Designers Eye and Forgivness

martinca_gwMay 17, 2014

Sorry! No matter what I try, my ipad pics are not set right. Hope you can see well enough for a quick question.
I've devided our small back yard with shrubs and arbor , and working to create a "garden room" behind the shrubs.l The messy ( enlarging ) rose bed curves, as will he new area that's marked by pavers. Here, I've placed an iron seat in front of low brick wall. I'm planning to replace grass in that area with shredded redwood, which is also in rose bed, and add some plants.
Question: will dirt beds on each side make yard appear smaller? Should it stay grass, (which will be a bother)? It all needs tweaking: arbor, bigger stones, etc., but am I on the right track?
Thankful for your input!
Will post more pic

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martinca_gw

Everything inside the line of pavers would be no grass/ shredded redwood,

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 7:26PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

First pic

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 7:29PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

second pic

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 7:30PM
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martinca_gw

..wish were mine! But I see here the swath of lawn is bordered identically , almost. I know, ver different, but made me think my idea might be ok.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 7:33PM
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martinca_gw

Love the yard! Did you just fix my pics? Bless you!!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 7:36PM
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yardvaark

I don't see mulch as a permanent finished product that is really attractive. In my mind it is a temporary covering until plants can become established and cover over it. I'm generalizing. There might be an occasional exception. You're creating a room -- which you've done by creating a wall (hedge) and a doorway (arbor) -- and the "floor" surface is in question. You don't want grass. (Which CAN be very pretty and functional if it is the right grass and is well maintained) Mulch can work, but over the long haul it's going to seem cheesy. A hard, real floor -- pavers, brick, etc. -- would be much more satisfying. They would be better than grass. Grass would be better than mulch.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 7:47PM
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yardvaark

I don't see mulch as a permanent finished product that is really attractive. In my mind it is a temporary covering until plants can become established and cover over it. (I'm generalizing. There might be an occasional exception.) You're creating a room -- which you've done by creating a wall (hedge) and a doorway (arbor) -- and the "floor" surface is in question. You don't want grass. (Which CAN be very pretty and functional if it is the right grass and is well maintained) Mulch can work, but over the long haul it's going to seem cheesy. A hard, real floor -- pavers, brick, etc. -- would be much more satisfying. They would be better than grass. Grass would be better than mulch.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 7:51PM
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martinca_gw

I agree, but Imagine that the area under, around the white seat is ground cover and something: boxwood, ??. I like grass, though ours looks awful now, but mowing around the seat and pavers ? What would you do? I don't have to have a seat there.
I want a path through the arbor, and don't want to make the area look smaller. Including pic of what I'd love, because no one walks out on the grass, and this would extend our patio, but keep the green. Husband does not favor due to major re-haul, leveling, etc.of whole yard. Plus, says he's never seen this look pulled off successfully( grass or ground cover under pavers). Tell him he's wrong! :)
Thanks for your ideas!!!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 8:30PM
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martinca_gw

Hmm, I just laid put white towels around that seat/ wall area to mimic the look of large pavers. The stepping stones would begin at arbor and lead to"secret garden". Had to squint really hard to envision. Other half ok with it. Whatcha think? Could you do a mock up with my awful pics?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 8:54PM
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yardvaark

I agree that the grid paving LOOKS good, but if you think mowing a little lawn is a pain, edging around all the squares will surely top it in the aggravation department.

Why not mulch a small area under the bench (with a nice, organized edge) and let the rest of the area be grass? If you create a nice shape, give it defined edges and develop healthy grass, it can be an excellent floor AND path.

The size of the space is what it is. If you don't want it to look smaller, don't clutter it with objects and keep its surroundings defined, not sprawling. (The stepping stones, as they are, make it look smaller.) Dividing the area up into multiple surfaces will make it look smaller. BTW, grass or groundcover does not go UNDER stepping stone pavers.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 9:09PM
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martinca_gw

Suppose that the pavers flow into concrete patio. Would this enlarge visually?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 9:45PM
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emmarene

Could we see more pictures? I want to see to the right of the arbor. It looks like there is more room for plants over there. There might not be enough room for layers of shrubs as in the picture posted. How many hours a week do you usually work in the garden? Just because I am nosy could you let us have a gander at the "secret" garden?

