Patio with path to Greenhouse

MrsTRose(6)February 15, 2014

My hubby is having a patio installed in our backyard along with a path to our future greenhouse. It's my job to figure out what landscaping to do... yikes! I'm in PA and hoping to have blooms that go from spring to fall, but the flower beds I've made in the past have been made up of a mix match of plants I find on trips to nurseries and they never seem to go well together.

I have quite a few potted fig trees (2' to 6' tall) that I would like to incorporate along with maybe some other potted fruits such as blueberries and citrus. I also really like fragrant flowers like gardenias so I would love to include some of them, even if they need to be potted due to our cold winters.

Here's a couple pictures of our backyard:

The original plan I sketched out included the patio and greenhouse we are having built:

My hubby built the plan in google sketchup also so I could see what I have to work with. I was originally thinking a wiggly path to the greenhouse, but I wasn't sure I liked how it looked, so I did the half circle. I'm also not sure what to do with the flower beds on the outside of the path.

The grey area are the flower/fruit beds I'm trying to figure out. The area marked "garden" is where I grow my veggies!

I could really use some help! I wouldn't mind starting some flower seeds/bulbs indoors and then in the greenhouse if needed. I really don't know a lot of plant names, I just usually pick out the pretty ones at the nursery :) But I can look up recommendations online.

If anyone is interested in fooling around with the sketchup drawing, I can ask my hubby to share it with you.

Thank you everyone!


This post was edited by MrsTRose on Sun, Feb 16, 14 at 8:34

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I forgot to add that the back of the house faces West and the patio is about 14x25. The greenhouse is 10x12 for size reference.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 10:11PM
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We are not members,can't open any your pics.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 5:15AM
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This is the view from the kitchen slider.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 8:38AM
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Looking toward the house...

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 8:39AM
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My original sketch...

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 8:40AM
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Top view my DH did in google sketchup...

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 8:41AM
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Front on view from sketchup...

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 8:42AM
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How about spring-flowering bulbs and peonies on the outer (grey on your pic) area? That would be easy care, I think. I don't know a lot about peonies, we can't grow many kinds here in Mississippi, but I do have 2 and they just come up then freeze back each year. If you want to do container fruits and container gardenias, I am thinking place those closer to the patio (inner grey area in pic) for ease of care and moving indoors or into greenhouse in winter.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 9:19AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

If that area faces west, you might want a terrace over your patio for shade. Grapevines will give you refreshing shade in the hot summer, and can be pruned for some cool wreaths year round.

I love your hubby's drawings. He is very talented. It's nice that you scored a greenhouse! I'd love one, but in my part of California, it's not necessary.

My grandma had a flower garden full of zinnias, roses, daisys, and bulbs. It was a mixed up mess of color, and was just beautiful. I'm just not sure what grows in your zone, so no help there. I'm thinking you get snow where you are, so probably all will be dormant in winter.

I'd love to see photos once you get it done, and I like the simple curved path.


    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 9:47AM
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Other thoughts I have in mind will have to wait until I have time. However, I am familiar with the strict building codes of northern states. Do you have approval from your town (or city or county) building department to construct a greenhouse so close to or on the property line? Usually not acceptable in the land of suburbia. Better check before planning further.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 9:56AM
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My design suggests:

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 10:46AM
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Thanks for all of the great responses!

Louisiannagal: Peonies might look very pretty! I think there are some fragrant ones also. I'll have to look more into those!

desertdance: I'll trade you my greenhouse for your beautiful CA weather any day!!! I also love roses, but only when they are healthy and blooming. The ones we have on the south side of our house are hard to water and look pretty scraggly mid summer. I've asked my DH to put irrigation lines around the beds, so roses might be an option... they smell so beautiful! I also like daisies, they provide a nice pop of color! A tiered terrace down the hill would be amazing, but unfortunately, we only own to the top of the hill. The slow down and the area out back is "community land" where we aren't allowed to plant.

nandina: my DH submitted the sketch above and staked out the area for the patio and greenhouse and got a building permit, it's hanging in our front window :) The greenhouse has to be 10ft from the side property line... it will be about 10' and a few inches. The flower beds can go all the way to the property line if we want though.

yin: Thank you for your beautiful design! I like the idea of a flowering tree next to the greenhouse! My DH liked the idea as well as he said it should help block some of the strong winds we get from hitting the greenhouse directly. I think he was thinking evergreen to help block wind in the winter also, but I don't know if I'd like the way that would look and it might block some of our view of the farmer's orchard :(

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 11:08AM
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design2:You can select small treew or shrubs or terrace :

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 11:36AM
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I suggest that the patio and walk layout be modified a little. Having the patio dip inward at its center where it is likely that the most activity would occur will make it seem pinched and confined. It would be better to make that perimeter edge swell outward instead. Also, there is little point on beginning the walk-to-the-greenhouse at the patio's center when the greenhouse is located at the right (of the picture) as then the walk is longer and less efficient. Why not just make the walk shorter if it can perform the same function? Simplification of the patio and walk shapes would be more attractive and seem less contrived. I offer an illustration ...

