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Preliminary landscape design help

 
 
Reply Sat 14 Aug, 2010 09:19 am
I'm trying to draw up some early ideas for landscaping my front yard so that I'll have some ideas to share with the landscaper when we get to work.

A few concerns:

We play a lot of sports in the front yard so I need to maintain some uninterrupted lawn.

I want to intergrate the courtyard area into the yard -- the space is kind of wasted as it is now.

Here's a photo of the house:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v667/boomerangagain/house.jpg

Here's a sketchup of the layout now:
(The green areas are large plants that will stay.)

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v667/boomerangagain/House/yard.jpg

Here's my ideas for the redo:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v667/boomerangagain/House/redoyard.jpg

I'm not at the plant selection or materials phase but I'm willing to take suggestions on that too!

Thanks!
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Type: Question • Score: 0 • Views: 3,089 • Replies: 51
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BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Aug, 2010 09:29 am
@boomerang,
If it was my yard, instead of landscaping, I would enrich the soil and create a vegetable garden. I did this for Butrflynet when she moved into my home. Had to remove a large pine tree, but it was the best spot for sun. We are enjoying our variety of vegetables. The mini watermelons will be ripe by next month. Butrflynet just brought me a deep purple heirloom tomato that is the best flavor of our wide variety.

BBB
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Aug, 2010 09:32 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
I already have a big vegetable garden.

We really want to maintaing a sports playing area so I don't want to plant a lot of stuff. When Mo grows up and moves away we might change our minds on that though.
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Aug, 2010 09:41 am
@boomerang,
Have you considered artificial turf instead of real grass? I replaced the ugly grass in my front yard left by the previous owner. It only covers about 1/3 of the yard. The one I chose looks very real, unlike the older ones, and got shredded rubber tires that go under it, which is better than sand because it will last longer. It will allow water to reach the roots of trees and plants. No mowing, no weeding, etc. And it holds up very well for heavy use. It's expensive, but your investment is paid for rather rapidly because low maintenance.

SAMPLES:
http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&q=artificial+turf&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&ei=WrdmTLnMAYq8sQO7h5GfDQ&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=7&ved=0CGUQsAQwBg&biw=800&bih=387


http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&q=artificial+turf&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&ei=WrdmTLnMAYq8sQO7h5GfDQ&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=7&ved=0CGUQsAQwBg&biw=800&bih=387
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Aug, 2010 09:45 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
We did look at that but really, it rains so much here that we don't have to water and we use a push mower so I feel okay about real grass. It'll take a beating but it will survive and thrive.

That stuff is kind of cool. If we lived somewhere not so fertile I'd go for it.
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Aug, 2010 11:04 am
Here are my suggestions. I designated each area in your drawing with an alpha letter that corresponds with the notes below the image:

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_z2t3-2ANqrg/TGbLfoIqJWI/AAAAAAAABg8/tgR26pf4iRc/s640/redoyard.jpg

A = You need walkway closer to the house
so that anyone parking in the driveway
doesn't have to walk back out to the
street or through a muddy garden to get
to the front door.

B = Maybe a secondary stone pathway here that also
serves to divide the space into two flower
beds above and below the pathway.


When you say you want to integrate the
courtyard into the yard area, does that mean
you'll be removing the wall that currently surrounds the courtyard?

C = If so, you could build in the courtyard area a deck/barbecue area with an arbor or shade sail over it and extend it a bit into the front yard and over to the porch area. The deck materials could be stone, brick or composite lumber.

D = Most of the right side of the yard's lawn area would be left for your sports arena and the deck in the porch and courtyard areas could be the seating and picnic table area for the spectators.

An arbor or shade sail would help give some height to the right side of the house. Currently, all the "weight" of the landscape and roof-line seems to be on the left side according to the photo. Depends on whether you like an asymmetrical or symmetrical look to the landscape.

E = If you desire more planting bed area, you could build a meandering narrow bed along the right side of the new pathway.
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Aug, 2010 11:30 am
I totally agree about comments A and B - a small walkway that hugs the front of the foundation bed would be useful.

I'd add that the beds against the house (foundation beds) could/should be deeper. You could also fill all of the area between the two walkways with a flower bed. A vine that climbs up to Mo's balcony would be fun!

What direction to your house face?
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Aug, 2010 11:57 am
@Butrflynet,
Here's a picture of the type of arbor I had in mind. It includes a built-in bench seating area under the arbor roof that you could extend over to in front of the porch without the arbor roof. This type of arbor could also allow you to add a roof made of thatch or wooden slats to create a rainy weather shelter so you can still enjoy the outdoors. You could also leave it open and just enjoy the rare sunny day.

http://knowledgesharinghouse.com/images/backyard2.jpg
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Aug, 2010 12:16 pm
@Butrflynet,
Good point about the pathway (B). I'm usually the only person who parks in the driveway and I enter through the garage. Adding some stepping stones would be a good idea.

Yes, the courtyard area wall will be removed. The gold area in my post was to show an extension of the current porch that intergrates the courtyard so it's really all one big piece. I didn't make that at all clear in my first post.

