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A New Patio in NW Washington D.C.

Sep 11, 2023 | Patios

This Washington, D.C., homeowner sought to transform their outdoor space into a functional yet beautiful area accommodating intimate and large gatherings. They envisioned a space that seamlessly combined natural elements with modern design features. Johnson’s Landscaping was entrusted with bringing this vision to life.

Landscape Lighting

One of the most transformative modern design features in landscaping is the strategic use of lighting. Johnson’s Landscaping, recognizing the importance of making the space usable at all hours, incorporated landscape lighting into the design.

Landscape lighting ensures that the space doesn’t lose its charm or functionality as the sun sets. Whether it’s a late-night gathering or a quiet evening stroll, the lighting ensures safety and visibility.

Beyond functionality, the lighting adds an ethereal beauty to the space. The glow from the lights accentuates the textures of the flagstone patio, the curves of the stone seat wall, and the meandering stepping stone pathways. Shadows cast by the fire feature or the foliage can create dramatic visual effects, adding depth and intrigue to the space.

Stone Retaining Wall

In addition to the other natural elements, Johnson’s Landscaping introduced a stone retaining wall. This not only serves a functional purpose but also adds to the aesthetic appeal of the space.

This retaining wall ensures the longevity and sustainability of the landscaped area. Retaining walls prevent soil erosion, especially in sloped areas. The stone retaining wall, with its rugged texture and earthy tones, complements the other stone features in the space. 

The retaining wall can also serve as a backdrop for cascading plants in front or as a space for planting shrubs and flowers. This can add layers to the landscape, creating a richer visual experience.


The decision to use flagstone for the patio wasn’t made on a whim. In line with the homeowner’s vision, Johnson’s Landscaping sought a material that would exude elegance and timelessness. With its rich history and versatile application, flagstone was the ideal choice.

Unlike many modern materials that boast uniformity, flagstone is celebrated for its irregularity. Each piece is unique, ensuring that no two patios will ever look the same. This irregularity adds character to the space, making it feel organic and unplanned, as if it has naturally evolved over time.

Flagstone’s natural tones range from warm browns and tans to cool blues and grays. These colors complement other natural elements in the backyard and provide a neutral backdrop against which the modern design features can stand out.

Stepping Stone Pathways

With their winding design and placement in the grass, the pathways are more than just functional routes; they are experiential journeys connecting individuals to nature’s beauty and tranquility.

One of the standout features of these pathways is the tactile sensations they offer. The combination of solid stones and soft grass underfoot creates a delightful contrast. The stepping stone pathways are not just added features but seamlessly integrated into the landscape. Their natural tones and irregular shapes ensure that they blend in, appearing as if they have always been a part of the garden. This integration enhances the overall cohesiveness of the design, ensuring that every element, from the flagstone patio to the landscape lighting, works in harmony.

Curved Stone Seat Wall

With its durability and timeless appeal, natural stone ensures that the curved seat wall looks visually stunning and stands the test of time. Each stone piece’s unique patterns and textures add depth and character to the wall, making it a focal point in the landscape.

While the material is rooted in nature, the design of the seat wall is undeniably contemporary. Its sleek lines, smooth finish, and deliberate curvature showcase a modern architectural thought process.

One of the standout features of the seat wall is the built-in weep holes. While the wall is looks spectacular, it’s also designed to be practical. The weep holes ensure proper drainage, preventing water accumulation and potential damage. This feature showcases Johnson’s Landscaping’s commitment to creating designs that are not only beautiful but also functional.

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About the Author

Matt Johnson grew up in a family of landscapers and gardeners as the grandson of Raymond Johnson (Founder, 1933, Johnson's Florist and Garden Center) and son of James and Carol Johnson (Founders, 1960, Johnson's Landscaping Service, Inc.). Since 2007, he has led Johnson's Landscaping Service with his brother, Charlie.  Matt and his wife Jaime live in Petworth in Northwest DC with their 3 sons and 2 big dogs.

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Olney, MD 20832

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5011 Olney-Laytonsville Road
Olney, MD 20832