Need Help Landscaping a very small yard

Rekha Anandkumar(9)December 1, 2005

Hello everyone,

I am a new homeowner and new to landscaping. We need to landscape our tiny backyard. Right now the layout is something like this:

The length of the plot on which the house sits is 50'. The house takes up most of it leaving 6' on one side and 4' on another side. On the back, there is a 8.75' by 26.75 ft (along the house) covered patio. 5' of this is concrete and the rest is brick. The next 5' is gravel with flagstone paths. Then comes an edging (metal) and some kind of metal wire arch fence about 2' high. Then there is a bed of sorts for the nect 3-4' to the fence. There are some banana trees and oleander, some vines. There is a similar bed touching the house on the other side next to the patio.

This is the setup with which we bought the house. Now, I feel that since the small space has been divided into so many tiny spaces, it looks really small. I would like to do the following:

Make the patio floor unified, lay tile (after removing the brick and pouring a concrete slab) on the concrete, place edging along the fence and extend the gravel to the fence leaving space around the plants with bender boards?, pland some colorful foliage plants (BTW, the whole backyard is shady from the house on one side and tall trees in the barn behind us), maybe place a focal point in a distant part of the yard and have some lighting.

I am looking for advice, on my idea,, budget etc. I am seeking all advice, please help.

How do I post pictures?


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saypoint(6b CT)

If you don't have a digital camera, you can have your pictures put on a CD when you have your film developed. Go to or one of the many other photo-hosting websites, and open a (free) account. Upload your pictures from your computer to the website. Then you can either copy and paste the URL where your picture is stored online in the "optional link url" box that appears when you "preview" your messages here, or copy and paste the "Tag" right into your post here on the forum to make the picture appear in the message without needing to click on a link to see it. (You'll see what I mean by that if you put your pictures on Photobucket, there's a "tag" box under the picture after you upload it).

    Bookmark   December 1, 2005 at 8:38PM
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Rekha Anandkumar(9)

Thank you, I do have a camera, will take and post some pictures this afternoon, Thanks for your help!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 12:04PM
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Rekha Anandkumar(9)

Here are some pictures, Hope you can help me...Thanks!

Backyard View 1

Backyard View 2

Backyard View 3

Bed Along the House

One Side

Another Side

Straight View

Patio Floor


    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 1:51PM
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"extend the gravel to the fence leaving space around the plants with bender boards"

I wouldn't do this. It gets you into the situation of having a Bunch Of Little Beds, making visual clutter that would replace the visual clutter you'd be removing by unifying the patio. As well, I think it's a lot of maintenance work. (At least it's a lot more work if you hand-weed like I do - weeding edges is always more work, and more small beds means more edge.) And I find bender board unattractive. And the gravel (presumably over landscape fabric or something?) would mean that you'd be unable to improve most of your soil, and eventually weeds would sprout through landscape fabric and gravel and be a nightmare to remove...

If the planted strip is wide enough for you, I'd instead replace the metal edging with a line of flat stone/brick to hold in the gravel, and remove the little wire fence. I'd fill the bare dirt under the larger plants with smaller plants, ground covers, etc.

If the property were mine, the strip wouldn't be wide enough, because I always want more plants. :) I'd probably remove all of the gravel and stepstones along the length of the patio, to make a deeper bed, and redirect the path so that you walk along the patio instead. After a while, when that bed was full and I wanted more garden to play with, I'd probably remove all the remaining gravel and plant ground covers between the remaining stepstones.


    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 8:31PM
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I am strictly an amature, and feel a risk sticking my neck out here... but maybe we will both learn from the critique or ideas of others. (Since I was not selected as the winner of a free trip to the Rosemary Verry design school when I bought her book last year, we are both limited by my ignorance!)

I can "see" a couple ideas in your yard that I am also toying with in my own. I am trying to create the illusion of greater depth in my shallow backyard. A similar approach might work for you?