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 2:00PM
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martinca_gw

Sure, but read above re upside down pics :(. Would post more but for this obnoxious issue. Back area is on hold. Thirty year old alder trees dying. Now trying to give the small area in front interest, and balance with pool/hardscape. Also, give more area of yard to be in, as well as adding an invitation to visit the , eventual, "secret garden.".

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 3:33PM
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lyfia

Are you using an iPad to take the pictures? If so make sure the home button is on the right when you take the pictures and I think the pictures will show up correctly

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 8:11PM
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martinca_gw

Lyfia, there are a zillion complaints about this problem online, so miracle if it's this simple a fix...but here goes nuthin. Bless you a million if it works.
Yardvaark, if you're still here, perhaps this pic makes my idea clearer. I'd like to diminish the straight, dividing line between hardscape and green. If I place cement colored , large pavers from patio to brick wall, and surrounding white chair( prob. be cement bench, not chair) would that work? The path to arbor would then be grass, per your suggestion.
Across this small grass path is a curving rose bed. Deeply appreciate help and thoughts!
X fingers on pic...we'll see now. Marti
P.s. Privets to be trimmed 1/3 at least after booming. Also, perhaps need a heftier arbor.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 1:08PM
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martinca_gw

Well, in case it worked, here's one more pic, from above. The rugs and towels very (!!)roughly simulate the area to have large pavers( ignore small ones used as outline ) .
Overview: now , with only grass and rose bed, everyone huddles on the patio. The pavered area would draw us out into the yard. The grass would act as path to arbor, and , when done a rear garden .
Question: does this visually not work, serving to cramp up the yard?
Again, so very grateful for input.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 1:57PM
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martinca_gw

Well, in case it worked, here's one more pic, from above. The rugs and towels very (!!)roughly simulate the area to have large pavers( ignore small ones used as outline ) .
Overview: now , with only grass and rose bed, everyone huddles on the patio. The pavered area would draw us out into the yard. The grass would act as path to arbor, and , when done a rear garden .
Question: does this visually not work, serving to cramp up the yard?
Again, so very grateful for input.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 1:58PM
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yardvaark

I have always thought a "rear" garden was a great idea. These could become very popular. :-)

On another note ...

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 6:31PM
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martinca_gw

Yes, but making a rear garden can be a pain the grass. : )
Please now tell me this: you have a yard made up of one long, rectangular hardscape/pool area connected to one smaller square-ish green area. So that the whole thing is not seen all in one boring glance, you divide with a shrub wall and arbor. To one side you added a curving rose bed. Curving , to soften all the straight lines of this yard.
Is his good 'nuff? But two wishes remain:

  1. no one walks out onto the grass . How to draw them into the yard and not all huddled on the patio? In other words, can pavers be added in a way to accomplish this in an attractive way? Is it not possible due to size of yard ?
    I am at a loss.
    TIA!
    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 1:11PM
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martinca_gw

Yes, but making a rear garden can be a pain the grass. : )
Please now tell me this: you have a yard made up of one long, rectangular hardscape/pool area connected to one smaller square-ish green area. So that the whole thing is not seen all in one boring glance, you divide with a shrub wall and arbor. To one side you added a curving rose bed. Curving , to soften all the straight lines of this yard.
Is his good 'nuff? But two wishes remain:

  1. no one walks out onto the grass . How to draw them into the yard and not all huddled on the patio? In other words, can pavers be added in a way to accomplish this in an attractive way? Is it not possible due to size of yard ?
    I am at a loss.
    TIA!
    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 1:58PM
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yardvaark

