Suggestions for this back yard please

glaswegian(5b, Ont)June 2, 2012

I am thinking a pergola over the deck, with containers all around and climbers/vines?

What do you guys think? We take possession of the house next month

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Sounds like a good idea as you need some privacy and sun protection. Containers are best hooked up to a drip irrigation system so watering doesn't become a chore. It looks like your back yard needs some trees, too.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 11:30AM
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Nice add a pergola.I don't suggest to add containers.vines don't grow well in containers.containers aren't nature.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 12:01PM
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glaswegian(5b, Ont)

Thanks guys....There is one issue though, the sides that are over 2ft from the ground, need railing by law

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 1:59PM
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You could plant some shrubs or small trees along the sides without hard straight line.don't need hard straight railing.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 10:41PM
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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

This is one of those learning moments.
Here in the USA we have something called the UBC - the Unified Building Code.
The UBC is a big fat book with all kinds of building laws that homeowners, builders, architects and landscape architects must adhere to.
One of those laws stipulates that a railing is required when there is a vertical distance of 30 inches from FF ( finished floor height ) to top of grade . The UBC was upgraded a couple of years ago and now the railing height must be 42 inches, no longer 36 inches.
There is also a load rating for railings @ 50 psf in any direction and 200 lb concentrated loading. Stair posts spacing not greater than 8 feet.

Municipalites have the right to tighten the law, so in some areas of the country the vertical distance can be as low as 24 inches.
This is why design professionals usually include time in their contracts to do code research before drafting up details.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 11:03PM
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Ok,Municipalites don't agree a shrub fence.maybe they agree a rosed sloped bed.of couse ,we need to protect the sides from moist. I always avoid a hard railing.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 6:18AM
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"There is one issue though, the sides that are over 2ft from the ground, need railing by law... "

And your question about it is what?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 7:28AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

My first thought on seeing that picture was much the same as d-d's - i.e. that deck's not safe with no railing and most likely not up to code. So, before getting into thinking about a pergola or whatever, the first priority is to make that deck safe and to code. And if the deck's not built to code, I'd wonder what else in the house might be DIY and not up to code. If I was buying this property, I'd have inspected it pretty closely indeed - I hope the OP did too!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 10:53AM
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Believe code might require a guardrail for the drop-off on the one side of the steps, too. You can probably get away without that in a home setting, but it's really a safety issue.

Did that situation pass any inspection you had done pre purchase? Deck railings would be the priority over any thought to a pergola.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 11:15AM
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glaswegian(5b, Ont)

Thanks you everyone....really appreciate the feedback and design ideas. If you see my post above, I did mention the Ontario law that requires railings for any deck over 2ft from the ground.

My inspector was not happy about the lack of railing, and even the railing in the pic was notched on which means its wobbly.

The inside of the house (5yrs old ) is solid and no concerns were found inside by the inspector. It was also under my budget ( under 370k )

I am including a couple of more pics of the backyard to give you a more detailed view. There is no one behind me which is good, but am worried about the open at the back ( security for kids when you are inside ), so am putting up a fence right away, as well as the railings

Designonline6....I like that drawing, but with my added pictures, is there anything you will do different now? Also what kind of plants would you have in those 2 beds?

Here are some pics of our house now

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 1:34PM
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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

You stole my heart with all that wonderful subtropical looking foliage !

After getting your safety items in order then the fun can begin with the planning of the landscape and other features.

The way the deck is laid out really emphasizes the fenced in box shape of your property.
When laying out your new landscape , if it were me, I would start to layer in some graceful curving beds with a layered planting of perennials( foreground) shrubs( midground) and a few trees ( background and canopy ).

An overall master plan would help you with phasing and budgeting.
A master plan will give you the 'big picture' but it doesn't get down to the nitty gritty of construction detailing. It is sort of a story board that will help you prioritize your project as a whole.
In your master plan the shape of the landscape is defined and perhaps even some specific varieties of plants are called out. The deck and any augmentations are drafted up too.
All this helps with overall budgeting and staging/ installing the various elements. From May 30, 2012

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 2:09PM
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glaswegian(5b, Ont)

Thank you deviant-deziner :-)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 3:13PM
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This deck obviously came with the house and I detect is not exactly to your taste, mine neither. As well as the safety railing there are a number of out of sight spots for kids, I'm just wondering if it might be best to lob a bit off and have it more plant oriented which does seem to be your taste. Was there once a lake at the bottom of the garden as this reminds me of a pier. I will go out and try to get a picture of a similar local installation where the guy made it into a boat and post it (designonline will tell me how to do that).

If indeed you are an expat Glaswegian welcome and och aye the noo.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 4:17PM
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glaswegian(5b, Ont)

Yes it will come with the house. I am just looking at ways to make it safer so my kids or ourselves don't fall off the deck, and at the same time comfortable for everyone.

I plan to put outdoor wicker furniture similar to the ones below there, to make it an extension of the livingroom

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 5:41PM
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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

If you like that furniture , here is a link to Living Green's website. They used this same style furniture on a roof top deck with some great looking metal planters from Ore Studio.

You might as well have something comfortable to sit on when taking a break after working on the landscape.

Here is a link that might be useful: living green roof top garden

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 11:47PM
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glaswegian(5b, Ont) problem with that mock-up if you look at my additional pics for that backyard. The posts for the pergola can't be lined up like that because the deck is not exactly centered with the patio door.

Also I'll need a permit to attach a beam to the house. I can only only get away with it if the structure is free standing

Please advise

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 5:39PM
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glaswegian(5b, Ont)

Any mock up artist want to put another spin on this?

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 9:52PM
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Brad Edwards

Your deck to me screams railing, I could even see myself tripping while having a glass of wine. I honestly think it would look great to do it with built in seating on the back end/sides because that patio furniture is taking up a lot of space. You could then put a medium 15-20 foot tree, would go evergreen, right behind it on the corner to frame the view from the house and block some of the wind. Hope you have a pretty good sunlight area or greenhouse, just guessing that you'll have to have the tropicals in for some time in Canada. I would then get a small raised fire pit or outdoor heater for the middle and would grow some climbing vine up the railing to shield from cold. That should give you another 2-3 months of outdoor liveable space and privacy.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 1:55AM
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