I agree that the number of materials is rather busy, but maybe they just need rearranging. COnsider the space for a minute with only the patio and the planting bed, without the cobbles or gravel. You could extend the patio out in a couple of places toward the fence, so that you have large, square planting beds between, maybe even from one post to the next in size. I'd remove all the other hardscape so you have just the patio and the beds. From above, I guess that would give the planting beds a sort of capital "E" shape??? Put one big planter in each of the squares and then you can plant within it with a shrub or small tree and smaller cascading plants, and plant around it with upright plants, too. I'd mix in edibles and herbs to make it both pretty and tasty.

You could take those nice flagstones (or substitute in the correct name for it) and group them to form a corner sitting area beyond the patio with a little cafe table for a place to enjoy a spot of sunshine... or could it be the "floor" for a bubbling urn type of water feature? The cobbles could be repurposed to that very narrow side yard which seems to be more of a utilitarian passage from front yard to back, if there are enough. The planting space along the fence in that passage way would look great with climbers or espaliered plants, though I couldn't hazard a guess as to what would work in your climate.

So, now I await instruction, along with you, from the masters!


    Bookmark   December 3, 2005 at 12:17AM
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karinl(BC Z8)

'Nother amateur checking in I'm afraid!

I've reread your original post several times and remain unclear as to what you want from this yard. The last two contributions are from people who, like me, assume that more plants is better and that space for plants is the point of a backyard... I hear that not everyone is like that.

Do you want a big patio? Do you want any plants at all? Are all those containers yours, or left from previous owner, and do you want to keep that?

Overall, if it fits your needs, I think your basic plan is fine except that I too have kind of an aversion to gravel and wouldn't put any more down; I might even take out what's there. Is grass an option? (Mind you, in a recent post, Baurii described putting down river rock as kind of like getting married... you want to be really really sure - in other words, getting rid of it wouldn't be easy!)

The overall layout has only the flaw that it is too obvious somehow; there may be a completely different shape of bed that works better. It is not a given that beds must be along the fence; they can be perpendicular or triangular or whatever you want.

As for focal point, if you clear away a portion of the bed against the fence a nice wall fountain or something, if it is your style, would work...

I have narrow passages like your side yards on both sides of my garage and I've made both of them my container galleries, with some vines. That way I can enjoy the shape of the container and the plants themselves, and the planting is controlled enough in width that the passage stays clear.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2005 at 2:19AM
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Rekha Anandkumar(9)

I do like plants, but my yard is so shady even weeds dont thrive here. I dont have any problems with weeds in the existing gravel, Burnet, nor is the soil great, its like trying to dig through rock. I have decent amount of space in the front where I am trying to grow a whole bunch of plants.
The brick idea is great, I agree with you on the bender board, maybe I can raise it a bit too and put in some shade loving plants.
zenzone, I do like the bubbling urn idea, can i just park the planters on the gravel instead of making the patio in and E shape? I dont want a complicated concrete job on my hands, my husband will not be happy! I was thinking that the flagstones would lead up to a small bench with a water feature on the far right side of the yard.

KarinL, the containers are all mine, I love plants, I have planted roses, jasmine, azelas etc in the front where i get sun. The backyard is a challenge. I would like a lush planting, but I was thinking of actulally reducing the planting bed size in the middle of the yard where the sunlight is hopeless and concetrate on the left side, place a bench, water feature etc on the right side of the yard (under those trees, again not enough light for plants).

You are right is saying that the layout is obvious, I am not able to come up with anything else. I do want the patio to be atleast the size it is. Grass is not an option as of now and I doubt it would grow well in the dark corners of the yard. My husband and I do like the gravel. I was thinking of breaking up the gravel with interesting containers (I can move them around to get some sun, I do that with the existing ones)
What do I want from this yard: 1. Right now, it looks smaller than it really is, I want to make it look as spacious as possible
I want whatever beds that are there, not necessarily too many -quality opposed to quantity, to be lush and inviting.
I want the whole yard to have a cohesive and planned look, instead of the haphazard look it now has.