There must be a reason to walk on the grass ... an inviting place to sit ... a pretty place ... sufficient space ... that one won't get one's self or shoes dirty or wet ... that walking on the grass is easy, etc. You must remove all the negatives. I don't see those patio stones as enticement. It looks like one would walk on the grass before on them. The stepping stones don't look actually usable. The grass yard is already small so, to me, they look like clutter. I would have the space be all grass or all paving. If you created (and planted) the red triangle (the one above I said to not do) that would be a trip hazard ... a reason to not enter the lawn area. The white seat (seen in the picture above) is not a place to visit with someone and have a conversation. It looks like it would be comfortable only for one person for a short stay.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 5:34PM
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martinca_gw

Sorry for the double post.
Does this make more sense ? No bench, nothing by wall. Have pavers follow rose bed and through arbor, with a split off( or not?) to another, smaller path to "rear" :) garden. I'd begin with larger pavers, gradually getting smaller to, I've read/hope, fool the eye. Hope pic is ok. Hope not talking to myself, but understand if so .:( I'll add one more pic

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 5:38PM
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martinca_gw

Sign me , dazed and confused....but always hopeful.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 5:42PM
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yardvaark

Currently, the grass patch has a pinch-waist shape. In order for it to be inviting, it should be nearly the opposite ... fat at the middle so that it is creating space for people to be. Pinching is restricting space.

I repeat, I find the stepping stones distracting and cluttery looking. If you want to embellish the grass, create a flush border (as opposed to a raised one) that reinforces its shape.

I find the arbor too pinched as well. It would be better if you replace it in the future with a wider, home-made one. The grass path should be wider on its way to it the arbor.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 6:46PM
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martinca_gw

Now THAT looks great!! Thank you! What have you used for the borders? The lawn looks so much bigger this way! I'd not have thought of it. Lucky me to have your help!
I agree about the arbor. We will build one to resembles this style trellis we just added for privacy wall across the way, unless you prefer the arched top?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 7:34PM
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yardvaark

"What have you used for the borders?" Digital paint. It works for everything!

I would edge the lawn with a flush mowing strip where the strip width was 8", at least ... not a RAISED border. It could be made of bricks, concrete pavers or various stones (that were not too bumpy.)

With such a small lawn, it's important for the grass to be perfect and nice to walk on. If you live in an area where Zoysia grows, you might want to explore one of its cultivars it as a possible turf choice.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 8:08PM
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martinca_gw

"Digital paint." Ha! So, I can put these stepping stones to use use as a flush mowing strip. Our thirty year old,coastal So. Ca. grass is a mishmash
of who- knows-what. We'll do our best for now, and in fall look onto new sod. Zoysia. Will check it out.
Again, I thank you , Ty, Ty, Ty!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 8:49PM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

Those white pavers need to go, used as a path or edging. They complicate designing a small area by breaking up the 'picture'. They make walking difficult and are a maintenance problem. When walking on separated pavers a person looks down so as to see where to step instead of looking at the landscape. Plus, not all people have the same stride.
The lawn shape should be inviting with crisp edges and lead to the arbor. The design should flow and not be so abrupt from one area to another. Even a secret garden should have an inviting entrance. It doesn't have to be grand, just inviting.
Mike

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 9:56PM
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martinca_gw

" When walking on separated pavers a person looks down so as to see where to step instead of looking at the landscape."
That makes sense !
How would you 'make lawn shape inviting', and 'make edges crisp and lead to arbor'? I am grateful for input from any kind enough to take the time.
P.s. Your photos are jaw dropping.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 5:21PM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

To make it more inviting, start the lawn out wide by the pool and make it narrower as it gently curves toward the arbor. The lawn shape is more important than the bed shape. In other words, design the lawn shape first so it flows. What's left are the beds. That way the beds don't look like they were cutout, giving you a visually confused landscape.
Mike

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 7:09AM
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martinca_gw

Ok. I sorta got it, weighing input from you and yardvaark. I thank you both for your help!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 2:27PM
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Min3 South S.F. Bay CA

totally agree with the advice you have been given; ditch those silly stepping stones- they never work. its going to be very pretty if you use the 8" edging around the grass and an arbor to match the other one that you have. i love the idea of the secret garden! lucky you. min

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 8:02PM
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martinca_gw

Thanks, min3. What exactly is used for 8" edging?

