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Landscape/Backyard - Help grounding home in its space
laloma
November 7, 2012 in Design Dilemma
Landscape/Backyard - Help grounding home in its space

Hi. We bought this home a few months ago and were told to live in the space before we do anything. All we know we want to do is remove the wood decking. It gets stained by the water and the tree dropping and we think it actually works against helping ground the house in its space as we think it divides up what isn't a big space too much.

It is blank canvas which is great but overwhelming to know how to make the space inviting and bring the house and yard together. The summers are hot so we need some sun shade and open to something more permanent than an umbrella. We would live an eating area and a sitting area in the space. All thought appreciated! Oh....and there is a photo of the boring front porch area and the images are from the house was staged, so that isn't our furniture that we want to use...actually we haven't bought any yet. THANKS!
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decoenthusiaste
Hot + the plants at the door make me think "Xeriscape." Search for it here and online. Easy care, low water - what's not to love?
November 7, 2012 at 12:40pm   
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PRO
Paradise Restored Landscaping & Exterior Design
You have a great space - I like the deck and would stage it better to show an outdoor living space - because it is a blank canvas you can have multiple seating areas - gazebos are nice for shade and all weather outdoor living but spendy - could see a koi pond and outdoor kitchen here as well -
November 7, 2012 at 1:07pm   
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PRO
Paradise Restored Landscaping & Exterior Design
Happen to think as I pressed submit - the grounding could be accomplished by some big- beautiful planters with plantings -
A Modern Tropical Patio Garden
City Townhouse
November 7, 2012 at 1:11pm   
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laloma
Thank you for your ideas. Would love some big water feature but with a toddler I think he would think it was a new swimming pool. Deck isn't that wide and those sliding doors are the main access to the yard so didn't want to obstruct.....but thank you for your insight. I think a seating area set off from the house like in your photos make better use of the space but as the lawn is two levels, a bit trickier.
November 7, 2012 at 1:17pm   
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laloma
Thanks for the images of the planters.
November 7, 2012 at 1:20pm   
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PRO
Custom Home Planning Center
Given black slate:
1. re grade the rear yard to the drain to the rear with a dry stream bed running left to right across the space. This will mean berming up the space in front of the retaining wall along the back of the streams meander. With this push back you will have room for adding a gazebo and add plantings to the area between the house and the gazebo, with naturalized paths to the house doors and smaller paved patios.
2. as to the higher part of the yard use depends on your interest from baci ball, horse shoe or putting green or just a great garden area. (note: the use of old carpet scraps as ground cover for gardens is one of my favorites. Just lay it upside down on the the garden area for 8 months then cut slots for the plants. Given I'm seeing dryscaping on the side yard I'd add white rock on top of the carpet and keep it moist during the dry months. This will compost the old grass while you wait to plant your first crop.)
3. While your doing the yard work bring a water line up to the higher level for watering plants.
November 7, 2012 at 1:21pm   
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PRO
Paradise Restored Landscaping & Exterior Design
love paver patios and pathways - great ideas custom home planning - also the 2nd level might be a good spot for kids play area
November 7, 2012 at 1:31pm   
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pam405
In picture 2, is that also your land that includes the garage? or does your property end where the driveway to that garage is? I ask because if your property ends before the driveway, I'd opt for a row of privet or bay laurel for privacy. They grow in 2 seasons and make a pretty privacy screen. I also agree with Paradise Restored - I like your deck because it's nice and big and runs right across the back of the house. There is unity in its length. You could stain it a cool color - like indigo blue and then seal with marine sealant - that is the best waterproofing sealant there is. Then add a trellis with or without plastic or fiberglass panels to block out the sun. You could trellis one section and use an umbrella for the other section to vary it up. Re your fantastic raised yard in photo 3 - you could do something great here - like make an architectural planting - nothing but prickly pear cactus and some uplighting. But while you are figuring out the specifics, get plants in the ground anyway - around the borders, obvious places, the sooner you get them in the ground the sooner they grow!
November 7, 2012 at 2:56pm   
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laloma
Hi Pam...yes, that is our garage. It has concrete in front that connect to our little driveway. Wow...all these positive comments about the deck which we think reduces the unity of the backyard. Well, that is why I wanted to post the photos and get some new ideas.
November 7, 2012 at 3:05pm   
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pam405
So you have some nice land. To create the unity you could either extend the deck to about 18" from the concrete driveway and plant something like purple fountain grass, which will grow tall and spill over to each side and soften the edges. Then it won't feel like a strip of green grass in between the driveway and the house. and you can have one or two walkways through the fountain grass to the house deck - maybe even have an arched arbor that goes right onto the terraced area.

I am in favor of paved or deck areas because it makes it so much easier to deal with lawn and watering. Half my 7000 square foot back yard is slate tile and i LOVE it. There's half the yard I don't have to water and I grow drought resistent plants in pots all over the patio.
November 7, 2012 at 3:19pm   
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PRO
Ross NW Watergardens
I like the clean lines of the deck and the fence with the horizontal slats. I agree that Xeriscape, maybe with just a touch of Japanese flair, would fit the space. If you like the idea of a water feature, you could do a "pondless" water feature- no open pond to worry about. I would love to have it start up above the wall. A section of the brick could be cut out for the water to cascade down to the "pondless" pond.
I have a picture somewhere of a water feature like that... I will come add it if I can find it.
November 7, 2012 at 3:52pm   
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laloma
Never heard of a pondless pond. Yes, if you can find a photo, please send.
So here is the next hurdle, the front yard is all Xeriscape but my husband hates it. The house was entirely redone and so the previous owner landscaped the front but left the back a blank slate. So....although the occasional succulent and other low water plants can be used in the back yard, it wasn't going to be the overall look. I have attached a photo of the front yard. Marriage is all about compromise so I the backyard will be ours. :-) thanks.
November 7, 2012 at 4:04pm   
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