You all have given me something to think about, please do let me in on the ideas you have!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2005 at 9:58AM
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cantstopgardening(Zone 4/5 WI)

Larger containers, about twice the size at least! :-)

And look in the gallery at Michelle's (mich in zone denial)posts of her own gardens. She is a an incredibly talented designer, who has a very lush tropical small yard in California.

Between the fire ants and caliche soil, surfaces other than grass would definitely be my choice for your yard!

Just another amatuer

    Bookmark   December 3, 2005 at 10:36AM
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This is just the type of project that any talented landscape designer would love to get their teeth into.
There are so many possibilities and challenges that the final outcome could really be a sensational place to enjoy your outdoor time.

You need to start thinking about your budget.
Parts of the design layout and installation will be dictated by this.

The additonal extension of the hardscape area ( your concrete patio) appears to be proportionate to your house and needs ( I note the dining table and the kids pool hanging on the fence )
But do not limit yourself to the existing size and shape of concrete slab that you have now.

Think outside the box.

Your slab is in great shape and you have adequate distance between the concrete slab and your door sill to add a tile or stone veneer.
When you start thinking about the additional patio space and shape think of how it can do double duty for you due to your narrow space, ie: integrate the patio area as part of the walkway and vice versa.

Your area is narrow and flat and your soil sucks.
Consider bringing up the soil level by incorporating built in planter boxes ( stone , stucco, wood or a combination of materials that works with your architecture ) that speaks to the new hardscape.

As an example, say you veneer over your concrete patio with a terra cotta satillo tile . Consider capping your raised beds with a bullnose satillo tile .

If you are drawing a blank at this stage of the design process it may be benficial to start interviewing talented landscape designers who can collaborate with you on this valuable lifestyle / financial / home investment.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2005 at 2:23PM
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When I first looked at your pictures I knew that the soil was poor. Texas soils a very apt to have too much of one thing or another. It would be wise to have a soil test done by your local extention office and ask for their suggestions to improve the soil before planting more in the ground. Large container growing is probably the best answer. There are many plants which will grow in containers in shade. Such as...a low large planter planted with variegated mondo grass, check out the many types of evergreen ferns, also both the green and variegated forms of holly ferns make lush container plants, Nandina, the various ivies trained into topiaries, fibrous begonias, Fatsia, Japanese aucuba, azaleas, impatiens, Coleus to name a few.

You seem to be formulating a plan. It looks as though there is poor air circulation due to the fencing. The thought occurs that you might want to see if an electrician could install two ceiling fans under the porch roof which would make outdoor seating more comfortable in the heat. Where you like plants you should think of the fences as an excellent background against which to feature eye popping container combinations, perhaps with an emphasis on large ivy topiaries. Perfect spot for them. If you need help in how to grow them contact me. Please have a garage sale and get rid of all the little pots, saving the very attractive ones to hang on the fences.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2005 at 2:42PM
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"its like trying to dig through rock"

I wonder if that's why both the plants and the weeds struggle, rather than the shade? Given the amount of light that I see in your photos, I'm inclined to suspect the soil - I have more greenery in spots in my garden that, I think, get less light. (It's hard to judge, but your photos show actual shadows! That would be a lot of light in my shady spots. :))

So even if you don't expand the beds - in fact, even if you shrink them - I'd improve the soil in the beds that you do retain. In fact, I'd probably remove it altogether down to....I'm not sure how far (did I mention I'm an amateur, too?) but at least several inches, and replace it with good stuff. Or you could do some research on the whole lasagna planting concept, where you're supposed to be able to improve your soil from above. I don't know if that works with really bad concrete-like soil, though.

Or you could build a big raised bed on top of the planting strip. Or you could pave all the way to the fence and line up a row of _huge_ pots. I think that I might like that best, when I picture it - several huge pots, all with the same simple, dramatic shape. Maybe terracotta. Maybe some intense solid color.