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 9:07PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

I was thinking the same as Yard -- put the path where you will actually walk. Also be sure the greenhouse is oriented toward the best sun angle (I think it probably is), but if you turned it, you could have even more direct access if it were set out a bit so as to not interfere with the windows. Things to think about... If I were in PA I'd be living in the greenhouse.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 10:53PM
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Yard, thank you for your response. I had my DH lay out a plan similar to yours. He struggled with the new path though as he was afraid your path would have too sharp of a turn out of the greenhouse. Here's what he came up with though as an option.

Do you guys think it now causes a problem with where to put the table? All the way to the right and it will be in the way of the path, in the center it's kinda floating.

The greenhouse has to be oriented as is due to the property boundaries unfortunately. If I could have had the door facing the patio that would have been my preference, but it wouldn't fit. And trust me, if the greenhouse was up right now and heated, I'd be sleeping in there pretending I was in some tropical place!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 12:03AM
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new top down view...

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 12:04AM
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It will not work well to have an abrupt angle like that immediately as one exits the door of greenhouse. Mark it out similarly at any door in real life and test it (especially exiting quickly.) It will be awkward.

If there's going to be planting between house and patio, it would be better not to pinch it so tightly. Very few plants are going to appear lush and full if cramped into an 18" depth bed. And consider what heights the plants might be given the wall space at the house. (More height generally needs greater width.) A 4' front-to-back depth bed would be more versatile and attractive. Also, the steps presently seem like a huge object occupying a lot of space on the patio. If the patio was farther from the house, they wouldn't seem to take up so much room. And it might ease constraints in connecting the greenhouse to the patio.

Wouldn't it be good to also have paved access to the cellar door?

Must the greenhouse abut the home? If not, it seems the orientation of the door could change.

I would get away from the computer for a while and scratch out some different possibilities with pencil and paper, working out the functional aspects before being concerned with style elements.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 4:17AM
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Good morning Yard!

All very good points! I have a few constraints that pretty much require the greenhouse to be where it is. The property line offsets are the big one. I could turn it 90degrees, but then it would block the bilco door. We havent used the bilco in years, but it would be good not to permanently block it. I don't mind blocking it with potted plants or small flowers that can be moved or wheeled over if needed.

The reason for the small bed next to the house is I currently have a thick 18" bed of lillies my mom gave me. I planned to keep those, but extend the bed to two feet so they don't hangover the patio too much and perhaps allow room for some tulips.

The stairs are going to be an eyesore, but I am set on a patio and without a major retaining wall ($$$) they will be a necessary evil.

I'll have to sketch out some new path ideas with the arc shape. I think I may have gotten stuck on trying to make it symetrical... it might need to be less of an arc.

Thanks for all the feedback so far, keep it coming!


    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 6:40AM
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[Edit: I see now that there are pictures that didn't seem to be there before, and they explain the grade issue. At least I didn't see them until now, and now I understand why you're mentioning the retaining wall. I'll let the post stand as it might spur an idea anyway. What about minor retention walls above and below the patio, as in terracing ... or a deck instead of a patio, and just a small r. wall for the greenhouse?]

Hi Theresa. I'm not sure you understand my suggestions. i'm wondering if you've explored the idea of the greenhouse as a freestanding structure that still complies with the side line setback?

What do the steps have to do with a retaining wall? I'm not suggesting that the patio be on a different grade ... just that it's moved farther from the house to enlarge the bed and so the steps are not dominating it.

I guess the "bilco" is the cellar door? I'm not suggesting that you block it, but make it more accessible in case you needed to have access to it.

I'm not saying do it exactly like this ... but explore ideas like these ...

This post was edited by Yardvaark on Mon, Feb 17, 14 at 8:12

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 8:01AM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

I'd repost this in the Greenhouse forum. My feeling is that there are a lot of practical aspects of this that aren't being thought through, and are going to significantly effect your enjoyment of the greenhouse. However the path is arranged, it is going to have to be shoveled during the winter. The longer the path, the more shovelling has to be done to clear it. It is also unlikely that the table will have to stay in the middle of the patio during the winter. A lot of people move outdoor furniture to either a roofed area or under the eaves to give it some protection.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 10:31AM
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mad_gallica... that's not a bad idea. My DH has read quite a few of the threads in that forum, but I can post it there as well. DH did a lot of planning for where the greenhouse was going to go, for running heat, water, electric etc. I asked about retaining walls and he put the kabosh on those due to increased cost. I'm hoping that the warm weather this weekend will melt the snow and hopefully we can continue on this project shortly. I'd like to have the greenhouse setup in time for spring seed sprouting!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 10:29PM
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