Not many HARDSCAPE HERO winners have heard of the Rooster of Riga in Latvia, but Chris Rowsey of Rowsey Brothers, LLC. certainly has. His second winning project of 2019 included a pool, water feature, custom audio/visual installation, and a steel rooster crafted by a local blacksmith known for his work on the Washington Memorial and at the Smithsonian.

Rowsey’s winning project was commissioned by a client who had recently purchased a new home. They were faced with a bare backyard, sloped toward the house, causing severe drainage issues. The homeowners gave Rowsey free range on the design with only a few stipulations: the inclusion of water features and the outdoor entertainment center.

“It was great to have so much creative freedom on the project. We made it a point to use stonework that complimented the back of the house, and include the requested features as core elements of the design,” says Rowsey.

The custom outdoor entertainment center includes a TV with Wi-Fi connectivity and surround sound speakers. “We positioned the audio/visual component near the fire pit to encourage view parties in all types of weather. The clients wanted a place to host parties outside and for their children to be entertained. We thought this was the perfect solution,” explains Rowsey.

To address the drainage issues, Rowsey and his team installed an extensive drain system while the electrical and gas lines were being run. “We worked with a team of subcontractors to install integrated lighting, gas lines for the fire feature, and drainage that intentionally pulls water away from both the project and the house,” he says.

Perhaps the most interesting element of the project is the personal touch that Rowsey and his team worked to include. Their client had recently adopted a pair of children from Latvia and asked Rowsey’s team to install a rooster to remind the children of their home.

“The Rooster of Riga is a historical icon placed on top of the oldest cathedral in Riga. You see it all over the town. According to Latvian folklore and Christian tradition, the rooster is a defender against evil and can drive off demons with his morning cries,” says Rowsey.

After conducting hours of personal research, Rowsey commissioned blacksmith Joshua Greenwood from Petersburg to create the final installation.

“We try to add a special touch like this to every project. It just happens that this project already has a unique story,” explains Rowsey. “The homeowners were amazed by the amount of research Joshua and I conducted and really loved the rooster statue. It was important to me that we make this space feel like home for our client,” he says.

Part of the magic of an outdoor living space is extending the comfort of your home to the outdoors. Exceptional projects like this one exemplify the endless possibilities that can come from using Eagle Bay Pavers and a talented installer.

The winning project was completed using Chatham XL and CopingStone.

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