New here and wondering if I should keep this structure??

swaybabyMarch 10, 2011

Hi everyone! I'm new here, and to any kind of gardening in general :)

I was wondering if I could get a few honest opinions on my mess of a yard!! (It came looking like this, and on a shoe string budget, and now that the inside is done, we are finally able to to something with the outside!) We are getting ready to paint the exterior a soft butter yellow, the deck and door a darker sage green, and cream trim (just to give an idea, I'm not sure if that will help?)

Anyways, the previous owners had this, large aviary type thing DIRECTLY in the middle of the yard. I want to start landscaping and sort of keep a rustic cottage type feel, but was wondering, should I keep this thing in the yard, and plant some sort of vine to grow up it (Wisteria, maybe?), and add some seating and string lights? Or should I just yank it out?? It would be the FIRST thing people would see driving up and block the view of the house though?? Any ideas? Honest opinions are fine :) (I know it's bad, That's why we're working on it! LOL) Thanks guys!!

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First decide what you are going to do with the area--dog lot or landscaped garden.

It has a great looking roof, just needs a little something done w/the sides (remove everything but support posts, and box them in with wider boards etc). It would be great for shade with a sitting/eating area. Part of the side or a corner could be trellised with vines-NO to wisteria because it needs a major support and would pull the whole thing down, add some flowering shrubs, low growing evergreens, perennials/annuals in the ground, hanging baskets around the perimeter and a path w/gardens to the house and viola! Great relaxing place to recover when working in your yard. Fix a pad for your grill and enjoy entertaining. If you worked it into your garden I think it could be very attractive and functional.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 5:46PM
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I think a rustic garden be evergreen,edible,prehistory.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 6:22PM
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    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 6:41PM
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I also think a rustic garden should be prehistory.

I have mixed feelings about the structure. It could be interesting, but the problem is the location directly in the middle of the yard. My gut feeling is to get rid of it. Is is possible to move it?

I dont mean to say something you probably already realize, but a good mowing of everything there is going to really give you a better perspective. I am sure you realize that...but it is a very cheap solution to the overgrown look.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 7:33PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Link to the original photos:

That's weird, all right! The strange internal bracing doesn't exactly inspire confidence in how safe it is. The posts look like 4x4's -- are they large enough? Another thing I notice is that the posts are at the corners on one end, but a foot or two from the corners on the other end. (Someone ran out of wood?)

Is the front yard the only outdoor space you have?

It looks like the only part of the thing that's worth keeping is the roof. It doesn't look like there's any pavement under the structure. So, like drtygrl, I wonder if it would be possible to lift the roof off the too-small posts and move it to a better location.

But another consideration is whether the roof is large enough to be a usable amount of shade over a patio. And it might matter also where in California you're located. Do you have Fresno's climate or San Fran's? How necessary is a roofed area?

If you think it's sturdy enough, you could put a couple of chairs and a table there and see whether or not it's a good size.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 8:02PM
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Thank you all so much for your comments and advice!!

@Frankie Lynn, Adding some trellis for the vines and a pathway would be nice! I'm hoping if I can have a somewhat decent yard and keep the dogs ;) (eventually when we get the backyard fenced in, they'll go in there with a dog run).

@Ideasshare, Thank you so much for taking time to do that! I'm going to have to look into what evergreen, and pre-history are! LOL. What are the shrubs in the very front of the first photo? (I have no idea what I'm talking about but, Boxwood? I don't know why that popped in my head LOL) Also, I love the cherry blossoms(?), and in the second photo, the walkway is amazing!

@drtygrl, Exactly, my problem! LOL. I think if it was off to the side, we would totally keep it! We could move it off center, or to another part of the property (there's eight acres), but it just seems like a lot of work, for something that, the roof is the only part worth doing anything with. They made these two strange concrete rows on each side to bolt in the posts? (it didn't show in the pics). And yes, It will be mowed tomorrow! LOL. It's been raining like crazy, and then the "lawn" (mainly weeds at this point) shot up like, well, weeds! :)

@Missingtheobvious, You have no idea how strange the previous owners made things! LOL. They did ALOT of "creative handywork" themselves. Most of the work we've put in (in the house and other parts of the property) is undoing what they've done and fixing it properly. We have a very large concrete patio and wooden deck, shaded by a huge "fruitless mulberry tree" (I was told that's what it is?). So needing shade and seating isn't really an issue, I was trying to think of something to do with it? Like maybe I wasn't seeing the potential on the dilapidated thing? LOL. I'm also in between Bakersfield and Fresno, so it gets HOT! :)

I'm sure I'll have TONS of questions as I stumble my way through this! :)

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 10:35PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Maybe it could be the roof of a shed? (Somewhere else in the yard). Or half chicken coop, half shed. Or you could offer it on Craigslist or Freecycle to whoever will come (self-insured) and remove it.

