Bayer could not be happier to see his clients enjoying their outdoor oasis. “Creating spaces outside for people to relax and spend time together as a family, that is why I got into this business,” he explains.
And as much as Angela loves her hometown, she admits that the views make her feel like she’s on a constant vacation. “It’s nice, every now and then, to get away…without having to leave home.”
Dan spent a lot of time camping with his family growing-up. While Dan and Angela enjoyed the maintenance-free warmth of their gas fire pit right off their deck, the family missed the rustic-feel of a natural fire. “We do love sitting by a wood-burning fire,” Angela says of their decision to create a natural fire pit farther back in the yard surrounded by trees. “It’s so cozy in the fall.”
“This fire pit not only gives them the camping-feel, it gives them a place to burn the brush they collect off all their trees,” Bayer adds.
The couple had a tree fall, so Bayer and his team cut it up and used the stumps as the bases of the benches. The seats are constructed of repurposed barn beams, and the fire pit is a Chilton Flagstone, which gives it a unique color. Bayer hollowed out parts of the tree to create one-of-a-kind path lighting leading guests to the cozy spot.
“We have a nursery that works with us to maintain our clients’ planters year-round,” Bayer explains. “We come out and get the containers at Thanksgiving, and empty them for winter storage at the nursery. Around February the planters are filled with plugs, which means they are bloomed and ready for delivery around Mother’s Day. It’s a nice Mother’s Day gift.”
This is the first year the Dunaways have taken advantage of the service. “I cannot wait until Mother’s Day when they bring them back,” Angela says.
Angela has an outdoor kitchen area right off the deck where she can prep for outdoor meals. She then simply walks down the steps, across the expanded fire pit patio and through the gate, constructed by Hess Fencing, into the pool surround where her dining area is located. The pergola is showered with color from hanging baskets and massive annual containers.
The Site Group partnered with Buckeye Pools to build the family a pool complete with a sun shelf, LED lighting, and fire and water features. “The Dunaways are very active and athletic, so we made sure this was a sport-friendly pool with anchors for basketball hoops and a volleyball net,” Bayer says.
The entire outdoor renovation started in August and was completed before Thanksgiving. “That year was so warm that after the pool was complete, they swam while we were working on the rest of the project,” Bayer remembers.
“I love to walk. But there are not a lot of areas to walk close to our house, so Ben built a walking trail for me. Three times around is a mile. The dogs and I love it,” Angela says of her frequent walks with her two golden retrievers.
Angela adds that The Site Group comes and refurbishes the gravel on her path as part of their maintenance program offered to clients. “We call it the Site Gardener,” Bayer describes. “We visit the property once a month to weed, prune, and check the walkway.”
And she’s right. A trip to Italy can be tasted when Angela prepares pasta for her large family dinners around their repurposed, barn-wood table. Children’s voices telling ghost stories on family camping trips can be heard floating up from the smoke of the wood-burning fire pit. And the Famous Oysters ‘Turtlefeller’ from The Turtle Club in Naples, Florida can be smelled as you walk by the fire torches surrounding the pool.
Angela and Dan Dunaway love to travel. And with the help of Ben Bayer, a partner with The Site Group, they’ve brought a piece of their travels home with them to their back yard.
“Years ago, I used to pick up ornaments when I traveled. Now I seem to pick up landscaping ideas,” Angela Dunaway admits with a laugh when discussing her newly renovated back yard. “But I love having different design influences. It makes me feel like I’m on vacation all the time.”