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Need budget friendly plan for back yard.

Posted by bowdavis2 Central Ohio (My Page) on
Wed, Feb 26, 14 at 22:55

After remodeling the interior of our home we need budget friendly suggestions for our backyard. We want some type of hard scape outside the new patio door on the right and it needs to relate to the covered patio. We prefer something informal that related to our woodsy back yard. The back of our house is to the north west. It is in shade all day except for early morning.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Need budget friendly plan for back yard.

Here is another photo looking south.


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RE: Need budget friendly plan for back yard.

Another photo that shows all our trees. We did have a couple taken out after this pre remodel picture was taken, but still have 7 or 8 trees over 100 ft tall. And our neighbors have just as many. We love the shade. In the heat of the summer it is at least 20 degrees cooler in the back yard than it is in the front. All the shade does provide a challenge for both lawn and plantings.


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RE: Need budget friendly plan for back yard.

Hope you like my designing.


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RE: Need budget friendly plan for back yard.

Yes we live in Hosta heaven and we have lots of them in berms around our trees. Wish I had the ability to use your design program. The pergola is pretty fancy for us and we do not need the shade. Probably would prefer a deck or patio and plantings.


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I agree to add a deck.


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I can't post a patio pic.may I offend.I can't use "Yin49' again.


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Wanted to say WOW. Looking forward to seeing the ideas others put forth for this project.


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You mentioned budget friendly. When my husband and I were young, we built a patio in our front yard so we could sit out there and watch the kids playing with the neighbor kids.

We laid out 2 x 4's in our desired shape, filled the form with sand, leveled it and laid bricks over it. We then swept sand between the bricks. It was a cheap and easy solution, and it looked great and served our purposes.

I don't know how long it lasted because we moved away years ago, but it was a cheap solution for us.

Suzi


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Like the deck posted, but it is too large. We have our table under the covered patio so do not need room for it on this patio. We like the stepping stone idea, going to the right and around the edge of the house. We also need them out to the tree with the mulch around it in front of the new patio door where we have a much used deep red glazed ceramic bird bath (hence the red doors on the covered porch:)

Another concern is moss or mold growing on a deck. We have had a redwood deck before and are familiar with cedar and pressure treated wood decks. We prefer not to use these because of the constant staining and upkeep.
Research has told us that composite decking has a bad problem with mold and moss especially in moist shade with little to no sunshine. FYI that is green moss going about 6 or 8 feet out from the house in the photos, not grass.
We recently learned that PVC decking would not have that problem but have not researched it. Is anyone familiar with it?

Another option would be a smaller raised patio with pavers just a step down from the new patio door and steps down to the lawn and pavers. Maybe 8x10 or so, and with some curves. Just room for a couple of chairs and flower pots plus access to the yard. Our neighbors recommend the stone. They say all you need to do is power wash them occasionally.

A screen of some kind needs to hide the edge of the grill and the faucet and hoses.
We are really looking for more great comments. We love brainstorming.


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What is the mosquito situation like in your backyard? We have a shady backyard too - although with fewer big trees than in you picture (how big is your property?). Our shady,cool backyard is my favourite part of our garden. BUT the mosquito population is so bad out there in the evenings that we've largely given up on using the patio for outdoor dining or sitting! We use the back porch for lounging (and dining - although we prefer to dine indoors to avoid the risk of West Nile Virus with dinner...!). Our porch is not screened but is elevated, which seems to reduce the mosquito population hanging out there. If your mosquito situation is similar , I'd probably go with something relatively small and functional to link the new door to the covered porch and then focus on making the backyard garden interesting to view from the house and covered porch. So I'd probably just make a paver patio/path running along the back of the house from the door to the covered patio, wide enough to give a comfortable landing from the steps down (consider a small raised landing as wide as the patio door and at least 4' deep with steps leading down off the side facing the covered patio). Our back porch floor is plywood with a glue-on vinyl covering. It has never molded. We scrub it down/power wash it in spring. It's 15 years old now and still looks good. I'll switch computers later and add a picture of it.... Edit:.... I was asleep at the switch when I thought our porch deck covering would work! Since our porch has a roof over it, the floor covering never gets rained on so stays drier; hence the no-mold status. I can't think of anything that will survive exposure to rain and shade and not mold, grow moss, and/or stain. Something that can stand up to regular power washing is probably best - e.g. concrete or pavers.

I've attached a link to the backyard page of the on-line version of my garden maintenance manual. Maybe it might interest you to see how I deal with a shady backyard.

Here is a link that might be useful: Backyard

This post was edited by woodyoak on Thu, Feb 27, 14 at 14:03


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I can't match third your pic.may you post more pics to help me.


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I found one more picture and will look for more. If not it will be tomorrow before I can take some.


