.R.K.

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We’ve been working for a while with the Middleton Group on a great project in what was once the Dwell Smart building at 804 Meeting St.  Bounded by  Meeting on one side and Morrison Drive on the other it is adjacent to the well known  Tattooed Moose Restaurant.  Faced with many  unusual constraints, we were forced to come up with a few innovative solutions to the tight spaces. A drive of permeable concrete pavers snakes through the space connecting Meeting Street to Morrison Drive.  Custom designed Corten steel bollard lighting follows the drive on the North side, protecting the building and guiding traffic.

Goat. Sheep. Cow., the well loved eatery located on Church St., has their new location here  and we designed a great outdoor courtyard for them.  Using a Corten steel and wood fence the space is buffered from the drive.


















Due to the tight conditions, plantings are minimal and include native Palms, Scouring Rush in planters and native grasses, perennials and shrub palms along the boundary fence.  Other unique elements include a lower fence next to Tattooed Moose, permeable paving for the drive and parking, custom bike racks and custom steel bollards that double as lights.











Inside the building in one of the second floor offices, we collaborated with Michael Whitfield of Green Roof Outfitters to create a green wall feature on the interior.




The result is another great addition to the neighborhood, adding more life, interest and great food to the already bustling upper peninsula area.


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After much anticipation the newest addition to the growing upper peninsula district has opened.  Pacific Box and Crate offers wonderful new additions to the food scene with the Workshop and Bad Wolf Coffee, along with much needed office space within a unique, modern campus.  From the great lawn to the courtyard at the Workshop, the spaces created for gatherings great and small really shine here.  We expect many outdoor events will utilize these spaces in the future.

 The Great lawn bordered by poured in place planters that act as seat walls.

Workshop courtyard with custom ‘box’ seats.







The woodland walk along the northern edge of the campus overlooks the great lawn and the entrance to Boomtown’s offices.

The large rain gardens both at the eastern edge of campus and in the parking lot are designed to filter runoff and provide wildlife habit.

Taken all together, this design-driven project creates a functional, engaging and high-performing landscape.

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We are excited to see the progress on a great new project in the Upper Peninsula.  Pacific Box & Crate, developed by the RavenCliff Co., will occupy an existing warehouse at the corner of King Street Ext. and Monrovia St.  There are several new buildings designed by LS3P and the Middleton Group under construction as well to create this Mixed Use Campus.  We have developed a unique, high performance landscape that ties together the buildings and provides gathering spaces to compliment them.  Thousands of native grasses and perennials went into the carefully designed rain gardens.  These systems will function to hold and clean rainwater on the site as well as providing habitat for birds and insects.  Unique elements and materials such as custom bike racks, corten steel walls and custom benches add function and fun to the space.

This sketch shows the Boomtown! plaza and rain gardens.  You can see the construction progress below.


This is a view between the buildings to what will be the courtyard for the new Workshop restaurants.


We’ve designed concrete benches in the form of ‘boxes’ for this courtyard.  Below is one of the boxes being formed.

These great bike racks were custom designed for this project.

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It’s not often you have the opportunity to work on a project that incorporates a life size, authentic reproduction of a tepee.  But that’s just what we encountered a this Daniel Island home.  An existing grove of beautiful Oak trees was the perfect foil for the tepee’s new home.  We surrounded the structure with low growing shrubs and ground cover, and designed a stone patio for a fire pit close by. With the addition of outdoor lighting and the incorporation of the client’s sculpture into the plantings of native grasses, a great entertaining experience is created.  All that’s needed now are sleeping bags and ingredients for s’mores!


photos by Patrick Brickman

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