Located 30 miles north of Fort Worth, TX, a home in Argyle, TX, was in need of an outdoor makeover. The homeowners turned to Angie’s List to find a company to help them with their outdoor renovations. Clayton Zachary of MRZ Contracting, located in Lewisville, TX, was contacted through the popular crowd-sourcing review site to do a complete front and backyard landscaping renovation. “In the back, this included expanding the concrete decking with lighted stone steps, an L-shaped patio cover, a kitchen, fish pond and new stone walls,” said Zachary. “In the front, they were looking for enhanced curb appeal, including drainage solutions. Also in the back, the focus was on an outdoor environment that could be used all-year-long.”

MRZ Contracting is a full-service design and build company that specializes in custom environments that comprise specific customer input. The homeowners were able to instruct Zachary what they wanted and MRZ Contracting was able to implement all the components into a cohesive project.

“The design was performed in-house by myself and our CAD operator,” said Zachary. “We used a combination of 4-inch by 6-inch chopped Oklahoma flagstone for the bed borders, three-unit random rectangular Oklahoma flagstone chopped for the stone walls, including the kitchen, and a combination of all the stone mentioned for the fish pond. The stone steps were built with a 1-inch minus Oklahoma flagstone — totaling approximately 25 tons.

“The stone was purchased from Caprock Hardscape due to its uniformity in size and shape, color combinations and blending beauty with the plant material and patio cover stain,” Zachary went on to say. “The uniformity of the 1-inch minus flagstone used to cap the steps, in conjunction with the step lighting, was a challenge, yet not totally unexpected. Some pieces had to be removed and replaced along with a strict selection process.”

Sarah Ratliff, director of marketing for Quality Stone Quarries, sister company to Caprock Hardscape, said they love this project because it allows the company to showcase their stone incredibly well. “It’s a popular project that people ask us about, so we love being able to show them a finished product so they can visualize what their potential project may look like,” she said. “Outdoor kitchens, patios and pools are incredibly popular in our area, and this specific project is a great showcase of a finished product that anyone could be proud of.

“We also love the use of the granite countertops on top of our stone, as well as the little cubby that was made for the ‘Green Egg,’” Ratliff went on to say. “It is so convenient and practical, but also it doesn’t look unnatural. I think when you are doing projects like this you really have to think about practicality. Yes, making sure that it’s aesthetically appealing is important, but if you can’t use it, then what’s the point?”

Some of the challenges that MRZ Contracting faced during this project were logistics, access and patience fusing multiple products into a single project. “Locating the fish pond in a close proximity to the living area was a challenge due to dimensions, including depth, long-term durability and function,” said Zachary. “Designing and building an L-Shaped gabled patio cover with exposed rafter with tongue and groove ceiling with a seamless ceiling-flow presented some challenge. Incorporating two different styles and sizes of sconces, three ceiling fans and two heaters presented design and layout challenges. Three elevation changes for the new patio decking and steps incorporated with the existing porch decking required special attention. And finally, forming and pouring 28 lineal feet of three steps that incorporated low-voltage step lighting and flagstone cap was especially challenging as everything had to be accurate. In order to maintain exact dimension, selecting the correct thickness of stone was difficult because stone is a natural product and varies in color, size and thickness. The ‘cull’ factor is higher due to these circumstances.”

The project took three months to complete and was deemed a success. Zachary’s personal favorite feature of the project was the living environment and how the landscape, pond and lighting accentuated its presence. “The client wanted to be able to use their facility as much as possible throughout the year and have it be beautiful, functional and low-maintenance,” said Zachary. “The children even do their homework at the outdoor kitchen area. To be able to provide such a product is extremely gratifying. It’s all about the client.”