Thursday, May 8, 2008

I thought you might like to know..


I met with my landscape design guy this morning and we reviewed his plans for my new backyard. After we reviewed his plans, suggestions, materials, I opened my little MacBook and read to him a bunch of your comments and suggestions that so many of you offered up this weekend - - the reader from Portland who mentioned basalt, Joni's suggestions for slate lined with brick trim, the running bond vs. more disorderly pattern of stone... all of it.

I am not sure what a designer thinks of a chick opening up the comments of her blog for discussion, but I do know this: I don't want to make any mistakes. And I am super grateful for everyone who chimes in when I need advice because it's a huge help. With HOBACs, Joni's, and the Anons of the world, I feel like I have several designers helping me out on this project.

Joni asked for photos from the backdoor facing back, so here they are. Looking at the photos, it's hard to believe I am going to spend money on a new backyard. I mean... these pics clearly convey a certain kind of polish, sophistication, and refinement, no? Take the tree house for example. I am pretty sure I can use it for extra seating and set up a bar out there.

Ha.






So his plan is up top... I am nixing the water feature at the moment. I am pretty sure I told him I didn't want a water OR a fire feature, and both showed up in the design plan. I would want to add in $3000 extras, too, were I a designer. Anyway, other than that, I liked plan two (which you see here), and have asked him to draw in a low wall on the patio edge, with a break to the left and a break facing where the boxwood hedge/bird feeder thingy (or whatever we plan to put there) is. It could mean extra seating and make the patio more of a room. But I am still not totally sure.

Progress. I think.

If you are late to the party, you can click the "backyard" tag at the bottom of this post to follow along.

Thoughts? Love it? Hate it?

24 comments:

An Aesthete's Lament said...

Love the plan; very lovely—stylish AND user-friendly ...

maison21 said...

awesome- i love to see people improving their homes- it's always SO worth the money spent. having a backyard you want to spend time in, will improve your enjoyment of your occasional sunny days in ways you can hardly imagine now.

ps- you were smart to call in a landscaper to help. what you spend on him will be worth it for the time and headaches you save yourself.

ps- go for the water feature! people tend to do this kind of thing only once, so you might not ever summon up the fortitude (and $$) to add it in later. a little running water goes a long way to make a backyard seem tranquil and relaxing, especially in a denser suburaban environment, where it really can mask the sound of the barking dog the next block over, or the neighbor who always talks outside for cell reception...

Anonymous said...

Digging the random use of little squares, big squares, and rectangles. Keep it from being too boxy and ticky-tacky.

I myself would go for something a little looser and softer than boxwoods, but that's just me. And if you're killing off the "Water Feature," it might be moot anyway.

"Fire Feature"?! That sounds very Benihana!

diana @ please sir said...

Sounds nice - and I think it's GREAT that you shared your blog comments! Goes to show how far the blog community can reach. I actually like the fire feature, but I'm sure with small children that wouldn't be beneficial. Plus, you could always get one of those small, urn-like outdoor fireplace thingys. Excited to see results!

mrlfvl said...

Interesting plan. I say keep the tree-house thing - could be a great place to banish unruly party guests. I e-mailed you the photo of the awning I am obsessed with, but it got bounced back to me. I tried again, but not sure if it ever made it.
While I love the idea and look of water features, everyone I know who has one is always bitching about the pump breaking, algae growing, tubes rotting, etc. Might be worth asking the landscaper guy what kind of maintenance would be involved. One of my neighbors has been through like 6 pumps in the last 2 years, and she finally ripped the whole thing out.

Lisa said...

Part of your problem is referring to the tree house as that, and not the more refined name of guest house. I bet you wouldn't be so quick to part with it if you started calling it that.

Plus, when you sell, you put in your listing that you have a guest house. Just make sure to get some curtains for it before you list.

Lisa said...

P.S. I agree with Maison21 - go with a water feature. It just so happens that the airline pilot I sleep with put one in our backyard (see this link for what it looks like: http://www.russellwatergardens.com/Kits/hydrorock.php )

Ours is the 3 column variety. And it was easy to install. I believe I laid in a lounge chair all day and watched him do it all. We could help you install it (and by we I mean you and I drink while the pilot and the creative director do all the work). There I go bragging that I know you again.

studiolo2 said...

The plan looks great, including the water feature. But I've heard that ponds are a pain in the petunia to maintain, so I'd check about if you reconsider it.

Many people worship boxwoods here in VA. They can be (and usually are) left shaggy for a softer look.

the House of Beauty and Culture said...

Looks good. Love the tree-house.
Like the idea of the water feature, not sure that is the right one, or even the right place . And, the box seems a little forced ? I think an old butler's sink filled with river rocks nestled amongst some ferns could be just as lovely.
What will happen with the fence? Does it morph into that lovely cedar grey/silver?
Has your guy detailed the planting scheme yet?

Halfmad said...

