Hively Landscapes transforms family’s yard

Stephen and Jenn Tansey of York wanted an outdoor space that encouraged the family to go outside. Hively Landscapes helped them achieve that mission.

Story paid for by: Hively Landscapes

For the Tansey family, the outside of their 1932 Tudor-style house means more than the flowers, the rocks, and the dirt. It goes beyond the man-made creek, flagstone-laid paths, and pergola-covered patio.

Because for Stephen and Jenn Tansey and their three boys and even their golden retriever Sally, they didn’t just want a pretty yard – they wanted the outside of their house to become part of their home.

“We wanted to create a space that encouraged us to go outside,” Jenn says today.

They hired Hively Landscapes to carry out that vision.

With Landscape Architect Brian Waltersdorf leading the team, Hively created an inviting outdoor space that represented the period of the home and looked established from the beginning. And, perhaps most importantly, it reflected the family’s lifestyle.

Transforming the yard

When the Tanseys moved in several years ago, their historic home came with old problems – namely a leaky basement. Fixing the problem meant digging up established trees, shrubs and flowerbeds and ripping out the patio to excavate 8-feet-deep around three sides of the house.

To restore their landscaping and transform the family’s yard from a construction zone to a tranquil outdoor refuge, Hively Landscapes got to work.

The team installed three patios and a sidewalk using flagstone and brick, built a pond and a natural-looking creek for drainage off one of the patios, planted a grove of trees to create shade, and planted a mix of evergreen, shrubs, perennials and groundcovers with seasonal interest.

“We wanted a space where we could just step outside and enjoy it,” Jenn says. “That’s exactly what we have here.”

A playful take on nature

Each side of the Tansey home has a different personality, Brian says, yet is connected to create a unified space.

On Saturday mornings, you can often find the Tansey boys – ages 7, 9 and 13 – climbing the rocks and checking on tadpoles that populate the creek that flows along the side of the home.

The man-made feature blends in as easily as if it had been there before the house was built. Brian designed it to appear as though it is flowing from the adjacent property through the tree-line.

“Honestly, my favorite part is the creek,” Jenn says, “which would surprise everyone in my family.”


A social hub and lookout

Follow the creek around the house and it ends in a pond that introduces visitors to a large patio that overlooks the backyard.

It’s the ideal spot to watch the boys play with the dog, Jenn says, or to light the bonfire and invite the neighborhood kids over for s’mores. And, there’s the added perk of being able to hear the peaceful sounds of the running water.

The large flagstone courtyard features a unique brick design repeating patterns found on the house itself. Here, Hively Landscapes included architectural planters filled with bright colors and a weeping Norway spruce wrapped in lights to create a livelier space for entertaining.

Brian also suggested the family add lighting so they could extend their enjoyment of the yard long after the sunset. Hively installed high-tech light fixtures that can be operated from an app on Stephen or Jenn’s phones.

“The lighting makes the trees glow at night,” Jenn says. “It’s really magical.”

A happy nook

Follow the stonework around the yard, and you’ll find yourself on another, more intimate patio.

Rather than a traditional metal awning, Brian’s team designed and built a post-and-beam-style pergola inspired by the rough-hewn beams found inside the house.

For the canvas covers placed between the posts, Jenn selected a bright turquoise. The color made her happy, she says.

“It’s the emotions of people that satisfy me the most,” Brian says, “that they feel better than they did before being outside on their property.”

An outdoor extension of their home

Beyond making sure clients feel good about the final product, Brian says he and the rest of the team at Hively Landscapes like to ensure they’re delivering a design with integrity.

It’s more than just selecting the right plants and anticipating what the plant will look like in maturity to ensure it won’t outgrow where it’s planted. It means doing a job well and building lasting relationships with the people who call it home.

It’s why the dog sprints across the yard when she sees a Hively company car pull into the driveway – she’s ready for her belly rub. Or why Brian’s first instinct when he arrives on the property is to arrange flowers in a pot so their good side shows.

“We’re usually sitting on the patio in our pajamas when Brian stops by in the morning,” Jenn says, laughing.

Brian hardly minds.

“That’s how I know they’re enjoying their space.”

Story paid for by Hively Landscapes
4555 Paradise Road, Dover, PA 17315

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