Smallest yard ever and I'm stumped!
cookincakesOctober 18, 2012
There is a large (for the size of yard) concrete slab with approx 8" to the fence. Also a mud lot about the same size as the slab. Ideally I need an attractive and inexpensive way to make the yard size look less like a joke and more like an oasis. The yard size is approx 8' deep and 26' long. Lastly... I don't want grass! Please help... Houzz readers always have excellent solutions. Thank you in advance!
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olldcan
Whats behind the chain link fence
    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 8:12PM
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houssaon
You can get some evergreen bushes in between the fence and the slab to provide a privacy screen. Narrow and tall arborvitae like in this picture should work: Traditional Perennial Buy them small and they'll grow in a couple of years.

Do some searching and reading up on what does well in your area. Your local library should have some good gardening books and check out the neighbors yards. If you see something that look good, chat with them and maybe they can help.

Then look to plant the entire area with small shrubs with interesting foliage and ones with flowers. Some that die back in winter and some with winter interest. Look for some small ornamental trees. Cove the remaining barea area with mulch to keep weeds away.

Your slab can be convered with slate or tiles to dress it up and add some colorful planters for further interest. Pretty soon you could have a yard like one of these pictures: Lose the Lawn San Francisco Residence This Sanctuary Garden gives many reasons to enjoy the backyard Brooklyn Heights Addition Dazzling Near the Danforth
5 Likes    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 8:28PM
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yvonnecmartin
If you don't have time to do all the research, hire a landscape architect to lay out a plan that you can execute over time. This could be a charming oasis.
    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 8:34PM
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cookincakes
There is beautiful green space behind the link fence...sorry should have mentioned the view is private and pretty
    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 8:40PM
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cookincakes
Wow houssan the pictures you suggested are beautiful!
    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 8:41PM
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Darzy
How about a built-in bench sectional seating? With a fire feature "coffee table". Then, off the concrete a bocci ball court? Or horseshoes? whatever your fancy.
Aptos
fallingcliff
2 Likes    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 8:54PM
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olldcan
You have no room for a large deciduous tree or even an evergreen. Columnar Aspens are skinny :) and grow very tall very fast. I'd even consider planting a few in the green space just on the other side of your fence but they would fit between your pad and fence too. Since you'll most likely need to keep your poured pad for a BBQ, and possibly a lounger a good thing for the dirt area would be the introduction of concrete landscaping block/pavers and increase the hard surface to accommodate a table and chairs. The pavers are an excellent way to increase the height or make a raised bed or extra seating, retaining wall etc.
1 Like    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 9:12PM
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olldcan
Could you make use of an outdoor kitchen

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 9:48PM
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Elise
I am glad you have a great view! How about some planters for a doorside herb and salad garden?

I like the above idea to put in a bench, framing the view out the door with the columnar evergreens. Then find or make a wooden rectangular table, possible slatted for a textural look.

A shade pergola coming off the house (requires a permit), could provide enough shade and possibly structure for vines to grow up the posts onto the pergola roof for shade in the future. Definitely extend your hardscape with pavers and check into colorful groundcovers to cover the dirt while the larger plants grow in.
1 Like    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 12:02AM
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Elise
Check out the groundcover ideas and don't be afraid to use gravel as a lower cost alternative to hardscape.
http://www.houzz.com/ground-cover


1 Like    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 12:06AM
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cookincakes
I love the extended hard scape idea with pavers and hound cover! Do you think a pergola would be better against the house by the door or off to the side instead?
    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 7:32AM
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Elise
If you are facing S, SE, or SW you will be needing shadecover for entertaining. Facing E or N you won't. They sell some large rectangular umbellas nowadays, some are centered in a table and some are counterweighted to stand off to the side.
http://www.frontgate.com/commercial-side-arm-umbrella-with-base/outdoor-decor-accessories/umbrellas-outdoor-cooling/all-umbrellas/446432?defattrib=&defattribvalue=&listIndex=7
    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 3:25PM
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PRO
Paradise Restored Landscaping & Exterior Design
Lets see what photos of small project areas we have completed this summer - (1) shows a small yard filled with entertaining area/pizza oven/mini kitchen/fireplace (2) circular pavers, screens and small water feature with decking in a narrow back yard (3) narrow patio with an outdoor kitchen (4) narrow back yard space - All of these have options that would work in your space - a privacy screen and paver patio where the mud is and you can add elements you enjoy.
2 Likes    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 4:08PM
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PRO
Paradise Restored Landscaping & Exterior Design
Just read elise - where gravel can be good and a lower cost alternative - one more photo-
1 Like    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 4:13PM
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PRO
Tres McKinney Design
I like Darzy's recommendation of a perimeter bench on the end and long side of the patio. I would either paint or stain the wood fence in the same color as the house so it ties the house and fence together and makes the space feel more like a room. I would replace the chain link fence with a large open (8") square lattice fence stained the same dark tone as the house if you are going for a more traditional look . If you are going for a more contemporary look then wood and with steel cables would be a good option. Either would still allow you to view your borrowed view. Depending on your location and growing conditions you could espalier apple or pear trees on the fence and create a structured kitchen garden with some key evergreen plants and paved areas to provide year round structure. You don't show an image of the opposite end of the run. A tall evergreen hedge , a water feature or attractive garden bench would be a nice focal point. Vines or shrubs you can keep trimmed in such a narrow 8" space would soften the edges or you could take the back of the bench all the way to fence.
2 Likes    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 5:15PM
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housebert57
I liked a previous idea of columnar aspens ..I'd keep most of the remaining space as hard space with some occassional small ornamental shrubbery or grasses dotted here and there. also ..I noticed an unused disconnect and whip for a CAC unit (?) Will/can that be moved to where the unit's noise won't take away from the charm of you oasis? In any case, you definetely DON'T want those loose wires hanging out like that. That spells trouble!
    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 5:50PM
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judianna20
    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 5:57PM
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Ute Faber
Wow - that is tiny....have you thought about a custom Cedar Pergola Kit? I have attached some pictures...check out the website for Outdoor Living Today.com

There are so many DIY pergola kits out there. Just make sure you look for Cedar since it is insect and decay resistant. They can be custom made - attached or freestanding - this one is an 8x10 Cedar Pergola kit ...check it out
http://www.outdoorlivingtoday.com/oltss/storefront/products.php?category=pergolas
    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 3:09PM
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