Patio Ideas - tying in to slightly elevated covered patio

mjwkr2000April 10, 2014

Cross-post from home forum:

Hello, first time posting in this forum. Spent a lot of time posting/lurking in the homebuilding forum on GW. We moved into our new home in November (in MI). Now that we are thawing out we are starting to see the projects lining up outside. Our home is on 2.5 acres and has a wonderful wooded back yard. We designed the house to have wonderful views from the great room, through the covered patio so we were really trying to avoid putting up any railings on the patio. However, the patio is probably 24" at its lowest point and 40+" at its highest point above the finished grade. We are trying to figure out what to do. We would like to have a ground level, uncovered patio area incorporated and have some steps added to come down from the covered area. We were thinking about doing some elevated planters around the covered porch area that would "guide" guests to the stair case. Again, this would be to avoid putting up a railing. My concern is if people cannot clearly see where the stairs are they may step off the patio in the wrong spot. here is a picture of the rear of the house and patio in question. I am looking for some ideas/tips.

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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

So you have a safety dilemma, right?

Could you put up some vertical posts with maybe lanterns to give someone going down the steps something to balance themselves?

We installed steps with no railings at our previous home. I was sorry about the lack of railings when one of my friends (bad knees) needed my help to go up and down. It never occurred to me that this would be a problem. I helped her for the week of her visit but what if she had fallen?

Your project sounds really nice. Wish we could see the view!


    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 10:20AM
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Safety is a definite part of the problem. I am trying to come up with a way to provide clarity to guests on the patio as to where the stairs are located in addition to trying to come up with something that is an aesthetically attractive link between the upper covered patio and the lower ground level patio.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 11:57AM
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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

IBC , which applies to all areas in the country requires a railing when the drop off is 30 inches or more. Railing height must be 42 inches.

you can use raised planters to bring the grade up to meet code requirements. we will often incorporate a low wall ( seating height) into the planter for a finished look.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 1:11PM
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This is a general concept only. Part of making it successful would be adequate front-to-back depth of the planter. At the right side, I'm suggesting a rail between the post and house wall, if the planter doesn't extend that far. You might consider extending the planter back to the house and filling in that niche area between deck and bump-out and eliminating the need for the rail. If wide steps are flanked with cheekwalls their location will be obvious from a distance ... and they will look better. (I'm not suggesting the color red.)

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 8:52PM
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Thanks for the mock up. That is pretty similar to what I was thinking in my head but couldn't quite visualize it. Thanks a lot!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 8:31AM
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You need to convert it to plan view and work out the details, including how it interfaces with bump-out.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 12:06PM
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