Friday, March 20, 2009

Developing a Garden Plan: part 1

After the hit-and-miss plantings of the last few years, Jen and I decided that this was the year to actually develop a plan for our backyard that would incorporate many of the the things both of us desire.

  • space for a table / chairs
  • vegetable garden
  • herb garden
  • raised planters
  • gravel / porous paving areas
  • solid paving from house to garage
  • shade-friendly plants
  • perennial plants
  • firepit area
  • compost area
  • water efficiency (more rain barrels)
  • And perhaps a bit of an oxymoron - low maintenance
Of course, there needs to be a lot of compromising because we're working with an area that is effectively 22 x 30, surrounded by a fence, and most of which is shaded by a large maple tree on the north east corner of the area, as well as some very mature lilac bushes. Here is a preliminary drawing we came up with that incorporates the existing site elements with much of our "wish list" items.


After this initial step, we are now working through designing the hardscaping that needs to be done to accommodate all of these features. In addition to the soft lines of the gravel-based plan above, we came up with many other ideas for the space - rectangles, a diagonal patio, a circular theme. With the goal of trying to find a plan that best fit the small space, we have pretty much settled on the octagonal patio idea shown below.


This would ideally be pavers, but may be stamped / stained concrete too. We already need to have some concrete re-done in the left-side area of these plans. The steps leading down to the basement are crumbling, and the slab there is pitched towards the house. When coupled with a large downspout that sometimes overflows, that is a bad combination.

Also, Jennifer is a little concerned about the patio area being limiting - we like to have gatherings with friends when weather allows, and the backyard fills up fast - she's worried it will fill up even faster with a small defined patio space! So this may evolve ... we shall see.

But with a firm(ish) plan in place, we can start to look at how to go about implementing it - and what will fit within our budget.

8 comments:

erichapman said...

kinda looks like a dharma patio...

jay said...

I said the same thing to Jen! If we go with pavers, we could superimpose that as subtle nod. All we'd need is a Head of Security jumpsuit.

Nadja and Sean said...

Great plan!! I think our backyard will end up looking very similar (except our sidewalk will run through the patio, rather than on the side, since our doors are in the middle of house and garage.) Here's to a great spring outdoors (and the backaches that will undoubtedly come with!)

Tiny Oak Park Bungalow said...

I haven't been to this place yet so maybe I shouldn't be plugging it but it looks awesome.
http://www.thenaturalgardeninc.com/
They seems to have an awesome selection and even on line suggestions for plant material. They also have pretty cheap plant layout services. I plan on checking them out in a few weeks.

Anonymous said...

Looked at your yard wish list and thought you may find this web page useful:
http://www.delafleur.com/168_Elm/index.htm

Jason said...

Don't know a great deal about stamped concrete but there is a home in my neighborhood that had their front walkway leading to their backyard stamped and it looked great the first year. It's been over two years now and the color in the concrete has begun to fade. I'm sure there's some kind of sealer you can use but I just thought I'd mention it. Still enjoy your blog!

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