Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Backyard Ideas

As I mentioned in the last post, our lot is freshly graded so I was able to get a pretty good idea of how our land will look once our house is finally built.

Luckily, the neighbor's house will not look into our windows or onto our back patio. There's plenty of space between our house and the one next door, which will likely gain us fenced-in space (Boone says yay!). Our front patio will be absolutely adorbs with a little bench and seasonal decorations.

The one thing I'm less than thrilled with is our backyard has a slight slope up to the garage. See our house, it's the one with the back porch at the corner? Those tiny white stakes at the top of the hill are where the garage will be. I know this pic is not the best, so I've included a special illustration:

Look what I did! And if you ever wondered why new computers in the year 2013 still include Paint, it's for people like me, thank you very much.

This pic shows where our house and garage will be once completed. I placed the property lines in blue so you can visualize not only the space, but the slope. Our house comes with a sidewalk from the house to the garage, but I don't know whether we'll have stairs or a sloping sidewalk.

I had grand visions of backyard layouts, but almost all of them would require at least a semi-flat yard. Some of them are still options, but we would have to re-grade the backyard and build a retaining wall. If we get a sloping sidewalk, we'd have to rip that bad boy out and build something to go with our newly fattened, hypothetical yard. This is sounding super negative; I'm actually not against the idea because it would definitely add character and would make the area much more intimate. I'm just seeing dollar signs on top of hundreds of thousands of other dollar signs we've already spent.

I was hoping for three distinct areas: the covered-porch, uncovered seating/grilling area, and lawn area. I was hoping to split the yard 40-60 between the seating area and the lawn so Boone would have some room to romp, space for a doghouse, and plenty of poo-space.

A retaining wall would likely take up about three to four feet on the sides and back of our yard (enough space to support the garage/fence and any landscaping). The retaining wall idea has one major caveat: once you take out that kinda space from our already little backyard, there's really not enough space to do an uncovered seating area and dog-zone...

To make this all even more complicated, our HOA doesn't allow privacy fences (one of the few negatives about Brightwalk, though I completely understand why). I really want the privacy because, let's face it, we didn't grow up in the age of going to the neighbors' to borrow a cup of sugar. And even if we do become great friends with our neighbors *fingers crossed*, our yard will be fenced, so if they have to come through the front door anyway, I'd prefer privacy in the back. Long story short, even though you already read the long story, we want a privacy hedge.

Here's a few of my fave ideas:
Don't shave goldens, it's bad. Other than that, I love the built-in seating and firepit. This would be a great place to grill for a large party (think of how many people you could squeeze in this arrangement) or to enjoy a cool summer night next to a fire with a few of your besties.

Found on Pinterest, original link missing
I really like this yard's division between lawn and seating. I'd likely rotate it, so it was left-right layout. Plus, the landscaped areas next to the fence help me to envision having a buffer zone for a retaining wall.
This one gives me an idea of what we'd be looking at if we kept all three areas, just downsized each of them. Doubt we'll have room for the cushy landscaping between each area and without that, this yard could quickly go from adorables to generic.
Ours would obviously be much smaller, but this one does a great job of giving the impression of separate areas while still  being part of one cohesive outdoor living space.

Note: I won't completely get rid of the lawn, Boone needs at least enough space for a bathroom break between walks. I may be willing to compromise on how much play space and the doghouse...

I could really use help figuring out a solution, so what would you if this was your backyard?

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