The Unilock Awards of Excellence competition is a yearly contest that highlights the best hardscape projects in the area. And by area I mean the Midwest; primarily Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan with entries also coming in from Iowa and Missouri. The competition consists of several categories, and this project was entered into the best Unilock Select category. “Select” refers to Unilock’s higher end pavers such as Richcliff and Courtstone, both of which I used in this project. Take a look at the pictures below and then read more about this award winning landscape project.


This is a renovation of an existing outdoor living space that had a fireplace, paver patio and some seatwalls. I was fortunate to have carte blanche with this project: the client had very little input and wanted  me to put all my own ideas to paper. Naturally I had some sense of what they wanted and asked some key questions, but other than that I designed this one like it was my own yard. It took us about six weeks to construct the project once the client approved the plans. This project in the Brookmeadow Estates subdivision in Frankfort, IL . Below are some of its features:

  • A custom fireplace with LED water features and natural gas fire features are on each side of the fire box. This fireplace uses gas logs. We also built a custom radius hearth and used Mexican pebbles set in polymeric sand as an accent below the hearth.
  • The rough sawn cedar pergola really creates a lot of shade. I spaced the rafters on 12″ centers and then put an additional course of rafters above at the same 12″ spacing. We did some additional trim work on the posts and beams to add a nice touch and wired in some Kichler LED hardscape lights to cast a nice glow at night.
  • The custom curved bar and planter box are the focal point of the project and a great space for the client to both cook and entertain at. In the granite top there’s a Napoleon Prestige Ii Gemini 750 Natural Gas Built-in Grill With Rear Infrared Burner And Double Sear Burner, a SUNSTONE A-IC Drop-In Ice Chest and a stainless undermount sink. The granite cantilevers past the bar so that the bar-height stools can be tucked under. I also wired in some LED hardscape lights under the counter top. In the bar we mounted some double-doors, a SUNSTONE A-TRHD Trash Drawer and a SUNSTONE B-TD18 14-Inch Flush Triple Access Drawer where the top drawer actually flips out to reveal a paper towel holder (cool!).
  • The pavers used in this project include Unilock’s Richcliff, Courtstone, and Copthorn pavers. Richcliff is the main field paver on the upper level with contrasting Copthorn banding. On the lower level Richliff is complemented by banding and inlays of Courtstone.

The client loves their new outdoor living space and they use this unique space quite a bit. It’s shady and cool when the sun is blazing in summer, and the fire features add warmth and extend their enjoyment into the cooler months. I loved designing this Unilock Awards of Excellence award winning landscape project, and at Elemental Landscapes we’re proud to have this one in our portfolio! Let me know if you have any questions! -Mike


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.