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I think I used this one before


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Woodsy oak: We do have mosquitoes but they are not too bad on the covered patio. We did buy large outdoor ceiling fan that will be installed in the ceiling which should help. And we use citronella candles and torches. If it gets too, bad we just go inside. We may in the future, if they get the best of us, screen in the covered area. Thanks for the link.. I will study it.

A landscaped area with a smaller landing and steps is certainly a consideration. And I am liking the idea of some type of walkways similar to what is shown in the latest photoshopped post.

Thanks again folks, let's keep brainstorming.


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RE: Need budget friendly plan for back yard.

  • Posted by SC77 6b (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 27, 14 at 22:55

I had to stare at this one for a while before I figured out what to do about that space in front of the window...It sort of becomes no man's land when you add a second "patio"...

Since you are on a budget and already have outdoor entertaining space, i'd keep it simple. Nice rustic stone slab steps, rock border and some shade loving plants. I see that you have a good amount of Hosta...but there are many more colorful options for shade as well. Not sure what your zone is, assuming it is borderline 5/6...Here are some other plants to consider:

* Aucuba japonica 'Gold Dust' (loves shade)
* Japanese Maple (Any cultivar)
* Kousa Dogwood (get Asian variety, other prone to disease)
* Japanese kerria
* Boxwood (Varieties for all situations). I am displaying the cultivar called Buxus sempervirens 'Dee Runk' to the left of the new patio
* Japanese Plum Yew
* Taxus yew
* rhododendron
* mountain laural

There are many more depending on your specific needs, but the point is...don't feel restricted to only greens just because your yard has shade.


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RE: Need budget friendly plan for back yard.

Love the stone steps and the circle of rocks with the planting hiding the faucet and hoses and the BBQ. What plant is in the circle of rock? And can you buy one large enough to be effective or would it take years to become the sized needed?
And thanks for the plant list. I will look into them.
I think I would need to be able to access the covered porch from the new steps but think that could happen behind the planting in the rock circle.

My retired husband who is a carpenter by hobby (he has a fantastic shop, lots of tools, and even makes furniture) says it would be easy for him to build the cascading steps? He says he would use composite or PVC decking. What do you guys think? Hubby says the power washer will work to keep the moss abated. I am still worried about that, but the option of free labor is really tempting :). Then I would have more $ for the flora.

I am loving this brainstorming and am learning so much in the process. Thanks for all your ideas!,


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Wonder if you've considered a small covering over the new door. This would allow doors to be opened even during rain. The cover could imitate the roof line of your covered porch.


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That is something we have discussed and would love to incorporate. This is another photoshop opportunity :),


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  • Posted by SC77 6b (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 28, 14 at 11:58

I agree with Rosie about the covering, but since this project was on a budget I left it out. Not only will it be functional, but also add balance to that side of the house... I'll add it to the image later.

Others can chime in, but you will never be able to achieve the rustic look you are going for with PVC... You really should focus your budget on getting slab stone here. It will last forever, and as your neighbor said wisely, can be power washed when (and it will) starts to gather moss in your shady backyard. I know these plastics have improved over the years, but it won't look natural and will most likely green/discolor over time.

The shrub in front of the window is Japanese pieris 'Silver Flame'. On a budget you wouldn't be able to get something that size for less than a few hundred bucks. I'd recommend buying small, maybe $50 specimen that will be around 2ftx2ft and let it adapt and fill out. Large specimen transplants never do as well anyways...

I was thinking that changing where you exit the covered patio might work well. Divide up that mulch area with plantings on each side. You could do some sort of flagstone step bath... Rough sketch...


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Here is another photo to work with....


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And another


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One more


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What I said are some pics from other viewpoint,such as from the porch.


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RE: Need budget friendly plan for back yard.

  • Posted by SC77 6b (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 28, 14 at 23:04

Here is how I was thinking you could connect the covered patio with the new stairs... as a bonus, it gives you a larger planting area.

I tested out some different porch overhangs, but they didn't look right on your house... not sure that will work, maybe others have ideas on that.


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Wow, you are really talented. What program do you use?
Are those blue hydrangea? Do you think our clay soil will work for them and the pieris?

It seems your drawings are getting less woodsy and more traditional or formal. Maybe it is just the walkway. Or maybe the formal look of the foliage.

I do like the idea of the walkway but maybe just stepping stones (a wandering flagstone look.). And I like the idea of bringing the foliage out into the lawn. The curve of the walkway is a good balance for the angular lines of the house.


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I live in PNW and this is my recreation property back and front yard. I havent spent much $$ to do this. These photos can give you some idea. Please suggest if I can improve some of the stuff.

Again it is on budget. Feel free to comment. This is work in progress.


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hvp, suggest you start a new, separate post for this.


