patio options

grullablue(5)October 3, 2010

We have a partially exposed basement, with a patio door. We have slowly been working on a rec room/game room type thing in the basement area inside, and would like to work on this more this winter. Our big project THIS year has been our deck on our upstairs patio I'd like to consider our project for next year being some sort of patio for this door. It would be nice to have an area to grill out with friends right outside the door of this rec room area, which will be complete with a full sized refrigerator built into the wall....and have a sink, and a bathroom down there, so not much reason to have to go upstairs! I'd love ideas. Seems like patio blocks would be the most expensive route... I have considered the idea of just a concrete patio? Square/rectangle shaped, and plant small shrubs or plantings in a strip between the patio and rock walls, rather than having the patio go right up to the rock walls... anyone with a great eye for this sort of thing have any suggestions?

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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

I have vague memories of seeing earlier photos of your house. I like the way the walls have turned out.

For the shape of the patio, I'd consider something that parallels the stone walls, with the side opposite the house extending in a curve or a point.

You already have gray bricks (house) and predominantly-gray stone (walls). For the patio, I'd either keep to that color scheme, or keep to those materials, or incorporate those materials.

The upper patio and new deck should be connected with a walkway. That would require replacing part of the stone retaining walls with steps (or perhaps wooden stairs over the walls).

I'd also consider a smaller patio for the in-between level, with a bench, birdbath, etc. This would be very simple, probably concrete, and with minimal landscaping. (At large parties, it would be a place for groups on the walkway to pass each other! Although, being smaller and midway between the main outdoor entertaining areas, it would probably end up the most crowded area of all.)

What direction does this side of the house face?

My other reaction to your pictures is "Trees! Trees! Trees!" as soon as you finish the hardscaping. But maybe you have a view of trees.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 12:51PM
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Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening

As far as the shape is concerned an arched curved shape would look nice with the informal look of the boulders. You do have to be careful with cement. It cracks easily and in a short amount of time especially with the colder climates such as Zone 5. You could use an RCA (Recycled Concrete) base to save somewhat on the cost and use a natural stone or perhaps a more informal type of gray tone paver such as a Cambridge Ledgestone. The area definitely does call for an informal look. Also a planting area along the foundation and the boulder wall would soften the hardscape a bit.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 1:52PM
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grinder12000(4 now 5 I guess)

grullablue - I'll post photos of our house which was is like yours. We have those boulder walls and so forth. It'll get you some a good idea.

But . . . . . I'm not sure I can post them with back to back posts! Maybe a "OK" post might help!!


    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 3:05PM
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I add some ideas,you select.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 8:27AM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Plants at the base of the rock wall will obscure the rocks. I'd pave right to the base of the rocks and maybe make the area above them perennials etc.


    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 6:55PM
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Rod, I'd love to see pics!

(sorry, I got me one nasty cold the day after posting this....lasted two weeks!) I agree with the poster who said plantings would cover the rocks....I was afraid of that.... as far as needing trees, right behind where I'm standing to take these pictures is an entire woods! The treeline is right behind me, with a pond....we have lots of trees, but that yard there does look very bare. Ideasshare, I don't know how you did that, but I love what you did! Pretty amazing to be able to picture something without having done it! The curves look nice, the plantings look nice...that was really cool! Gardenthumb, I will go check out your link, thank you!

So concrete is probably not a very good idea then, I guess...but this is why I asked....I appreciate being able to avoid problems perhaps, by learning through others in what worked or hasn't worked for them. I would have to keep an eye on cost, however. Thank you for all of the feedback so far!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 9:05PM
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I forgot to mention, this side of the house faces south.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 9:29AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

this side of the house faces south

Will either or both of the patios get mid-day shade from the woods we can't see?

If not, I hope you'll consider planting a tree to shade at least one of the patios. Is there one you're more likely to want to use during the day, as opposed to the evening?

Glad you're feeling better. There's a nasty, long-lasting cold making the rounds here.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 1:05PM
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Grullablue, how do you feel about wood as patio material? You'd still need stone under the grill, but for lounging on, wood has a really nice, warm character (I'm imagining bean bags lying around etc...). I don't know what it costs in your area, but a custom-made decking is likely to be more expensive than ready-made modules.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 5:24AM
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Nope, no shade. In fact, I had been throwing around some ideas to give us some shade on our deck up above... The trees are back far enough not to give us any shade. I could take a different photo, just to show you the back yard...give you an idea of where the trees are in relation to the house....I'm sure I have some somewhere, but would take less time to just take one! =) The house is all brick, and that brick gets VERY HOT....and stays hot for quite some time after the sun goes down. I swear you could fry an egg on it.... so I'd love to shade the deck with something..... but at the same time.... the east side of the deck faces our horse pasture, where I like to sit and watch the horses.... so I had almost considered some sort of overhang as opposed to plantings. But by then, you practically have a porch! My husband is in construction by he could handle it.

Wood as patio material...not sure. One thing I would like to try to do if possible, is keep it open enough down there to back something up to if need be. If we ever bring furniture in or out, it's convenient to just back a truck (or trailer with a lawn tractor or something) up to that door to move things around). I think I'd like to work with the ground we have, rather than put in another deck down below...if that's kind of what you're thinking?

I see so much potential with our back's just a matter of gathering the ideas, and doing it! But, I figure, I have the winter to figure that out...and plan some goals for next year.


    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 3:33PM
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