The courtyard is VERY shady. The immovable plant is a 25' laural that sits on my neighbor's property. We stack firewood along the hedge during the winter.

We have a big patio / BBQ area in the back yard so I don't need do put that in the courtyard. It will most likely be a container garden -- something that creates a nice passage to the back yard.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Aug, 2010 12:24 pm
@littlek,
I would like the foundation beds to be deeper too! I just can't figure out how to do it while meshing it with the extended porch/patio. In the redesign, the path to the sidewalk would start at about 3' in front of the house.

A vine would be cool! I love vines.

The house faces west and it gets a lot of sun.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Aug, 2010 01:18 pm
@boomerang,
Well, here's my take, probably too rigid for your taste. I prefer pathways from the sidewalk to the house to be more direct unless the yard is huge. In this case, the sidewalk connector could be removed later and one more directly to the front porch put in.

My drawing is sloppy - the center of the stone inset 'circle' is meant to line up with the roof peak; the small square from the added patio is meant to align with the edge of the small window. The J curve can be as deep into the front yard as you want it. There are fountain possibilites with the stone circle, but you might prefer a fountain, if you want one at all, to be elsewhere. Also a potential sculpture/found art spot.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v722/ossobuco/Boomerplan141.jpg?t=1281813035

Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Aug, 2010 01:31 pm
@boomerang,
The Better Homes and Garden magazine website has an online planning tool that is free and easy to use. I've used it to plan out some gardening ideas for BBB's backyard.

Quote:
Plan-a-Garden lets you design anything from a patio-side container garden to your whole yard. Use your mouse to "drag-and-drop" more than 150 trees, shrubs, and flowers. Add dozens of structures like buildings, sheds, fences, decks -- even a pond.


http://www.bhg.com/gardening/design/nature-lovers/welcome-to-plan-a-garden/

0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Aug, 2010 02:02 pm
@ossobuco,
I really like that design, osso! I'm just not sure my yard is big enough to support two paths (stepping stones I might be able to get away with to creat a path from the drive to the porch but I'm still not sure about that).

I need to go out and get some measurements but there is a big scaffold in my yard today and the courtyard is completely destroyed.

From your drawing it looks like you think the stem walls closing off the courtyard should stay. I'm not sure I could bring out the porch and leave the walls in place.

Speaking of bring out the porch (gold area in my diagram).... do you all think this is an okay idea? I liked it but Mr. B has reservations.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Aug, 2010 02:28 pm
@boomerang,
Absolutely, that was what I first thought of before I saw your drawing - you have steps already, don't you? (have to go back and stare at your photo)

Me, I think the fin wall/s should stay (off the top of my head, re courtyard privacy from "street", but I'm not that adamant. If the foundation concrete is up near grade, then maybe there has to be a space left for that, but there might be room.

I can see the whole path thing being stone on mortar, but that involves some effort re keeping weeds out in between. Or stone in concrete. Both of those are expensive. Or a gravel pathway (by that I mean smallish "sharp" stone which compacts better than pea gravel, in our opinion), held in by headers (you can get headers to curve)..
I used to specify a lot of decomposed granite paths (stabilized) but that was mostly back in Los Angeles, which got different levels of rain than Humboldt County or western Oregon.

Also, I hadn't much sense of scale as I was drawing - the path parallel to the house only needs to be 36", but it's nice to be more generous (42 ? or more?) with a major path to the front door. On the other hand, in that drawing, 36 might be fine.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Aug, 2010 02:46 pm
@ossobuco,
Backing up to say the cross path could be 30", depending on what you are comfortable with. Remember, some planting may brush into the space, if you are like me and don't keep all plants manicured, or even want to.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Aug, 2010 02:48 pm
@ossobuco,
There is only one step -- on the short side of the covered porch -- that's where the front door is.

The whole front porch needs to be reworked so it's the perfect time to enlarge it.

I'm going to try to get out and get some more detailed photos despite the mess. I just need to get the workers out of here for the day.....
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Aug, 2010 02:50 pm
@boomerang,
Oh, good - it's fun to play with.
0 Replies
 
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Aug, 2010 03:31 pm
I am assuming that your front doorr is under the porch, hidden in the pix.

Where does the path go to now. it seems to cut your yard in two areas , neither large enough for your play area.


I would re-configure your walk/path to come off the porch and go to the right or the left and then down to where-ever.

It is unusual for a home like yours to have a "play area" in front. Is this for the kids play? If not, consider an oval patio to the right coming off the porch for quiet reading or just hanging out.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Aug, 2010 04:29 pm
new version -

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v722/ossobuco/Boomer2-142.jpg?t=1281824603
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Aug, 2010 06:31 pm
@PUNKEY,
The front door is on the short side of the covered porch.

The current path goes to the sidewalk and it is really big enough for a badminton court, batting practice, golf practice, football passing, etc. I wish we could use the backyard for more of that kind of thing but it has three giant trees and a massive toolshed/work area that will at least be there for the next several years.

It's unusual for a house like mine to have a vegetable garden in the front yard (on the opposite side of the driveway) but that doesn't bother me, neither does the play area.
0 Replies
 
 

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