Blank slate back yard needs design assist

BethinNEOKFebruary 25, 2011

Hi all, I am new to the forum and hope I am even posting in the right place! We moved to NE OK last summer and purchased a not-very-old house with the common minimal landscaping in the front yard and nothing except bermuda grass and a privacy fence in the back. The property slopes slightly downward to the east in the back so that the fence does not provide terribly much privacy. We are looking to add perhaps a paver patio with seating wall right off the back of the house and will need to add screening expecailly to the northeast and east. The east fence is 105 feet long and I have about 30 feet from the back of the house to the back fence. Think long, narrow box.

My hope is that we can create the illusion that we are surrounded by more space than we are, and love the idea of making spaces or rooms in the garden, so that we can catch glimpses from the patio of other areas that might beckon to us. I hope to avoid the "row of shrubs along the fenceline" thing and would like to have more of a 3D effect and raised or sloping beds that slope up toward the back fence.

Is this too vague a place to start?

I have checked out books from the library and find myself circling round and round in a fit of indecision.

Hoping that I have found the place that can help me!


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email me the yard photo.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 6:22PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Do NOT email ideasshare or anyone.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 1:19PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Other than Ideasshare, you are posting in the right place.

Here's my first question: you're saying the property slopes down toward the east and yet you want beds to slope up toward the back fence. I think I'm not clear on which way the slope goes... away from the house? I guess it would help to know which way the back of the house faces to understand how the slope lies relative to it and the fence.

Other than this your plan sounds eminently do-able. Can you tell us a bit about what you hope to do in the yard? A photo posted here wouldn't hurt to aid discussion, but isn't necessary.


    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 5:07PM
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rosiew(8 GA)

Yes to more info, especially how you'd like to enjoy your yard. Photos from several spots would be great.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 6:43AM
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karinl(BC Z8)

One idea I would consider if you want to do a variety of garden areas is to move the patio somewhat away from the house, or do the patio at the house but also put seating of some kind in a few other locations in the yard, What we've done is make a lower patio that is shady in summer, and an upper patio that gets more sun all year 'round. This is because we tend to be sun-seeking in spring and fall and that's when we use the sunny patio, but sun-avoiding in summer. There is also a spot in which we can specifically enjoy the morning sun for having coffee outdoors. Not all of this was preplanned, but these are the kinds of considerations that can be used to help make decisions.

If you begin by assessing your sun directions and planting trees that will eventually shade certain parts of the yard, you can plan accordingly from there - your seating areas, and what you will look at from each of them, what privacy considerations you want for each of them. Start by just placing lawn chairs at these locations and sitting in them, and thinking it through from that position.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 12:04PM
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I know I'm slow, but it sometimes occurs to me to wonder if the current preoccupation with avoiding "rows" of plants and the dreaded "hedge" does not result in a surrender of utility to style. A "row" of plants does not necessarily represent an abject admission that one is incapable of botanical creativity. Here, for instance, there are concerns with privacy, a sense of seclusion. If plants are tall enough to function effectively as a screen, it may make sense to position them as close to the privacy fence or property line as possible. Otherwise, you are giving up real estate, and making your property appear smaller than it is. This may not leave much room for flowing, free form, layered creativity. In any event, I don't see how such displays can be enjoyed if they come at the expense of privacy and leave areas of stark, unscreened fence to contemplate.

I also sometimes wonder why planting for shade seems to have gone out of style.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 11:05PM
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