by Christy Heitger-Ewing | photos by Adam Gibson

When Bernie Lacy was looking to renovate the exterior of his downtown property, he knew just who to call – Ryan Coyle, Founder & President of Vive Exterior Design.

“I contacted Ryan because I was looking to hire a great and honest landscaper,” says Lacy. “I appreciated the quality of his design and the speed of execution. Plus, his quote included a lot of materials, so we got a lot of bang for our buck.”

The moment Coyle saw Lacy’s property – a former textiles manufacturing building that had been converted into three homes – the wheels started spinning in Coyle’s mind for what he could do to transform the backyard and patio area. The owner wanted to preserve the integrity and elegance of the building while updating and refreshing the antiquated space.

“It was a big transformation because the existing pool and patio were dated and not very usable. Think of an 80’s swimming pool made of regular concrete with a red brick border,” says Coyle.

After asking Lacy, a business owner who regularly entertains clients, family, and friends, how he envisioned using the space, Coyle suggested adding a firepit, fountains, and an inviting bar/grill area. They also installed a low-maintenance synthetic turf green space and selected natural Oakville stone paving versus concrete paving. Another cool feature is the big brick wall that surrounds the property.

“The original walls that surrounded the property lacked elegance, so we did a stucco finish with natural stone on all of the walls as well as the bar area. We also wanted to do custom metal work along that extended above the tall stucco wall,” explains Coyle. “It’s a metal mesh. We’ve tied that black metal throughout which will eventually be covered with vines over the next several years, giving them a green wall.”

To provide additional privacy, Coyle planted tall evergreens around much of the perimeter, which served to soften the space as well. “Our whole goal was to take a downtown property and not make it feel like you’re downtown,”

At the same time, the owner wished to highlight the lovely skyline views, especially at night, so Coyle installed lighting around the pool and firepit.

Coyle was delighted that the client trusted him to approach the exterior design in a unique and unconventional way. “He wanted elegance, privacy, low maintenance, and specific materials, but other than that he allowed us to design free will with no boundaries,” says Coyle, who takes pride in being one of the more creative designers in town.

“That’s where we approach our design. We think outside the box,” explains Coyle, who shies away from doing things in the same way everyone else does. “You’ll see that approach in this design by way of the synthetic turf we did that throughout the natural stone. You’ll see that in the use of metal work with climb in it to break up a large stucco wall. And you’ll see it in the water features coming out of a stone wall with lights behind it into the new pool area.”

Coyle’s unique designs are no doubt why Vive Exterior Design has earned numerous accolades and awards, including winning first place in the Indiana Nursery & Landscape Association’s (INLA) 2018 Hardscape Residential Landscape Design/Build Over $50,000 Award of Excellence for their work on this private residence in Indianapolis. According to the INLA, the Awards of Excellence recognize those firms that have enhanced the Indiana environment with creativity and beauty through landscaping and horticulture.

“That was a cool award to win because we don’t want to design to the norm,” says Coyle. “Everybody can browse Pinterest or vendor magazines for ideas and say, ‘I like this wall.’ We like to tell clients, ‘Well, that’s great, but maybe there’s a better way to do this.’ We come at things from a different angle.”

Coyle, who has 20 years of experience in the landscape industry, is proud that his team tackles projects of every kind, including government and education, residential, medical complexes, parks & recreation, industrial and commercial properties, and golf courses. They all relish diving into new, innovative design prospects.

As for Lacy, he’s thrilled to utilize his favorite feature – the outdoor kitchen and firepit.

“We’ve gotten a lot of use out of those things,” says Lacy. “It’s been great.”

When it’s time to step outside of the box and create an outdoor space unlike any other, call Vive Exterior Design. Visit them online at or call 317-773-9933 to schedule a consultation.