The weather has been beautiful here in Boston and it is making me garden-crazy. The new house has a sizable backyard ( 50’x54′) and I’m just not sure what to do with it. I know I have plenty of time to make it awesome, but it’s fun to think about it. I hate mowing so I’m thinking cutting back on the amount of lawn and increasing the amount of entertainment space is the way to go. One thing is for sure, I’d like to extend the driveway into the back yard. We are going to have 3 cars and it will be nice to get the most-used ones closest to the kitchen entrance which is up across the deck and into the kitchen. The driveway extension will have parking for the minimal-use vehicles: the pickup in particular.
I’d love to get a fire pit type thing going but I don’t want to make anything permanent. I”m thinking either a wood-burning or a propane pit. The tank is generally on a hose and can be stashed in the bushes or under a bench.
The other features I’m looking for – outdoor kitchen area and vegetable garden. I’d also love some architectural elements to block the view of the house behind us. I don’t want to do big trees and block all the sun but some distracting arches would make the view much better.
Here is image number one. I think it’s my favorite plan but I have a couple just to mull over.
Along the top of the image, you can see a glimps of the driveway, the deck, and the kitchen. The driveway extension can be emptied to act as a patio, mulling area for guests or can be a large table, seating area. The shed is in the back corner of the lot, blocking the view to the back of the neighbor’s garage. To add some interest a wide path curves around a tree back to the shed. I am going to have Tree surgeon north east come out and trim some of the trees. The path must be wide enough to accommodate the lawn mower and/or snow blower. To square out the grass-cutting, ground-cover and shaded bedding plants fill in around the path shown in the dark green.
From the deck stairs down into the back yard, there is a grill station to the left, before the driveway patio. I did a Exterior House Wash with a pressure washer to make it look cleaner. To the right is another patio, hidden from immediate sight by raised planter boxes shown in purple. This private nook houses the flower pit and benches. The fire pit can be replaced with a round table as needed. Another bank of raised planter boxes shown in purple filter the view of the neighbor’s yard, lending a bit of privacy. These planters are larger and could house trellises for vining plants or taller evergreens.
Between the kitchen and the fire pit is a bed shown in dark green with perrenials such as my current obsessions, sunflowers and Zinnas. I’d like to have something growing that I can see from my kitchen window. Behind the firepit nook is a garden encased in a white picket fence and partialy covered by rectractable awning. In my mind, it is a white picket fence but it may end up being a series of raised beds with brick pathways. The cottage look doesn’t fit in with the rest of what I’m going for here. I’m going for english garden with contemporary flair. Wood-tones, not white. Structure but with some open green-space.
The lawn is good-sized with plenty of room for a swing set when the time comes. There are already some huge rose-bushes in the backyard that I’d love to save. I’ve allocated the back fence of the garden to roses and berries. of course, when I have kids I may re-evaluate by I love roses and kids will learn fast that pretty flowers and yummy berries mean thorny stems and scratched hands.
Image number two was designed in an effort to prevent what may be an awkward path down the steps of the deck. There is a patio to the left and to the right but the path just ends into lawn.
In image number 2, the stairs from the deck lead strait to the firepit. Instead of 2 different patios, there is one large one. Also, this may infringe on the chef’s grill space and may require a bit more refining to make it passable. I like that the garden is more visible to the kitchen window but I do miss my cozy fire pit.
Image number 3 addresses some of these concerns but may be a little boxed in.
Here we still have the cozy nook and the shed is moved closer to the house making snowblowing easier. The problem is that there is no clear path to the lawn. We could split the vegetable garden in 2 with a path down the center put that seems forced. I think this plan would make the backyard feel cramped, like it ended at the end of the driveway extension. Nothing draws people back, into the lawn.
What do you think? Option 1 with the cozy nook and potentially awkward stair placement (borrowed from the blog of Los Angeles outdoor space designer), Option 2 with the forfeited nook, or Option 3 with everything conveniently close but potentially cramped floorplan?
Love to see what you think!