With the light that I see in the photos, and with improved soil, I'd think that you could get a lush look with shade plants.

Where you already have containers, I agree with others that bigger containers would be better - I think that you could put several plants into a huge pot, instead of several smaller pots with one plant each, and get a cleaner, lusher, and more dramatic look.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2005 at 6:14PM
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Rekha Anandkumar(9)

cantstopgardening, the tiny pots are a legacy from my apartment life, I was looking for larger planters, then decided that I want to put in the larger elements first and see what goes with it. I will look at Michelle's gallery, where would i find it?
Michelle, I was thinking about tiling over the concete with tile, with texture and variation in colors to add interest. The thought of complementing the material for the planter beds had not occured to me, that is an excellent idea. Budget is a big issue, but If i get a plan that I am happy ith, I would progress with the implementation slowly as and when money is available. We are not looking to spend a lot of money, I quit my job when I moved from NY to HOu and have not been able to find a job here yet (i am a civil engineer). On the other hand because the area I am working with is small, I am thinking that it would be possible to build what I want slowly.
What would a professional charge me for a design? I have no idea about these things...
Nandina, yes, we were thinking about getting a fan and some lighting installed, we only have one light near the door and the whole place is pretty dark at nght.
I like the idea of container gardening as you can controll several variables, but would like to combine them with some beds
Burnet, the idea of large lush containers apeals to me..especailly if they add some color and strong architectural shape.
I guess i do have to get the soil tested.
I need color and flow in the garden...its tougher than i thought:)

    Bookmark   December 4, 2005 at 12:04PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

The part of the question that I keep coming back to is the shape of the patio. Seems to me that dictates the shape of the beds, location/shape of containers, and so on. There is so much personal taste involved that you are best off to do this yourself. I would be playing with circles, hexagons, star-shapes, and even triangles or the E mentioned earlier. We have a bell-shaped patio in our yard that is basically a circle overlaid on a rectangle; the options really depend on your preferences and your usage patterns as well as the yard shape. You can also bring the patio out to encircle planting areas.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2005 at 2:56PM
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littlebug5(z5 MO)

Me! Me! I'm an amateur too! Here's my first impression: The first several pictures of the patio and the walkway beside it -- those two things seem redundant to me. Do you HAVE to have the walkway there? If you want to walk along there, wouldn't you walk on the patio? I'd take out that walkway and make it all planting bed. That would solve the "too many textures in a small space" concern.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2005 at 11:32AM
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cantstopgardening(Zone 4/5 WI)

"I will look at Michelle's gallery, where would I find it?"

the gallery on this forum, so back out of this discussion, scoll up to the top of the list of discussions, and you'll see 'switch to: Gallery' or something like that. Lots of inspiring photos in there.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2005 at 1:50PM
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Brent_In_NoVA(z7/6 VA)

Yet another amateur here...with no experience with Texas or gardening in such a small space.

The thing that stuck out from me when looking at your photos is the roof over your patio. It really seems to give me a claustrophobic feeling (at least in the pictures). It also seems to reinforce the feeling that "THIS is my patio and THAT is my yard". I understand that shade is probably a nice thing Houston, but I would like to see something taller and more open. Maybe with a retractable cover that could be used when it is raining. I cannot imagine that the view out those back windows is very exciting.

Others have given lots of good ideas. My suggestion would be to sketch out your yard on a piece of graph paper. Sketch in the house and the property line but treat the rest as a blank slate. How could this yard be better used if the patio was not there? Could you create a small child's play area in one corner? What if there were plants along the house and a pergola over in the corner? What would make this a more usable and inviting space?

- Brent

    Bookmark   December 5, 2005 at 5:08PM
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Rekha Anandkumar(9)

Thank you cantstopgardening, I found the pictures, they are great.

