NALP Awards Rossen Landscape Top Honor for Modern Marvel Project

The Bethesda transformation takes gold in nationwide contest.

We are excited to share that Rossen Landscape has won a gold-level Award of Excellence from the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP). The NALP Awards recognize commercial and residential lawn care and landscape installation, maintenance and design. The organization selects winners from across the nation. Our backyard project, Modern Marvel, was the Award Level 1 – Gold recipient for the Residential Design/Build category.

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A Modern Marvel

This cozy outdoor landscape — as part of a newly constructed residence — offers a unique seasons-themed design with a splash of Japanese-inspired elements and natural materials. An oversized thermal flagstone stepper path leads to a spacious flagstone dining patio. Nearby, a transitional space offers a breathtaking view of the home's industrial-chic interior and a custom-built copper fountain against a concrete retaining wall. A large fire pit is nestled between the screen porch and retaining wall, which also includes built-in seating. The far end of the yard is a nod to Zen gardens, with Japanese-style specimen plants and stones.

The standout feature of this backyard, however, is the seasonal theme tying the entire space together.

"From the spring-blooming plants in the walkway and the large summer entertainment patio with the revitalizing fountain to the fall fire pit and evergreen topiary rock garden, each space provides the client with a unique way to experience their landscape," said April Sullivan, Senior Design and Sales Consultant with Rossen Landscape and lead designer on this project.

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Tackling Challenges Head-On

The homeowners had a clear and straightforward goal: they wanted a multi-functional outdoor space to match their newly built home. However, the narrow layout of their backyard turned that simple vision into intricate layers of problem-solving and creativity. And while it was a massive challenge, it was a fun one. It allowed us to think outside the box and develop some unique and inspiring ideas.

Our team's biggest hurdle was the house's location against the back of the property line, offering very tight space for a backyard setting. The restricted space and grade change required the construction of a 12-foot concrete retaining wall.

"The rear yard between the house and the wall was long and narrow, creating a bowling alley effect," Sullivan said. "We had to find a way to break up the length of the space into attractive and usable areas. The large concrete retaining wall was a requirement, so we had to tie it into the design and aesthetic of the space."

The result was turning the narrow space into multiple outdoor rooms. To embrace the retaining wall as part of the design and expand the home's industrial-chic interior into the exterior, our team left the wall beams in place as an architectural feature. We also covered a portion of the wall with Norstone natural stone veneer to give it a more elegant feel.

Drainage was also a significant issue on the property, so we incorporated Mexican pebbles between the large oversized thermal blue flagstones in the walkway to allow additional stormwater runoff.

After tackling those challenges, the rest of the design flowed beautifully.

We installed motorized Phantom Screens on the screen porch, perfect for gorgeous summer evenings, and Bluestone Blue Select Natural Cleft on the walkway and patio.

Unique copper elements, such as the fire pit and fountain, emphasize the home's industrial-chic décor.

“Most of this job is truly custom," Sullivan said. "You're not just going to walk into a store and find that fountain anywhere. It's one of a kind. When you walk into their kitchen, it's what you see, and it's beautiful."

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The End Result

True teamwork and innovation allowed us to create a high-functioning yet eye-catching space that met the customer’s vision, offering them an elegant, usable outdoor space where they can spend family time or entertain guests.

Whether you’re building a new home or looking to upgrade your existing outdoor space, Rossen Landscape can make your dreams a reality. Contact us today to discuss your ideas.