Featured DC Project: Factors to Consider When Building in the Palisades
The Palisades is a neighborhood in Washington, DC, and here at Design Builders we recently completed a backyard and kitchen renovation in that area that we’re excited to share with you! If you live in or near the Palisades and are thinking about undertaking a home improvement project, here are some details about that recent job to inspire you, as well as general reminders when looking to build in the area.
The Palisades is located along the Potomac River, and it runs from the border of Georgetown University’s campus to the boundary between Maryland and DC. The most important fact about this location—for this featured Palisades project and any other potential work in that area—is its relation to the Potomac. Being so close, the area tends to have various water issues, and these need to be addressed through functional and clever design.
Design Builders, Inc. screened in an existing front porch as part of the Palisades home renovation.
This project presented particular water-related challenges because it was a low-lying house in a gulley. This meant the biggest concern with the backyard was water management. Being below the alley and street level, the house simply didn’t present anywhere for the water to go, so we had to create design elements that simultaneously dealt with water accumulation and didn’t detract from the home’s general aesthetic.
With those goals in mind, we added the following features:
Dry well in the backyard
Hidden under the patio, this 10’ x 10’ x 6’ pit was created to collect all the water from the patio and downspout runoff. By collecting the water in this manner, we minimized the likelihood the backyard would ever be fully saturated, and by hiding it under the patio, it didn’t detract in any way from the look of the design itself.
In order to take full advantage of the dry well, we created the patio with a permeable flagstone surface. This material is attractive but also allows the water to seep down and to collect in that hidden reservoir.
As part of the larger water management system, we also added a beautiful retaining wall made from Eldorado Stone. The structure was finished off with a decorative top cap.
Beyond water management, the other major concern with this home was creating a beautiful but low-maintenance space. To achieve that goal, we added the following design elements:
Decorative gravel and stone along the sides of the house
As anyone who lives in the area knows, grass in the Palisades region is a challenge. We wanted, therefore, to minimize the grass to one small section of the backyard, and through the placement of stone and gravel, we attempted to make the rest aesthetically pleasing but as maintenance free as possible.
The kitchen in this project walks directly out to the back patio area and the backyard. By completely renovating the interior room, it became an extension of that potential exterior entertainment space. During outdoor get togethers, this helped ensure it’s going to be seamless and easy to transition from where the food is prepared to where it’s enjoyed.
Your Palisades Project: Go Local
If you’re thinking about undertaking a home improvement project in the Palisades, the most important thing is to work with a design and build firm that has direct experience in that area. As our recently completed project demonstrates, the Palisades neighborhood presents some unique challenges in terms of exterior maintenance and water management, and if you work with a company that isn’t well versed in those issues, you could very well end up with ineffective solutions or design elements that detract from the project’s overall beauty.