Brent, I will sketch the design on paper , maybe come up with a few alternatives...I do like the covered patio, was planning on adding a ceiling fan to make it more comfortable to use. I want to use it for grilling, having breakfast etc. I would try to blend them together with plants in containers

KarinL, I would keep the patio rectangular, but would play with the shapes of the planting beds

How about

littlebug5, I am not sure about such a deep planting bed (it would be about 9', in a place and soil where plants dont thrive, it would solve the too many materials problem though

How about raised beds (with material tying into the patio or the house), curved, larger in places where the yard gets more sun and more shallow where it does not? I am also looking for suggestions on colorful plants that will do good in part shade and not too fussy about the soil.

I read that in a small place everything should not be visible at once, any idea on how to achieve that? Maybe hanging baskets blocking one side?

    Bookmark   December 6, 2005 at 1:36AM
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leslie197(z5 MI)

Crekha, to make areas not visible all at once is not as hard as it sounds (or at least not as hard as making sense of this sentence). You can reverse heights, plant tall in front. A close plant/shrub/tree blocks way more line of sight than one farther away. You can make paths that disappear into nothingness. Curve them around a plant/hardscape so they seem to go on when they don't. You can zig-zag your paths so they seem longer (again hiding views with a plantings or literally a screen). Make "Y" paths - two directional paths create a sense of many options. Create a secret garden at the end of a path and within it place a single chair or bench or child's playhouse - whatever you want or need. A path to a destination, however small, always brings a sense of accomplishment. Also sometimes you can borrow your neighbors plantings. Something else you can do is to plant overhead and let the plantings drip down to frame a view out into an area. To give you an idea of what I am talking about, here are some pictures of my backyard which is actually very small.

From the patio looking out under Crab Apple Tree into the backyard

Path looking a bit shaggy (late summer) but you can get the idea - beyond the bend the path becomes gravel and leads to a small wet garden and the grass path just opens into the main part of the yard.

All the big stuff is in my neighbor's yards

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 10:25PM
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Rekha Anandkumar(9)

Wow! great pictures and great ideas...thanks leslie. All your pointers on screeing parts of the yard hit the mark. you garden looks awesome.

i think Karin is right, the overall design is too obvious. I was shying away from curves and complicated design thinking that it will make the small space look 'busy', but i am not sure of that anymore. curved beds and curved paths may make the garden look more spacious.

thanks everyone...back to the drawing board

    Bookmark   December 16, 2005 at 3:55PM
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saypoint(6b CT)

I've seen the illusion of more space created in a small garden by installing an arbor that appears to lead somewhere, even though it doesn't. It can be backed up by a shallow hedge, or in the case of your fence, you can mirror the fence so it looks like the space continues on to the other side, with plants hanging down a bit to partially obscure the mirror.

A trellis that forces perspective can be effective, too. Do a search on "trompe l'oeil trellis" for ideas.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2005 at 5:28PM
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ElJeffedePanama(z13 Panama)

I would agree with Brent in NoVA - the roof of the patio presents a problem. What if you removed the middle section and added a pergola? That would add some more light, and still give you a place out of the elements. You could either extend the pergola into the existing garden, or bust out part of the patio to draw the garden into the patio. Or draw the center portion of the patio out into the garden area with a pergola overhead. I'd also agree with the previous suggestions about the walkway being redundant. With a seating area extending into the garden, the part of the patio closest to the house remains open for walking.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2005 at 7:24PM
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I would suggest 2 things, and I'm by no means an expert, but have almost the exact same yard dimensions. I think my back yard is a little bit wider though. Just enough for a small deck where your patio is.

1. Brake up the rectangular composition by removing the metal edging and the hard dividing line its creating. I'd replace with a rubber strip and then hide it behind stone or sink it for a seamless transition.
2. Add some elevation in the beds by putting in berms and clean them up some. It literally looks like a junge in there and could get out of hand easily. Maybe throw a small pine in there to mix things up.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2005 at 6:03PM
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violet_sky(z8 Portland OR)

Here's a simple idea to clean things up a bit...

