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pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Posted by DIY_GUY_419 ohio (My Page) on
Tue, May 15, 12 at 10:00

Hello everyone, I am new here, and would appreciate some input.

We bought our house about 6 months ago and since the weather has become nice we have been doing some landscaping. We started in front of the house.

This is what it used to look like:

We got rid of all the shrubs and nasty trees etc. The old home owner didnt do much trimming, and this is what it looks like now:

We had that big space infront of the window and decide to fence it in with a picket fence to make a sitting area. We are planing on making a little flower bed infront of it like the one on the right side. But inside the fence is where I am not sure what to do:

I was originally thinking pavers, but thats a lot of digging, and there are still roots left over from that nasty shrubs we ripped out.
Then I thought floating deck, much less digging and leveling, but not sure how to incorporate it with the fence.
Maybe there is a third option.

ANY SUGGESTIONS APPRECIATED.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

You should be easy to enjoy the bed through the windows.
Photobucket


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Well, I was thinking of putting a bed on the other side of the fence and a sitting area inside the fence. Do you have any suggestions on pavers? or floating Decks?


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RE: pavers5, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

what wrong?I upload again.
Photobucket


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

The change is indeed remarkable.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Dear new homeowner.
You have asked for some suggestions and I'm going to offer a few. You can take it or leave it.
I'm a design professional who is hired into projects to increase the value of a homes value via curb appeal, landscaping and architectual augmentation .
My suggestions may not be what you want to hear but it will save you a lot of money in the long run, which may or may not be a concern of yours.
If you are interested in achieving ROI ( return on your investment ) stop doing custom renovations with cheap mixed matched materials that devalue the curb appeal of your house.

If you plan on living in your house for a while and don't give a hoot about decreased financial value and enjoy doing DIY projects then go for it, but understand you are devaluing the curb appeal of the house with aesthetically unsuitable materials and material styles for the quality and architectural stature of your home.
The former landscape had balance, scale, and year round texture that framed the home well. It presented / framed the house well and was in scale with the architecture.
The new fence does not form a matching union with the architecture , it is incongruent with the architecture, the cast concrete red scallop raised border cheapens the entry and the red dyed mulch has too much color contrast with the gray siding.

If these DIY projects give you much joy (a beneficial value) and you are not interested in building equity in your house then continue on and enjoy the value that these projects will bring you.
If you are interested in enhancing the ROI of your property and want to do some DIY projects then you might consider getting some professional design direction so you enhance property vs. devaluing it.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

I think you have laid out the alternatives pretty well. If you want to use furniture, it's going to be hard surface material or deck. The end differences boil down to, with a patio you'll be flush with grade, and with a deck, you'll be 8 or 10" above it. To me, based on that, the patio seems preferable. It's not THAT much digging as the area is not that large. A concrete patio would require somewhat less digging. All will require work. Choose your poison. It would be good if you could remove the fence panels while you construct the floor.


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RE:deviant deziner

Thank you for your input.
However, I disagree with some of your points.
The old landscape may have had year round texture, but it was ugly and took over a huge portion of the front yard. Thats why we took it out.

The fence may not be matching now, but it will be painted like the house as soon as the wood dries out. I might also cut off the tips of the pickets.

I think the red gives the house color that was non existent with the grey and brown siding.

What don't you like about the raised border? This I am interested in.

BTW, We plan on being here for a while, and this isnt an investment.


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RE: yardvaark

@yardvaark,
What do you think of a floating deck thats only a few inches off the ground? like 3 or 4? would that look nice with the fence?

The fence panels are not that easy to remove because I also put metal corner brackets on the inside. but if need be, i can do it.

@designoline6, can you make something with your software that puts a low profile deck in there?


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Diy guy,
I'm glad you took the time to read my thoughts and I respect and understand your point of perspective . Thanks for the exchange of thought.

You asked what I don't like about the raised border : The pinkish red color and the quality of the material.
The pink color calls attention to itself ,it does not work in harmony with the architecture and it cheapens the aesthetic of the house. This type of inexpensive mass produced pinkish edging is tradionally seen used with lower end DIY projects and is best used out in a country garden or a lesser quality architecture than what you have.

You did not ask, but I think you are on the right track by cutting the gothic points off of the fence and then install a simple cap that relates to the trim on your house and paint or stain the fence a light grey color.

