We Created a Beautiful Outdoor Experience in Berkeley Heights

Check Out One of Our Favorite Transformations to Date

Saint Patrick’s Day might be right around the corner. But when it came to this project in Berkeley Heights, luck had nothing to do with it! While creating this outdoor experience came with a number of challenges, none of them stopped us from accomplishing our mission and giving our client everything he wanted and more. The project required a number of outdoor solutions and services, including hardscape design and installation, landscape design, drainage implementation, outdoor lighting and more.

This Outdoor Transformation Features:

  • A fully custom, two-story deck
  • A hot tub
  • A double-sided, gas-burning fireplace (6 feet wide and 2 feet deep). Thanks to the glass covering, guests can enjoy the fire while in the hot tub without worrying that the flame will be extinguished. The fire can be enjoyed from both the hot tub and the deck lounging area.
  • A television resting right above the fireplace
  • Trees to screen the hot tub area and offer additional privacy
  • Zoned outdoor lighting. We installed a specialized transformer to create three independently controlled zones. Our client can turn the lights on and off in each zone using a smartphone or any WiFi-enabled device. This type of lighting helped facilitate our client’s vision for automating his outdoor space and creating a “smarter” home.
  • A fully custom grill island and bar area equipped with a side burner, refrigerator, ice maker and beverage center. This includes plenty of space for food prep and storage. The bar and grill are fully covered so everyone can enjoy full use of the space—rain or shine. 
  • Beams to ensure maximum use of space. We didn’t want the deck to feel cluttered with posts. Working closely with the architect, we installed three main posts to hold up the entire deck. This design opened up more space and allowed us to give our client more room for enjoyment and relaxation without sacrificing safety.

Getting Ahead of Gravity

When we first visited this Berkeley Heights home, we saw the one-story deck was old and deteriorated. The client told us he wanted a two-story deck to create more space and change the way he and his family could enjoy their backyard. Because the home was a cantilever bi-level, it wasn’t as simple as attaching a second-story deck. Cantilever homes are already gravity-defying structures that have a portion of the home protruding from the rest of the building. If you see part of a home that appears to be floating in the air, that’s a cantilever design. We knew that without additional support, we wouldn’t be able to attach a new deck to a home that’s already essentially hanging. That’s when we called in the architect. We worked together to determine how the new deck needed to be built to protect the structural integrity of the home.

Unexpected Setbacks Don’t Stop Us 

Another challenge was that when the architect was in the process of securing the necessary permits, we ran into a rear yard setback. Because the yard was on an angle, we had to modify the build from a 16-foot, second-story deck to a 12-foot deck. While we now had less space to work with than we initially planned, this didn’t change our client’s visions and goals. It was up to us to essentially reconfigure the entire design to ensure we could integrate every new feature without having the deck look and feel cluttered.

Stormwater management was another facet of this project. We increased the permeable coverage of this Berkeley Heights home by adding the new deck, so we needed to implement stormwater management. This requires an engineering mindset to understand what changes are needed. Leveraging his background in mechanical engineering, owner Steve Graul delved deep to determine the necessary steps. He collaborated with the town’s engineer and dug a test pit to ensure the water would drain properly. Graul’s oversight of the storm management helped keep the project on track and ensured the new deck would meet legal standards. We also implemented additional drainage solutions in the backyard, all of which were approved by the town’s engineer.

A Place Everyone Can Enjoy

We’re especially proud of this project because of the different areas we were able to create. Our client wanted a multi-faceted outdoor experience that each person could make their own. In the photographs, you’ll see how each section offers something different. The top deck provides plenty of open space and is ideal for everything from yoga to lounging to painting. Below that, you’ll find the outdoor kitchen and the sectional in front of the fireplace for ultimate relaxation. The party can continue on the other side of the fireplace in the hot tub or around the adjacent fire pit. This outdoor transformation offers a level of versatility that’s truly superb. What was once an outdated, single-story deck has been transformed into a two-story experience that everyone can enjoy. In our book, that makes this a job well done!

It was our privilege to see this project through from concept to completion. Although this was a very complex project that required many different skillsets, we couldn’t be more thrilled with the outcome—and neither could our client!

This project proves that with the right strategy and approach, all obstacles can be overcome. If you have a vision for your outdoor space, we’d love to hear all about it. There are almost always unexpected setbacks with outdoor projects. But we’re the team that will embrace the challenges head-on and do whatever it takes to give our clients exactly what they were looking for on Day One!

To request a consultation for your NJ home, please contact us online or call Castle Point Landscape Design at 908.512.2267 today.