Pergola Patio Retreat

National Park Feel In Your Own Backyard

When homeowners Phil and Shannon Wondra bought their home in the Denver area several years ago, they dreamed of great things for their property. Avid gardeners and outdoor lovers, they envisioned turning their backyard into a beautiful garden oasis.

Inspired by their years of working for the National Park Service, they wanted to create a natural setting with the beautiful stonework and character they’d seen throughout the national parks from Maine to Washington. The carriage roads and bridges in Acadia, the stone lodge in Yosemite and the rock walls along roadways in Glacier and Shenandoah all created a feeling of heritage and durability they wanted for their home. They explored the different product options at a local Home & Garden show, and discovered Allan Block.

Terraced walls with stairs and courtyard posts

Inspired by their years of working for the National Park Service, they wanted a natural setting with the beautiful stonework and character

Courtyard Posts

Lighting was also important to us. It was easy to accent the walkway with lighting installed throughout the patio

Post for pergola using corner blocks

"Absolutely great design flexibility" - Phil Wondra, homeowner

Shannon liked the natural look of the antiqued AB Europa Collection. Phil saw the “absolutely great design flexibility” of the matching AB Courtyard Collection. Together the two products gave them everything needed to create planters, posts, seating benches and a low courtyard wall around their patio in a color that complimented their home’s exterior.

Phil explained some additional design criteria. “Due to several years of drought, one of our goals was to substantially reduce the size of our yard and the grass we had to water. We replaced it with raised planters and installed a drip sprinkler systems to efficiently keep moisture in the flowerbeds. Lighting was also important to us. Allan Block’s hollow core design made it easy to have accent and walkway lighting installed throughout the patio”.

Working with a landscape architect for the overall site plan, and Slaton Bros., who did the hardscape plan and construction, they created a stunning design. The project included 50 lineal ft (15 m) of 5 ft (1.5 m) wide raised planter beds using AB Europa, an 800 sq ft (74 m2) paver patio with 48 ft (14.5 m) of seating wall using the AB Courtyard Collection, an overhead pergola and a “grand staircase” leading from the patio to the backyard gardens.

Phil commented on the installation process, “considering the huge quantity of block, crushed stone, sand and dirt that was staged in our cul-de-sac, I was surprised and delighted to have installation completed within two months. There were a couple of enhancements to the design once we got started, but with such a flexible system, it was no problem.”

The end result for Phil and Shannon is a dream come true. “Our backyard gardens are designed to re-create the natural beauty and stonework you’ll see in the national parks. Allan Block brought that home to us. We love being out there just enjoying the surroundings. The smooth curves and rockwork patterns; its so amazingly natural and everything we dreamed of”.

Excerpt from Landscape Newsletter Issue #7