Respectfully,
DD


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

I too want to say that some of your choices are not pleasing to the eye not only because of color choices but mostly because the architecture of your house is contemporary. Your landscaping choices are fighting the house instead of complementing it.

By posting your pics seems that you are concerned about the look otherwise your question is more appropriate for the deck/patio forum without pictures, regarding the easiest way to install a patio. Posting your pics on your own accord invited critiquing on your choices.

I too would strongly encourage you to reevaluate your choices while still having it function the way you want. I've included a pic of something that would blend better with your architecture (I would make the slats vertical instead of horizontal though).

Carolina St modern entry

Simple but dramatic elements would be lovely.

Huntington Beach contemporary exterior

I've been in your situation that there wasn't something I liked about my house. I found that by embracing what was hard to change (architecture would be a major one) and embrace it, I ended up with something I loved.

I've tried to give you constructive direction and not just say I don't like it. DD & I care about your outcome and aren't here to give you a thumbs up, when you are possibly not making the best aesthetic choices that are available.

Again if you are only concerned about the installation of the hardscaping the deck/patio forum can be very helpful. good luck


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

  • Posted by catkim San Diego 10/24 (My Page) on
    Tue, May 15, 12 at 13:28

If I may make the smallest observation, it seems you are embarking on projects without first planning how they will come together. Case in point: erecting a fence first, then deciding later what will go inside and how to fit it in. I find this illogical.

It's just my own taste, but the changes so far are really depressing to look at. I actually thought the before and after photos were reversed, or maybe the post was a joke to poke fun at the designers here. I hope in the end you will prove me wrong; after all, you aren't finished yet, maybe you can pull it together.


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re: deviant

Thank you DD for the advice on the fence. I have to admit I am on a very tight budget, these were some of the cheapest edgers, but I still think they look nice.

What are thoughts on the area inside the fence? A paver patio or a low profile floating deck, like 3 or 4 inches off the ground? or something else?


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RE: 'designers'

I appreciate how you all want to bash my design choices even though that question was never asked.

What I really wanted to know is what you all think of the patio/paver/deck choice.

maybe I am in the wrong forum!!


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Diy guy,
Pavers set on a sand base would be my preference for a couple of reasons.
( I try of offer reasoning , as I often find it opens constructive positive dialogue as others have done. )
1. - if on a tight budget the pavers would be more cost conscience vs a deck.
2.- elevation - a floating deck still has to be slightly above grade and will instill at a min. a 4 inch step up from existing finished grade. That sets up a bit of a 'tripper' situation.
3. - Decking is more of a permanent structure and requires more work to install and remove.
4. - elevation again - I think the added height under the front main windows would not set up a complimentary height as seen from inside and out., also you will probably have to alter the bottom rail and or the bottom pickets on the fence ... and it would be damn hard to frame in a deck with that fence in place.

For common off the shelf concrete pavers all you have to do is do some minor excavation for proper elevation in relationship to your bottom sill . Set in place a 3 to 4 inch compacted sub-base, scree in about a 1/2 inch or less of your setting sand and lay and compact your pavers in. You probably don't have to put that much of a pitch into the patio due to the permeability of the dry lay and it is a pretty narrow space. But if you already have drainage issues you might want to pitch it at least 2% - it all depends on your soil structure and existing drainage needs.
Looks like your construction might be slab on grade ? ... as I don't see any venting across the house. another element that gets molded into the mix when figuring out how to best design and install patios/ decks directly adjacent to your home.

best,
dd

The pavers are easy to remove later if required.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Thanks DD, thanks for your helpful input.

my house is actually on a basement/crawl space combination.
What do you mean by "venting across your home"?

The area where the patio will go is clay mostly, really annoying to excavate.
I agree that pavers are not permanent and easier to remove. They also dont require a permit (a deck might require one).

What color pavers would you go with? I was thinking to go with the same color as the edgers (pinkish red), do you suggest something else?


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

A man's got to know his limitations.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Diy guy, the floating deck 3 or 4" off ground sounds like a deck with a relatively short life. No air circulation below... and close to moisture.

