Help with Backyard

Becca MartinezMay 9, 2014
My husband and I just bought our first house, and it's a real fixer upper. With summer around the corner, we are so excited about entertaining in our large spacious backyard. The only problem is: we have no idea where to start! Our yard has a lot of unique things about it: 1) The door of our garage is actually in the back of the house, and 2) There's a somewhat strange concrete slab situation.

I have a few half-formed ideas, but the layout of the yard keeps giving me pause. As you will see in the pictures, there is a concrete slab off the back doors, and it continues all the way past the garage to the driveway. We've pretty much just been using all of that space for parking. The slabs present a problem because I can't make a separate space for a seating area because it's just one big piece of concrete. It gives the look of one big weirdly shaped sort-of wraparound driveway.

I wanted to build something freestanding maybe in between the trees, but I had no idea how to transition from concrete slab to pretty patio/brick formation.... What I see for my backyard is some landscaping with flowers around the gorgeous big trees we have. Would also like more potted plants, and some sort of patio with a nice canopy, a fire pit, some furniture, and some twinkle lights. One day we are planning on building a deck as well but that's not in the budget at the moment.
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bwizzle99
First thing I would do is try to make the yard more secluded by growing vines, ivy or even bamboo as a barrier from the neighbors. A new fence will also go a very long way. To try to improve the patio without removing the concrete it is tough and expensive. Instead, play with it! Line the edge with tall planters either space or pushed together to make a wall. I'm thinking just basic wood boxes. You can get great outdoor furniture by buying second hand furniture for low low prices and getting it reupholstered with outdoor fabric. Miss matching furniture, like classic dinning room chairs with the same fabric will look nice and increase character. String lights through the trees to light up at night. Maybe get a wood or cloth canopy over the patio.
    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 5:46PM
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bwizzle99
You could buy a large outdoor rug and use that to add color personality, put it under a dining table and cover concrete.
    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 5:53PM
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printesa
For the concrete, you can do stained concrete. Google stained concrete patio and you will get all sorts of ideas for it. It can be done by you. There are instruction on how to do it. This would add some color to that slab. After that, you can do separate areas,,,,table with chairs, armchairs..potted plants..There are ways to separate areas visually. You have a nice yard there.
    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 5:59PM
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PRO
Revolutionary Gardens
If removing the concrete and starting over's out, then what you have is a space planning challenge. Break it down into simple steps.How much concrete do you need to give over to driveway and parking? Make a chalk line and that's one boundary. Then figure out how your functions dictate dividing the rest of the concrete area - dining, entertaining, etc. and make chalk marks there. Making outdoor "rooms" isn't the answer in every case, but I think in yours it'll make the vast concrete pad seem human scaled.

At that point once you have your spaces defined, figure out how you'll separate them. The driveway separation should probably be the biggest and most clearly defined. Then you can use mixes of containers and furniture and screens and found objects to define the other spaces. If you or your partner have that sort of experience, you could even sawcut and remove sections of concrete to create planting beds between spaces.

In terms of containers, bigger usually = more expensive. Galvanized stock tanks can go one of two ways, either very modern and cool or very cottage-y, so if either of those suit your style you may want to consider those as a 4'x2' is only $85.

And it may feel like an unneeded expense, but if you can hire a local landscape designer he or she can take you through what I've described above in a lot more detail, and provide you with a plan that you can execute yourselves. The nice thing about that is even if you can't swing everything in the drawing, you know what the goal is. So every tax refund, every bonus check, you know what that money can be spent on to get an awesome result.

Good luck!
    Bookmark   Thanked by Becca Martinez    May 10, 2014 at 6:02AM
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PRO
garden design online
Add a gable porch to improve long box shape of the house.add a deck than a patio.plant hosta,hydrangea,forthia,j-maple,cedar,dogwood,myrtle.I try do some.
    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 8:36AM
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