Backyard/patio ideas

nzgirl1982February 10, 2014


Attached are photos of my current patio area. I would like to change it and welcome any ideas. At the moment I feel that it is too brown and needs some furniture or plants or both to brighten things up.

Points to note:
* The neighbours have quite high trees along the fence line. Because my house is on a slope I have had to 'trim' some of theirs to let more light in. However, my neighbour is a smoker and the smoke smell wafts into the courtyard. So I'm not sure whether I can instal some candles or plant maybe palms or something to try and eliminate some of the smell.

*The soil is very dry and not that much seems to grow besides succulents. (Maybe its my poor gardening skills). The corner garden is mostly shady due to the fence line & slope of the section.

*At the moment it is just myself and partner but maybe something kid friendly will be ideal. I have thought maybe adding artificial grass or something like that to try and break up the cobbles a bit.

Thanks in advance for all your suggestions


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Some my design:

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 9:52PM
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While a computer-spliced panorama includes all the features, it distorts so much that it's very difficult for one who has never seen the space to grasp a real sense of what it's like. It would be better if you could put a few regular photos that are wide shots taken from a distance, from different viewpoints looking across to the far sides of the yard. I'm thinking I would also like to see from the patio door looking outward.

(Yin, I don't see how it is useful to place a mountainous deck on top of an already existing patio.)

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 2:24AM
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Here is the view from the main lounge looking out

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 12:42PM
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And the view from the fence to the side corner garden

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 12:45PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

Are you thinking of a kid friendly area rug made from artificial turf? That might be nice with some patio furniture and maybe a little fountain or some water feature.

Too many pavers can be boring and retain a lot of heat. You do have a nice patio cover.

I think your area looks really nice. I love the Australian Tree Fern and all the plants surrounding it.

Sorry about the smoker next door. I know of nothing that can eliminate that smell. Maybe a fan to blow it back their way? At another house we had a smoker next door. I knew when she woke up because that smoke would drift into my bathroom window!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 1:34PM
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The only place yet unseen is at the corner of yard from where original panorama was taken. If you took a photo from near the post (which is near drain,) I think that would cover it.

A couple of thoughts, so far, is that some of the wood retaining walls look like they might be much higher than what is being retained. I'd consider removing a few inches off the top, if possible. And, I'd consider some plants at the top of the retained areas that "heap" and "weep" over the wall, covering some (or much) of it's upper portion. (The wood adds to the barren, hard surface. It would be easy to cover with plants that trail.)

Likewise, the wood of the fence adds a barren quality. You are punctuating it with art, but it needs some foliage, too. It could come from hanging planters bearing trailing plants. Or you could create a small opening in the pavers (at strategic positions) from which a vine -- annuals or perennials -- could grow. If it's a permanent woody vine, think through carefully where it will grow and how it will be supported. If annuals, just some twine, wherever, that plants could grow on, ought to do it. Some moonflower vines with their awesome scent (and evening & nighttime show) might help the smoke condition.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 9:51PM
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I love the pergola! (I sure miss mine (and arbor) that husband built but lost in hurricane. Sorry for the nostalgia). I so agree with Yardvaark about the trailing plants, I was thinking same thing but didn't think of removing part of the retaining wall. I think it would be very easy and really inexpensive to put some outdoor rugs out there, I did that right on my large back porch before my son's wedding, which I had at my house. I got 2 large rugs from Home Depot or Lowe's (local "big box" home/garden stores) and they were beautiful and reasonably priced. I also think colorful chairs would be beautiful. It can be fun to find some at yard sales or consignment stores or even on the curb for the trash, and paint them. I would also get some large containers that go with your color scheme. They can be expensive, but you can get small ones and place in groupings and elevate them on a little table or plant stand. I love the idea of the moonvine or anything else fragrant. Small Gardenias in a pots or other fragrant plant. A fan might also work. We have 2 outdoor ceiling fans, again from the big box store, and they have held up very very well outdoors.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 9:37AM
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I think you have a great starting point with this patio with the pavers and the pergola. However, it is definitely too plain and you could do wonders using what you already have.
1) Consider adding a water garden or pond. This is always a winner with fish and plants. If you have small kids and are worried about safety, I understand.
2) Add some nice container gardens, like big pots with a variety of plants, next to the posts of the pergola. This will be a nice accent and add some greenery.
3) The tiered area around the perimeter looks okay (the corner with the fern looks good) but if you extended that out to make each tier wider and make it 3 tiers instead of 2 then the proportions would like much better. Then plant some plants that cascade over the tiers.

Thats it.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 8:34PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

think if it were mine I'd use that retaining wall for epiphytes.. Not sure about your climate but there are a few million to choose from . Bromeliads,ferns , orchids , would take advantage of the shade and make great use of the walls. Interesting construction of the walls why so many different directions ,materials?? gary

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 4:05AM
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