I know what you mean about What the Previous Owners Did. The people who built my house live behind me, and are very nice people: probably much more normal than your Previous Owners. But if I ask about the house, there are things they don't want to talk about. (Like why there's an area covered with rounded white quartz stones between two parts of the foundation bed. I eventually figured out the stones cover part of the original cement driveway, from before the house was added on to. But I've no idea why the cement's a taboo subject.)

I used Fresno as an example because I was born there. Never actually lived there, but visited my grandparents. I envy you your eight acres, but not the climate!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 12:27AM
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Bubba's idea of a mother-in-law addition, perhaps?

I really don't think there's anything you can do with this structure that will prevent visitors from thinking that you are eccentric. Even its creator had doubts about its stability, as witnessed by the crude attempt at cross-bracing. I see someone has beat me to the suggestion that you place it in the "Free" section of Craigs List.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 6:56AM
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I make these decisions all the time. I'm a Landscape Architect with a lot of workload. First my friend define YOUR interests for the backyard. A professional such as myself could guide you away from really bad ideas. Think about the maintainance of the thing you aspire to, it matters. The question isn't about should you keep the thing but what you want to achieve.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 9:02AM
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We yanked it down today!! What a difference it's already made! We managed to save the roof and will use it for another project elsewhere on the property. But Man, am I glad we decided to take it down! :)

@ Whitecap, LOL at your response! "Bubba" and "eccentric" aren't quite the words I'm looking for, for my yard!

@Landscape, Thanks for the advice! In the end, I just wanted it gone. I like the feeling of a "shabby chic" style, but in the end with the placement and size, it was just wrong.

Also, I've tried looking up "pre-history" gardens, but I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be looking at? Can anybody send me in the right direction, or type of plants that fit this style? I'm intrigued :) Thanks so much!! :)

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 7:20PM
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I think your dogs will enjoy having the roof as part their new enclosure for a place to get out of the sun during the summer and rain in the winter.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 8:03PM
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I was just joking about the prehistory thing. Sorry :)
Ideashare comments on a lot of threads here, but a lot of the meaning is lost in translation. I was just making a bad joke - I hope you didnt spend too much time on it!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 10:14AM
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@Ann, The dogs are indoor dogs, and in much more than outside (One is an escape artist), But yes, they will have a new nice shady structure this weekend (though it won't be with the roof :D).

@Drtygrl, LOL! That explains so much!! All I kept finding were pictures of Dinosaurs or swamps! Hahahaha. I just kept wondering if it was some kind of "sub-genre", and I was missing an important part of a puzzle. LOL ;P

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 4:52PM
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I am so sorry sway!

LOL ;)
Glad you decided to take the structure down. I know it was a difficult decision but it was the right one. Now get mowing!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 6:11PM
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LOL drtygrl, it was funny!

I'm planting Grandpa Ott Morning Glories around the fence line this weekend! I'm excited! I've read how invasive it is, but I don't think I'll mind, and I LOVE the way it looks :) Lets just hope I can actually make it grow (I have a tendency to kill anything green LOL). And if I end up kicking myself in the rear later, I'll chalk it up to beginners mistakes LOL. There's a whole thread just on that topic! I'll have my own story to add :) Hahahaha.

Any advice on planting them? (besides not to ;P LOL)

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 10:19PM
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Not really - I have never planted them because of the invasive thing. My mom used to have them when she was a child and she said she would pick the flower and make a dress for a fairy doll :)

Are you using seeds? Are you going to remove the grass around the fence? I guess that would probably be my advice - remove the grass, edge it and maintain it so there is not grass growing all around. you could add some compost to the soil, but if they really are invasive you probably dont need to!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 11:41AM
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