    Bookmark   December 31, 2005 at 8:35PM
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violet_sky(z8 Portland OR)

    Bookmark   January 1, 2006 at 1:40AM
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Violet Sky,
That looks so great! What program did you use to overlay images onto the photo like that?

    Bookmark   January 1, 2006 at 11:52PM
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violet_sky(z8 Portland OR)

My yard is a mess so I requested this software program for Christmas to help w/ ideas. It hasn't helped me come up with anything but it sure is fun to use! [Why is it always easier to look at someone else's yard and "know" what to do? lol]

Anyway you can check out the link at the bottom of the page, I've been using Realtime Landscaping Photo. It's not too expensive, only $40 [you can spend up to $2000+ for professional software. Yikes!] I'd love to see some other "designers" [I'm just an amateur hack] throw their visual ideas up here... =)


PS: Glad you think it looks great!

Here is a link that might be useful: Realtime Landscaping Photo

    Bookmark   January 2, 2006 at 8:10PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

It does look appealing although it looks brutally hot even for my climate, and might be unbearable in Houston. What it does that is very useful, however, is confirm Brent's observation and ElJeffe's that the roof constrains what can be envisioned for the space - I thought it was the patio, but the patio just mirrors the roof, and there are limited patio options under that shape of roof.

I don't think I fully appreciated just how limiting that roof was until I "saw" it taken off.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2006 at 10:27PM
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violet_sky(z8 Portland OR)

I guess it could look "warm"... however I'm a heat junkie [and living in the wrong climate!] so it wouldn't bother me. [Hey I added an umbrella over the table and chairs for 'em!] ;^) However I wonder if I changed the color of the patio if it would look "cooler"? I personally like the warm color the patio, because the house and fence are sort of a grey I thought it would warm up the look.

Anyway I think between the existing mixed paving materials and the patio it breaks the space up too much. Even if they opted to keep the overhang, I'd push the patio out to the beds in a single paving material. If they don't keep the overhang I think this space would still be cool enough because of all the trees that shade their yard. "BTW, the whole backyard is shady from the house on one side and tall trees in the barn behind us".


    Bookmark   January 3, 2006 at 1:03AM
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Rekha Anandkumar(9)

Wow! The pictures look have given us lot to think about Violet Sky..though now, with all the leaves off the trees and the temperatures high, we get a lot of sun in the back all morning. I love the little gate seperating the patio area, btw, what is the tree in the blue pot?

V, i like the mirror idea...actually, my house has huge built in mirrors that make it look very open
ElJeffedePanama, have to think about the roof have given me several options..drawing the garden into the patio is an interesting thought
tobydmv, you have exactly outlined what I was thinking of doing, the metal strip is visually obstructing, that has to go
Any suggestions for the patio floor material?

    Bookmark   January 3, 2006 at 10:53PM
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violet_sky(z8 Portland OR)

It's a Cherry Plum Tree - Prunus Cerasifera. Not sure what zone you are but they do well in Z 5-8; see link for plant info and a real picture.

Also thought I'd humor Karin and try to make it look "cooler" w/out adding the porch back in... =)

Here is a link that might be useful: Cherry Plum Tree - Prunus Cerasifera

    Bookmark   January 4, 2006 at 1:12PM
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Rekha Anandkumar(9)

Oh, I am in zone 9 i think,..
I like warm colors, though the cooler color goes with the color of the house which is grey.
One question though...i know most of you dont like the roof, but the covered patio was what made my husband buy the house in the first place...will this design work if i left the roof in place?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2006 at 1:26PM
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kmickleson(z9 CA)

will this design work if i left the roof in place?

Oh dear. Another marriage/design conundrum ;^( The very thing which made me go "Ahhh" when I saw Violet's initial renditions was how the combo of eliminating the roof with paving the whole area in one medium created an open, airy feeling. Hmmm. Perhaps you could save for a retractable awning?


