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Peachtree Corners Couple Build a Backyard Paradise

A large comfortable deck overlooking twin cascading waterfalls and lovely landscaping is a perfect retreat.

From the street, Lori and Robert Howard's home looks like almost any other in the Forest Hills subdivision where they have lived for the past five years; but take a step through their back door and onto their deck overlooking their backyard and be prepared to be "wowed."

Twin waterfalls cascading down a hill 20 feet, meet and flow into a pond full of gold and coi fish. The sound is almost mesmerizing, and the sight of falling water splashing over rocks would soothe even the most frazzled worker after a hectic day at the office.

The transformation from almost unusable space to a backyard retreat needed the vision of an engineer. For Robert Howard, who has an engineering background, the waterfall was the answer to a landscaping problem of what to do with the steep hill behind their home. And the gentle sounds of a waterfall would easily drown out the traffic from the busy nearby street.

"I think it's enjoyable to do things with your hands then see the completed work," said Howard who visualized and designed the calming backyard retreat.

The before and after shots of the Howard's backyard transformation tells the real story, the end result is a backyard oasis that the couple and their friends can enjoy nearly year round.

The waterfall took about 3-4 months to build. The Howards hired a landscaping company to do the heavy work. Robert, who also has an environmental engineering background added an eco-friendly filtering system and rain-barrels to catch water for the waterfall. 

The Howards also made some additional renovations, replacing siding on the back of their house and adding all new energy efficient windows. Then they removed the original builder-designed deck and replaced it with multi-level deck which Robert designed and built himself.

For the deck he used Rain-forest Cherry, a new type of wood from a Brazilian tree. It's hard and heavy wood, very durable and the insects don't like it explained Howard. He worked on the deck after work and on weekends and completed it in eight months. "I think it came out very nice," said Howard surveying his work.

They installed a flagstone patio underneath the deck which provides shade on sunny days. "We created North Georgia in our back yard," said Lori looking over the cascading waterfall.

The serenity and beauty of the Howards backyard did not go unnoticed and has even provided the perfect spot for a wedding for their friends who were married next to the pond with the gentle sound of falling water.

Robert and Lori, married 31 years, are long time Peachtree Corners residents, they moved from a larger home nearby to downsize when their two sons, now grown, moved to start lives of their own.

"I didn't know all this about him when I married him," said Lori of her husband's skills. "He's a keeper."

The couple aren't finished with their remodeling project, they've already completely renovated their kitchen and Robert has now headed down to the basement to transform that space into a media room.

It just proves that a man's work is never done.

Robin Montri September 16, 2011 at 12:48 PM
What a stunningly beautiful backyard! Way to go on using all the environmentally friendly methods as well (for capturing water, etc.). Love it.
Carol Frey September 16, 2011 at 01:53 PM
Enjoyed the article on the Howard's backyard. Beautiful pictures too.
David B. Manley September 16, 2011 at 09:31 PM
Great work. Very creative. Should inspire others. Just hope the Rain-forest Cherry for the deck is purpose grown and isn't what its labeled (the depletion of South American rain forests being such a environmental negative).
Nancy Minor September 20, 2011 at 03:05 AM
Beautiful. Hard work and vision create a mountain retreat in the middle of Peachtree Corners.

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