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 1:10AM
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yardvaark

8" is the minimum width to look good. It can be wider.

I would vote against keeping the perfect radial alignment of the double row in favor of smaller gaps between the outside curve bricks.

For someone who likes lots of edging.

I include this image in order to compare how scrawny looks less than 8" width ...

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 6:25AM
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martinca_gw

Oh, yardvaark, so glad you're back. I love the second pic of curved bricks. Would you surround the lawn area or just outline/ follow the rose bed curve, have it circle behind the arbor, or stop next to it? The last pic of skinny border resembles a loooong petrified snake.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 11:23PM
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yardvaark

I would surround the lawn area.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 11:45PM
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martinca_gw

I like that. Thank you so much!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 1:53AM
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yardvaark

Search Google Images for "landscape border" and you will see many examples. The general suggestions I would make are keep it flush (or only raised an inch) with the lawn, make it wide not skinny (8" min.) using curves that fit the size of the lawn as a whole (do not use looping, wiggly curves of which here is an excellent bad example:)

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 9:33AM
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martinca_gw

If my questions have not yet made you too weary, please use your magic pen to show how to soften the hard corners. I plan to use brick as in your second pic., and shape lawn as suggested.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 11:02PM
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yardvaark

I do not understand the photo and what you're asking to be done.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 12:46AM
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martinca_gw

Sorry. So. If all of the lawn area is bordered with 8"( minimum) of brick , including the area butting the cement patio, can I soften, round out that 90 degree angle I dislike.? And the brick will then go into a straight line as it continues across the cement patio. This pic taken from rose bed side. Not sure it helps.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 1:10PM
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butterfly4u

Martinca,
Look again at the pic that was provided to you.
Use that as a template.
And get rid of the arbor altogether, and get rid of the pavers, and go buy an electric hedge trimmer, and round out the bushes on each side (where you now have the arbor), to make an inviting entrance.
Use the hedge you already have as your entrance, just round the corners to make it inviting.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 1:32PM
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martinca_gw

I will be following the template, and the shrubs will be trimmed after their blooms( which I,and the bees, love) are spent. I will keep an arbor, probably, though a nicer one. Will decide after all else is done. I am asking, boringly, I'm sure, if I may continue the brick edging around the whole area, and simply round out the 90 degree corners that abut the cement patio, giving it a more fully oval appearance. I appreciate your input, butterfly :)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 2:00PM
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martinca_gw

You already said I shouldn't, yardvaark, so sorry I'm asking again, but that was before, I think, seeing that I need to edge around the whole lawn....and I just hate the sharp angle. Yes! I have become tiresome ! Sorrreeee.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 2:07PM
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yardvaark

Part of the problem of your recent question, Martinca, is that you are showing a me a tiny piece of the puzzle and expecting me to offer something that makes sense when the whole picture is viewed. No one designs like that. One must see the whole picture -- the whole lawn -- and some space around it. You might need to stand on a step ladder to take such a picture. (Possibly from across the pool using a zoom setting.) What I think you're asking now -- about how to round out the interior of the 90 corner of paving -- I'm not sure its essential. Sometimes people are bothered by things that really aren't the problem while it is something else that is causing the difficulty. Let's see the whole applicable space. However, the suggestion I offered above nearly shows the whole lawn and how I would consider shaping it, but the bottom is cut off of the photo. Still, if you think in terms of the space being more or less symmetrical, I think you could envision the whole space.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 2:17PM
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yardvaark

You had posted your question in more detailed form above after I had already started writing, so I didn't see it. My answer is no. Don't round out the already established corners with curves when it clearly goes against what exists. Your goal as a designer is to make things fit and make sense, not ignore them as if they didn't exist. Making curves there would complicate implementation so that you'd have additional problems to figure out. Keep it simple. I can't see that you need to extend brick across the edge of pool paving. It already makes a border to the lawn. But you could add it, if you desire. If you want to create the suggestion of rounded corners, but have it fit better with 90* existing corners, you could consider doing something like this ...

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 2:38PM
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