October 2015 – http://www.njsavvy.com – Savvy Shopper Magazine
Cape Cod Style Brought To Marlboro – by TaraJean McDonald
Dave and Shari always had a vision for their home. They wanted to make it a place for family and friends to gather while maintaining an understated elegance. One particular local landscaper has helped to make their dreams become a reality. In fact, the results have far surpassed anything they could have ever expected.
Shari grew up in Connecticut, surrounded by natural landscaping, sea breezes and pebble driveways. When David fell in love with Shari he knew the home they would create together would be one that was open to entertaining, family gatherings and their children’s friends. After living in a townhouse near David’s hometown of Manalapan, they decided to purchase their first house together in the highly sought after town of Marlboro.
The 3000 square foot home required numerous updates in order to create the flow and functionality they wanted. In 2011, after a year working with architectures and another year locking in contractors, Dave and Shari began the massive demolition of their living space. Six months without a kitchen and many nights with takeout meals proved to be worth it when the final light fixtures and paint colors were placed on the walls. Their indoor living space had become a home styled with transitional flair mixed with a little a bit of vintage and a dash of modern. But Shari and David knew there was more to do. It was a priority of Shari’s to have large windows overlooking the back yard and a pool area. Shari believed that a pool in the back yard would encourage more family time and extend the living space of their home almost year round. But this project was equally as massive as the home interior project. With a wooded lot for a yard, they knew they would need the help of an exceptional landscaper who could take their vision into a reality.
After working briefly with different landscapers, Dave and Shari met with D&S Landscaping. Family owned and 15 years in the business, D&S had presented them with the most creative and functional living space they had hoped for. Sometimes known as the “Oasis Brothers”, Joe Drago and Chris Drago worked magic transforming the overgrown wooded lot into a rustic, Cape Cod style getaway with a pondless waterfall and creek.
Dave describes working with the Drago brothers as “having an angel on his shoulder working as a advocate for us”, they understood the problems and were eager to work through the stresses of a large project. They asked Dave and Shari what they wanted to get out of the project. Shari wanted to have plenty of wide-open space for sitting and entertaining while still being reminiscent of her hometown near Cape Cod. Dave stated that he wanted a sitting area, “in a grotto, so to speak” where he could relax and look out at the pool and the house. The principle that “every job is custom and never a cookie cutter design” helped to secure Dave and Shari’s confidence that D&S Landscapers were the team to take on their project. Dave felt that Joe and Chris’s creativity was endless.
Joe Drago brought members of his crew to go over the project numerous times before they presented the final designs. The project involved bringing in 80 tons of stone and rocks, which included 10ft boulders from Pennsylvania to create the waterfall behind the pool. LED lighting throughout the landscaping were set on timers along with the waterfall which included different levels of cascade pressure and flow. Flat stones were to be laid at the base of the manmade creek, which created a “walk on water” effect leading to the sitting area. Chris Drago chose to erect three rustic wood archways to hold cozy love seat hammocks for Shari and Dave’s garden sanctuary.
Both Dave and Shari feel their now completed backyard living space has far surpassed what they had expected – the size of the waterfall, the sounds, the cascading features and the overall natural feel of the landscaping and design. No longer are they planning summer vacations, as the home they have created has become their most favorite retreat. Dave likes to quote what his Father-In-Law told him when they first bought the house, “When you are handed lemons, make lemonade”, and now with a glass of lemonade in his hand and his beautiful wife at his side, he looks out over his children playing in the pool and rocking in the hammocks and he knows that he is finally home.