Amy’s Backyard Retreat: An Independence Landscape Project Showcase

Amy and Derek, who love to entertain at their home in Alexandria, envisioned a space where they could create lasting memories with friends and family. However, their backyard presented unique challenges – a sudden slope and an unsightly drainage swale. When they sought the expertise of Independence Landscape, co-founder Chad Evans took the helm, guiding them through an extraordinary transformation.

“Our biggest challenge was transforming an oddly shaped backyard into a usable, fun entertainment space.”

Chad Evans, Independence co-founder

Design Collaboration with Amy

Amy, who has a natural eye for design, played an active role in the project. From selecting appliances and counters to choosing landscape lights, she infused her personal style into every element. The collaborative process between Independence Landscape and Amy was more than a construction project; it was an artistic endeavor, a shared vision brought to life.

Process & Scope

Over several weeks, Amy collaborated extensively with Chad and Senior Landscape Designer Connor Simmons. Together, they fine-tuned designs and selected materials, ensuring every aspect resonated with Amy’s vision. Independence managed all necessary permitting with the County, addressing the project’s intricate steps, electrical and gas components. This meticulous planning and collaboration laid the foundation for a seamless three-month installation that was completed in July 2023. 

All hardscape work was performed by master mason Eder “Chito” Garcia, who brings precise craftsmanship to every project, and his crew. The project’s scale is evident in the numbers: the crew worked for 1,584 man hours and used 17 pallets of hardscape materials, not counting the fire pit, gravel and concrete base.

Major Elements of the Project


Ensuring comfortable access from the back porch to the patio was paramount. Independence designed and built an attractive set of Trex steps with integrated landscape lighting, complemented by two Rocka steps at the bottom. The result was not just functional but a visually appealing transition connecting different spaces.


The 1,008-square-foot patio seamlessly integrates various elements. Techo-Bloc products were carefully chosen for their aesthetic appeal and durability. Together with Amy, we selected an earthy grey slab with a black double border and black joint sand for contrast and a clean, modern look. The finished patio dramatically transformed the backyard with its unique custom design.

Outdoor Kitchen

Derek’s favorite area, the outdoor kitchen, allows him multiple grilling options to host large groups of friends and family. Featuring quartz countertops, veneer stone, a 38″ gas grill with an infrared rotisserie burner, a 32″ stainless steel teppanyaki grill, a beverage fridge and a 25″ drop-in ice bin cooler with a condiment holder, this space was designed for both functionality and style. Landscape lights under the countertops added a finishing touch, creating an inviting ambiance.

Fire Pit

Near the perimeter of the patio, Independence installed a stylish Techo-Bloc gas fire pit. Designed with convenient ignition control and decorative black glass rock, this is a focal point for gatherings. Accompanied by four Adirondack chairs and a split seating wall, the fire pit comfortably accommodates up to 10 people, creating an intimate yet expansive seating area.

Landscaping & Dry Creek Bed

Tasteful landscaping softened the expansive hardscaped area, featuring crape myrtle, redbud and vibrant pollinators like butterfly bushes, coneflowers and catmint. Boulders were strategically placed for dimension and erosion control, and a dry creek bed was introduced to address drainage challenges. The crew that installed these elements was led by Victor Contreras, one of Independence’s most experienced landscape and drainage experts.

“I wanted a space that was not only functional but reflected our style. Independence Landscape made that happen.”

Amy, Independence Client

Here for the Long Haul

At Independence, we are committed to collaboration, expert craftsmanship and long-term relationships. If you’d like to create an outdoor oasis to suit your lifestyle, please explore more projects for inspiration or contact us today to get started.