Help me design my back patio shape

NWHobartJune 19, 2014

My husband and I are currently building a house and very near the end of construction. We need to have our concrete patios poured in the next few weeks in order to pass final inspection. We haven't really even started thinking about how to landscape other than just mow the grass now and start adding hardscape planters when time and money permits. Keeping that in mind, what shape would you pour the concrete patio off the back of the house?

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I'd like one continuous patio to connect the french doors off the Living Room to the french doors off the Kitchen and would rather not have a giant rectangle.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 2:47PM
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What do you plan to use it for? It will be helpful to know what you want to have on there to know how big you want it. There are lots of options with what you have.

Do you want to fill in just between the covered portion and the doors or do you want to extend it out toward the yard past the covered portion.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 3:36PM
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You should add a picture taken from a central, square-on point of view.

Looks like you're going to need some form of retaining wall.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 6:05PM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

How about a giant exaggerated kidney shape?
I n any event, you need to put in some fill and a wall before pouring concrete. Make sure it's settled and stamp packed before installing concrete.
I live near Hobart, Wa.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 8:08AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

as noted.. until you define a use ... then size can not be defined.. and until that is defined.. shape is kinda not pertinent ...

do you plant on entertaining??? .. how many peeps.. barbies.. chairs .... outdoor bar.. etc ...

otherwise.. a walkway between the doors is good enough ...

in the alternative to walling and raising the grade.. you could add steps down.. and use the current grade ... but not unlike painting.. a good job.. will be 90% prep ...

i have only built two patios... and the best advice i can offer.. is define a size.. and then double it.. and you will still wish you went bigger... lol ..

e.g. 20 odds years ago.. i was going to put in a brick patio ... i dont recall the exact numbers.. but lets say i thought 16 by 16 was perfect .. well.. i took my fire pit.. and the Adirondack chairs i had.. and set them up on the driveway .. along with the barbies.. chalked out the space .... and found out it was the perfect size.. for it all to fit .... but for the fact that there was no room to walk between any of it... lol.. yeah.. kinda a major setback ... so the patio ended up something like 20 by 25 ... a much more USABLE space .. and the cost difference.. was minimal ... mostly just the brick itself ...

i suggest you start your design process with a simple walkway between the doors... offset from the house with any garden beds you want near the house ... and then extend away from the house.. in shape and form.. consistent to how you foresee how you will use it ...

it is probably.. not much different that designing a kitchen space when you incorporate all the work spaces... Appliances .. and a seating areas .. it just outdoors ... so it doesnt have to be all mystical and what not ...

how do you see its usage.. and plan accordingly ...


    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 8:41AM
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looks like you have some level changes there. Maybe a nice, gentle semicircular shape to offset the strong linear shapes of the facade, with some steps or a level change to the side where the guest bedroom.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 9:58AM
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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

I would recommend that you get your architect back on site or hire a landscape architect.
You've got more than just a simple patio on grade to contend with.
A professional will help you through the design process that will be specific to your needs and the context of the site. They will also be able to set the grades, design the shape, meet code compliances, layout the steps and the the retaining stemwalls that are going to be required if you have a stone or poured in place patio.

To my minds eye I might suggest you have two different levels like the photo below.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 11:29AM
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that is lovely! do that!

it kind of amazes me, and no offense to the OP here, that people put so much thought into every little detail of a home, but consider the landscaping as an afterthought. To me, a "useable outdoor space" -- whatever that means to you -- is an essential component of a dwelling.

Now, you say you are required to have the concrete poured in order to pass inspection. What is the requirement? You must have concrete there?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 12:02PM
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A major consideration in my mind is the relationship between outdoor and indoor floor. it seems much more luxurious if, instead of steps, the floor extends at the same level. (There would be a couple of inches difference for drainage purposes.) In use, I've always found it annoying to go up and down steps right at the entrance ... as when barbecuing and carrying things, etc. A single step with a generous tread would be acceptable, but none at all is even better. Being as you have two sets of doors to link up, it makes sense to do it with a single level. Other levels, if desired, could be farther away from the doors.

NWHobart, did you leave the thread?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 1:28PM
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I'm still here, just working on the house all weekend.

Thank you for taking the time to respond. I agree that more thought should be put into this. However, please keep in mind that my husband and I are GC'ing our own build, both working full time (in the construction industry), shuttling around 2 kids to school, sports, etc... it has essentially slipped our priorities since it doesn't HAVE to be done to get Certificate of Occupancy.

The requirement for final inspection is a 36"X36" landing at each exterior door no more than 6" below the door threshold. What I may end up doing is pouring a rat slab for each exterior door off the back of the house until I can think about it some more. You have all provided some valuable feedback.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 5:26PM
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If all you need to get by is a 36" x 36" landing, the thing to do would be build a "throw-away" wood landing, since it is easy to place at any height you want, cheap, and easy to get out of the way when the times comes. I wouldn't even use concrete for the posts.

You could go as slow with the thread as your schedule necessitates, but in order to proceed, you'd need to provide some of the information asked for.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 9:01AM
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