    Bookmark   January 4, 2006 at 6:20PM
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violet_sky(z8 Portland OR)

Okay - so here it is with the roof back on... I don't think it works quite as well...

[By the way Zenzone, it was a quicky Photoshop job - the software you ordered won't be able to do that... sorry!]

    Bookmark   January 6, 2006 at 12:23AM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

Ok--The roof needs to STAY. Both for the DH's sake and to make the space usable in a hot climate.

One of you photoshop wizards needs to ENLARGE the beds and bring the paving back to a few inches OUTSIDE the roof. See how that looks...


    Bookmark   January 6, 2006 at 8:41AM
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violet_sky(z8 Portland OR)

They could extend the patio roof line to the existing bed, which would keep a more open feel [otherwise we're back to chopping a long yard in half lengthwise again], everyone would be in the shade and hubby would be happy!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2006 at 12:52PM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

This is true!

I thought (mistakenly?) that the poster wanted more planting space. Probably projecting. I NEVER feel like I have enough beds!


    Bookmark   January 6, 2006 at 5:50PM
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Rekha Anandkumar(9)

It does look different with the roof on, though better than what I have now.
More planting space is good, though I am leaning towards containers. I would have some plants that tolerate the soil in the ground with additional pantings in containers?
The paving/roof/planting beds combination seems to be endless, I guess I need to either invest in a software or start sketching...

    Bookmark   January 6, 2006 at 11:26PM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)


Were it me, I'd start sketching. The learning curve is smaller! ;~P

melanie/can't get the hang of photoshop for love or money

    Bookmark   January 7, 2006 at 12:44PM
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lpinkmountain(5b/6a border PA)

Violet you've been so helpful to me on this thread! Pictures help me so much to envision things! I've been following this because I too have a hot, tiny yard.
Crekha, I think Violet is on to something by extending the patio beyond the roof. Envisioning two spaces instead of three separate ones. So the brick from the patio melds with the path along the garden and out. That would make it look larger simply because it wasn't chopped up into three separate surfaces. Also loved the idea of a low fence with a gate to add two separate "rooms." And the use of the big pots with big plants instead of the little ones. Put your little pots on an outdoor etagier.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2006 at 1:51PM
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Brent_In_NoVA(z7/6 VA)

We can at least thank the awning salesman for bumping this one back to the top. I think that I missed the renderings the first time. They are pretty good and very helpful for visioning some possible solutions. On the very first picture on this page you can see how the brick strip forces the homeowner to jam the table right up against the house. Unifying the surface opens up a lot of possibilities.

- Brent

    Bookmark   February 27, 2006 at 12:56PM
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Rekha Anandkumar(9)

Hmm...I never thought about the problem of the table against the house, makes a lot of sense. Yes, the little pots will go, will use large planters. Also love the partition idea, will be incorporating that too, in addition to unifying the sufraces.

We hope to start working on the backyard after Mar 11th ( I am taking an exam on that day), have been collecting ideas from you guys so far to come up with a cohesive look....needless to say, more suggestions are welcome

    Bookmark   February 28, 2006 at 1:53PM
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vicki_ca(Sunset 14, US9)

Crekha - Your small lawn thread reminded me of this one. The suggestions made here by VioletSky and others are among the best I have seen at gardenweb... better than those Curb Appeal folks typically do on HGTV.

after you implement the suggestions, I'd love to see how it turns out. Please post more pictures in the future.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 2:01PM
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Rekha Anandkumar(9)

Defnitely! I will post pictures, although we seem to work at a snail pace! Everything takes longer than I thought..We are incorporating many suggestions from this thread, infact even the small lawn is based on suggsestion from seveal posts on this guys are awesome!
we are designing as we work...or rather, modifying the design as we go, lets see how it turns out

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 10:50PM
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