Sometimes, the key to success isn’t how hard you work, it’s how well you listen. Just ask Jamon Peterson.
If he hadn’t had the ability to really hear what the client wanted, it’s possible that Peterson and his company, Extreme Exteriors, wouldn’t have gotten the contract that ultimately netted recognition from Unilock and the Wisconsin Landscape Contractors Association, as well as the 2014 Excellence in Hardscape Project of the Year Award from the Wisconsin Masonry Association.
Peterson admits his was not the first landscape company the owners, of what’s known as the Lyon residence contacted, when they decided they were ready to move ahead with an approximately 1,000-square-foot outdoor living area some five years after completing construction of their home.
However, they did have a referral to him.
“She said that she had had multiple people draw up designs, and everybody drew designs the way they wanted the project to look,” Peterson says. “She had a specific vision that she wanted, and we ended up signing a design contract with her.”
Committed to designing it the way the client wanted, Peterson called in freelance designer Lynn Hinch of the Milwaukee-based Lynnscape Design LLC, and with a few tweaks the pair created the plan the clients envisioned.
“Once we nailed the design, there wasn’t a question as to who she was going to go with for a contractor,” Peterson says. “They were confident with the design we did and wanted us to do the work.”
What the clients wanted, he adds, was fairly simple. They were looking for a space to entertain, and due to the terrain around the house, it had to be multilevel. The design solution: an upper space off the rear of the home for the family, and then a lower level with grill and fireplace for larger gatherings.
“The big issue for her was the stairs leading from the upper level to the lower one,” says Peterson. “She had an idea in mind for a different type of staircase. They’re half-round with angles to them. Then, we had to find a way to incorporate that, and we thought with the roundedness of the steps a circular lower patio would make the most sense.”
Much of the patio work was done with Unilock concrete pavers. The company’s Classic Stonehenge in granite was the primary color, with borders, accents and a center medallion in the lower patio utilizing Unilock Il Campo pavers in heritage brown from its Enduracolor line.
“I think we did some really cool things with the inlays and the decorative colored border,” says Peterson, adding that the pavers and the overall design are what he’s most proud of with the job.
However, that’s hardly the end of the story. Because of the grade change and a partly exposed basement, Extreme Exteriors also installed multiple retaining walls, some of which double as seating walls.
Ambiance was also important to the client, and there are several features to help provide that, including a fireplace that had to be carefully located on the lower patio.
“The lot is about 10 acres, so we had plenty of space to work with,” Peterson says. “We designed the fireplace to face away from the house because they wanted to make use of the view across their large yard out into the line of large trees on the skyline.”
He adds that a 20-foot pondless water feature with a stone bridge across it was included by the clients to provide a play area for their son to splash in. Extreme Exteriors continues to provide maintenance on the water feature.
And, to provide what Peterson calls “wow factor,” the job includes fire bowls that top the pedestals on either side of the staircase.
“We had done another large project down the road from them about 5 miles or so,” he explains. “We were finishing up that job before we started this one and it has fire bowls. The client saw them and pretty much fell in love with them and had to have them.”
It’s the fire bowls that make Peterson smile when he drives by the property at night.
“When we see them glowing, it’s always a pretty cool sight,” he says.
Peterson estimates the entire job took a four-man crew almost six weeks to complete and cost the clients close to $80,000. However, besides the awards it’s won, it’s also become quite a showpiece for Extreme Exteriors.
Even better, he says he expects to be involved when the clients begin working on a second phase to the backyard – an outdoor kitchen – sometime in 2017.