Mind if I ask who your designer is? In Seattle too, and thinking I'm going to need help with this very same thing. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Not sure how you get into the "Water Feature"--I mean, how you make your way through that box of boxwoods. (Honestly, I'd just put a nice old mossy cement birdbath there and call it a day.)

Decorno said...

Halfmad: I am working with Michael Bianci from:

http://www.gardensbymichaelangelo.com/

If you want design only and you're willing to do the work yourself (or hire your own crew) you might contact Martha Shapiro:

http://www.shapiroryandesign.com/

I think Martha is more my style in terms of plants/design (non-hardscape). She's really, really great. But I went with Michael because I didn't want to to end up being my own general contractor.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Tree house...or Tiki Bar? Tough call.

The rest of it makes me green with envy.

Halfmad said...

Thanks for the info, Decorno!!

Fifi Flowers said...

wow... you've come a long way so far... I love the illustration by pve design... you're house has such character... love old homes and old neighborhoods... can't wait to see the progress!

lsaspacey said...

Just my opinion, but when you tell someone who is designing something for you exactly what you do NOT want and they still put it in the design they show you, I would not work with this person. Their opinion means much more to them than yours. If this was structural or the like, of course take that into consideration, but in this case...no.

I also kind of see you (and of course I may be wrong, but...*) as a bit looser and funkier than this design. Though of course this is stiffer than a color rendering would be.

By the way, I loved how your backyard was looking in that drawing you were sent, I LOVED the idea of the raised garden beds with the stone walls right outside your back door. So easy to take care.

Cote de Texas said...

D: thanks for the mention! I love the plan - I especially love the retaining walls - you can use those to sit on and they frame the patio in a way that makes it another room, an outdoor room. Your backyard is much bigger from this angle! Think again about the water feature though! It will add so much atmosphere, but I would move it closer to the porch where you could enjoy it. And just another thought - you could always take the grass out and put crushed granite or gravel there instead and thus extend the usebility of your yard for parties and bbqs, etc. Plus, no more mowing! And since you're taking out the fire feature - you could you put a portable pit out there in the middle of the gravel. mY brother in law has a portable fire pit and most nights - we are out there, wrapped in blankets in the winter having some of the best times in the world ever. A fire pit would be so fine in the cold, damp Seattle winter!!! But seriously, I would discuss that with my designer and see what he thinks about grass over gravel.

Great plan - I can't wait to see
you execute it.


Joni

pve design said...

I agree with Joni- We have a fire pit (Smith & Hawken) and love it in the cooler evenings, kids roast marshmallows and it gives the patio ambiance...
I like the water feature, especially for Seattle. Why you could have a "Wet" Bar, and Brunch with those umbrellas in your drinks and personalized decorno umbrellas as the party favor or those plastic ponchos!
Torches and lights all add to the festive flair!
You will love it when it is all done, and may never go back inside!

Anonymous said...

you need to get some taller plantings in front of the fence -mix in some trellises hers 6 pages
http://smithandhawken.resultspage.com/search?p=Q&srid=S7-2&lbc=smithandhawken&ts=v3&w=trellises&uid=911068975&method=and&isort=score&srt=0 ....what-ever to create a background and foreground. be careful of making all decisions in plan form ... think of elevations..........The field if the patio would serve you better in a diamond pattern or as in the photos i sent via e-mail all rectangles all in proportionate dimensions of each other ...... Where there is a bench in the back try to develop it into a seating area - facing chairs / thebench and tow chiars with a small coffe table ( bottom log of a tree and a flat stone on top / put it under a arbor / or a gasebo / make it a real destination - "a" bench isnt enough ... trust me/ here a small informal irregular arrangement of stones would be great .. your sweet to consider all the humble opinions

mh1215 said...

Love the plans! I'm with you Decorno - I would go without the water. I think it's too risky that it will look cheesy or overstyled. I love the idea of the low wall around the patio. I think it will be ideal for extra seating and used more than you can imagine.

Anonymous said...

P>S... just out of the think tank ( read bath ) and want you to think of the small (bench) are as a conversation area - if you go witht the small arbor and the trellises grow morning glories up them annual plantings wonderful bursts of color and around the fence grow Virginia creeper grows quickly and provides wonderful bursts of fall color - I worry the fence you have build creates a "pen" play pen whatever and what to give it dimension and depth - think of what a sofa table with lamps and photos and a vase does behind a sofa vs. shoved up agaist a wall ... here are some pics .. does a pic go in here ? will e- mail them dont know how - also remember a small table for prep buffet at serving - great one on slae as restoration harsware - will send link ...

Piperella said...

Have you thought about framed raised garden beds, with maybe one-foot squares inside? Perfect site for a several of them that will give you color and interest, room to walk between and still room for small seating, etc. Just a thought.

My Notting Hill said...

The plans for the backyard look great. Thought I'd update you on the Amazon outdoor couches - in case you were still considering them. Love,love the frame. The fabric though isn't white but a weird cream - a bit icky. I'm going to attempt to dye them navy blue, if that fails I'll recover. All in all though happy w/the purchase.

dagney said...

hey you need to update us wheres this all at