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Ok, now maybe we can get back to business. Here is another photo. Since the area between the covered patio and proposed new landing and steps is in full shade, abet maybe reflected light part of the day, what can I plant that will add color, especially fall color and that will grow 3.5 to 6 feet tall to cover the water hydrant and hose and also shield the BBQ? (How's that for a sentence :? The soil is clay under a raised mulch bed in part of the area. The water hydrant does not show in this photo but shows in previous photos. It is under the small window. We are still debating the landing and steps out the new patio door...wood vs stone. The flagstone or manufactured flagstone walkways are definitely something we want to look into.


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You need to confirm your Planting zone, because you are probably borderline 5b/6a. Hopefully you are 6a, as you will have better luck with a lot more plants. However, that area is pretty well protected, so even if you are z5, you could probably get away with z6 stuff. Plants never stop growing, so I will assume your range is based on 10 year growth rates (Typically what you see on plant labels).

For fall color, I would consider any number of dwarf Japanese maples. Here are a few that could fit that bill:
Acer palmatum 'Viridis'
Acer palmatum 'Red Dragon'
Acer campestre 'Carnival'

There are many more, those are just a few. Also, as mentioned before, Hydrangea will do well in that spot and come in many bright colors. impatiens, bleeding hearts, and astilbe for flowers

**and the tool I use is called Gimp. It's free and works like photoshop

This post was edited by SC77 on Thu, Mar 6, 14 at 23:05


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Here is something I found on zones. I will check other sites. However, I think it got colder than that last winter.
Zip code 43147,is in USDA Hardiness Zone 6a: -10F to -5F. Using updated climate data through 2010, 43147 is in the Plantmaps Hardiness Zone 5b: -15F to -10F. The average first frost in 43147 is between October 11 - 20, while the average last frost occurs between April 21 - 31. 43147 is part of Ecoregion 55b - Loamy High Lime Till Plains. 43147 rarely has days where the temperatue exceeds 86°F. The average annual high temperature in 43147 is 62°F and the average annual low temperature is 41°F. The average high temperature in July (Summer) is 83°F, while the average high temperature in January (Winter) is 36°F.


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I do love Japanese maples! but was unaware they would thrive in shade. I was also under the assumption that the color would not be good in the shade. What does anyone think of viburnums? Looks like there are some new ones that offer fall colors.


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RE: Need budget friendly plan for back yard.

  • Posted by raee zone 5 OH (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 12, 14 at 18:58

I live quite near you and have considerable shade. Viburnums are a good choice; there is a big variety to choose from too. Other understory trees/shrubs for our zone include dogwood, pieris, rhododendron, azaleas, euonymus (not burning bush, invasive here!),and hydrangeas. I have a caryopteris that does well in medium shade with late afternoon sun, and a weigela that is also happy in shade. Also grape holly and boxwood. There are others, like daphne, that I haven't tried but are supposed to be shade shrubs.

You have to be careful about which of the colored hydrangeas; some are "cold hardy" meaning the roots don't die, but the rest of the shrub will die down to the ground and you never get blooms. The labels will not tell you that! Others like "Endless Summer" do fine since they bloom on both old and new growth; and there are some that are native here that don't bloom pink or blue, only white, yet are reliable. Of the colored varieties, to get blue flowers you have to put peat moss or ammonium sulfate in the planting hole to get them the acid they need; otherwise they bloom pink. Rhododendrons and azaleas will also require acid amended soil to do well, but they can do very well

For almost all plants we need to lighten up our soil to improve drainage. Easily done by digging in some vegetative material, sand, pebbles etc.

The county soil and water district is offering plants at great prices right now:

Here is a link that might be useful: budget friendly plant sale from Franklin County


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Thanks, Raee. I will be checking on all of your suggestions. We have a landscape hard scape pro coming over in early April. We are anxious for his input. We are still struggling with the stone vs decking. Once we can get some options and estimates it will help. Thanks for all the input. If anyone out there has more suggestions, keep them coming. I plan to run these ideas by the landscape pro when he comes.


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RE: Need budget friendly plan for back yard.

Coming into this a bit late, but ... A wood deck will probably be less expensive than a concrete patio. What you should do depends partly on whether you intend to roof over it and prevent moisture from entering the area (as with the existing patio) or if it will be exposed to rain. You probably wouldn't want rain moistening any dirt raised along the house wall, as there would be with a patio. A deck will drain and dry.

It would seem nice if whatever space you have is elevated so that there is a single step down from the house floor level (as with the existing patio.) Personally, I'm not a fan of raw wood, or of stains. I think painted wood holds up better and looks better. If done properly the paint can be quite long lasting (better than stain) and is relatively easy to clean once per year, with just bleach.

As far as a layout that agrees with your requirements, I don't think you can do better than having whatever size rectangle-that-suits-your-needs placed at the door just like the current patio arrangement does for the door it serves. Then connect the two with a 3 1/2' wide "bridge" (same level) that is either straight, or in the form of a convex arch (relative to the house footprint.) Plant the space between the "bridge" and house and some space on the outside of the "bridge" to suit your needs.


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