Top Notch Landscapes

Fire Feature & Sitting Area At The Johnsons Farmhouse

May 28, 2020 | Fire Feature, Landscape

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Wayne and Wendy Johnson contacted us in May of 2019 to build an outdoor patio sitting area with a fire pit. They have a cool farmhouse off the Stone River golf course in Royse City, Texas. Wendy used to race horses and has a passion for rescuing horses and dogs. The back of the property is pasture with a barn. The landscape wrapping the house has a southwest feel to it with all rock beds and a somewhat sparse planting of native and adaptive plants. It has a rough, southern feel to it. Wayne did almost all the work himself and has a similar taste in landscaping that I do. They showed me the area where they wanted the patio, a sloped area between the fence and the pool with pathway on either side. We really wanted to have the patio match the existing theme of the landscape. We planned to use all the space available and use the same materials as used throughout the existing

Johnson Home

landscape. With three teenage kids and swim parties they could use all the space they can get. The Johnson’s showed me some pictures of what they’re looking for to give me some inspiration. I went to the drawing board and sketched out a couple options.  

We met back up to discuss the options and settled on something that really turned out great. We would have a large oval-shaped patio overlayed in oklahoma flagstone with a bench on the back end. The bench with a high back would create a visual block to the back of the property and makes the area feel more like a room. In front of the bench we decided to put a beautiful custom-made fire feature made of oklahoma stone as well but chopped and dry-stacked to give it its own character. Then, we would use the same native rip rap stone that Wayne used on the rest of the landscaping to wrap the patio and tie it all together. We fixed the slope issue by lowering the patio and installing flagstone slab steps to get down to the patio. We didn’t plan to do much planting except a few fan palms and yuccas to complement the southwest theme around the house and the pool.

Johnson Before

Some outdoor lighting including path lights around the pool and patio, up lights on the pool’s waterfall, ledge lights on the pillars of the new bench and a cool tiki torch light would help carry those swim parties into the night.



We started construction the next month, June of 2019. We started by staking the area to get the elevation perfect and began excavation. We had to reroute a drain line, reroute some sprinkler heads and dig the trenches for the gas line and lighting wire. Working around the rain, we got the forms set, a sand cushion and rebar placed. An extra-deep pier was dug with added rebar to support the weight of the bench. As soon as the weather cleared up, we poured the slab. A week straight of highly detailed stonework was done to create this beautiful masterpiece.

The gas unit was installed when finished and we used basic red lava rock in the fire pit to keep true to the rough, southern feel of the landscape.  

We rerouted drip lines from the existing beds to water the palms and yuccas. We also planted the flower pots on the patio. We ran the lighting wire and installed all the fixtures before finishing off the build with the native rip rap to match the existing landscape.

The Johnson’s are very happy with their new patio and use it regularly for their parties and as a photoshoot opportunity. I am very proud of this project and honored to be trusted to complete it for such a wonderful family.

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