It is not uncommon for people to come here with ideas in their head or work in progress that many of us--professional and non-pro alike--disagree with. Especially when there's tight budget restrictions. When I saw your before and aft, my reaction was pretty similar to D-D's. I thought the original needed some tweaking, but was not that bad. I didn't say anything because I thought you were too far along in your project that you wouldn't be open to hearing about what others see as mistakes. But honestly, people are not trying to bash you. I think the effort is more along the lines of trying to get you to appreciate what good landscaping can do for a piece of property. Some of us are really wrapped up in it and it's hard to watch others do things that we believe are mistakes. I don't think what you're doing is awful. You've broken two rules (maybe 3) that I have for my own work, but I see people do things I disagree with all the time. Often, in they end, they make it cute and charming in some way that works for them and everyone lives happily ever after. So don't worry about it. Carry forth with what works for you and your budget. Take the advice you want and leave the rest and don't let any of it get you down.

I just want to say one thing about the edging. It's color is not the key point for me. I don't care for it because it makes your walk seem more confined--visually and physically--not less. The walk is already undersized (too narrow) for the size of the house. The edging is not necessary for functional reasons. It's just a cute decorative thing, but that means another element that can "read" as "clutter." But you'll see that edging all over town and all throughout posts on this forum. People, for some inexplicable reason, seem to love it. If you like it, keep it and tell all of us all to find something better to talk about.

Where this forum is probably the most helpful is to people who come here seeking advice during the thinking process that precedes planning. If you show up then and put your proposed project out there for constructive criticism and advice, you will probably have a radically different, even positive, experience. Good luck with your project!


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

What do you mean by "venting across your home"?

Your crawl space air vents. These screened openings are built into the house at the crawl space level to assist in cross ventilation/ decreasing mold mildew growth.

It is undesirable to block these vents with deck like structures.

I'd go with a neutral color paver such as grey or tan to work off of the color of your house and trim work . That is a conservative color choice. You may like something more colorful.

There is a active poster named KarinL. She has a innovative example of inexpensive cast concrete stepping stones laid in a very creative pattern for a back patio.
If Karin is reading this perhaps she can repost a photo of her patio for some inspiration. If I recall, it uses 2 or three colors and a nice pattern.
I thought it was a great use of inexpensive materials that added value and gave the area some creative punch .


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

@Yardvaark
Thanks for your input, I am leaning towards pavers. I understand ppl have their own opinions, but I never asked about their design ideas, just asked about pavers.

Anyhooo, The "before" pic is not a fair representation of reality, its very old, when the shrubs were better maintained, here is what it looked like when we started to take them out. notice how they had covered up that windows and basically became one big bush.

Some may like it, I hated it, to each his own.

As for the edging, we want to eventually build up the flower bed with more dirt, once the plants grow more, they are brand new, we just put them in last week, so they are babies. the endging will help hold the dirt it. They were the cheapest per ln ft, so thats what we went with.

@DD: You think if I did red pavers, that would be too much red? Could you elaborate more on how you would blend the fence in more with the house??


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Yes, I think red pavers would be too much red.

To try to blend the fence in more I would cut off the top of the gothic pickets.
They speak to a completely different architectural style from your house, thus one of the reasons why it sets up an incongruent look.
A simple cap and a molding strip can be installed to finish off the top of the fence.
It will then need to be painted or stained to the same color of the house or an analogous color.
I would then plant a soft foliage hedge infront of the fence and keep it at 2/3'rds the height of the fence. This will give you a little more privacy from the street when you are in the area and will also visually soften the view towards the house with a green build up of texture.
You may actually want to have two or three levels of planting infront of the fence: a low growing foreground of color and complimentary textures and then the background height of the hedge.
To futher understand this concept checkout a recent post by Bahia with the title 'Small front yard design for privacy' - http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/design/msg05142308316.html?4

The plants in his post will not translate to your climate but notice the build up ( foreground, midground and background ) of textures, forms and colors infront of and against a stucco wall, this concept is similar to your front yard fence.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Wh---

WHAT DID YOU DO?????

This is a joke, right? This isn't really your house. Or you have the before and after backwards. You didn't really just knock $5-10k off the value of your house and at least $2k off your neighbors' houses with that, did you?


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

DIY GUY I think it's pretty much the norm that a picture--or certain comments--will generate unasked for opinions. Forgive us. We can't help it! As I view your closer pictures, It's too "smothered" for my taste and I'd want changes, too. As I look at your first new picture, I'd become obsessed to do something about the view of the blank side wall of the neighbor's house at the left. It is not pretty. (...see, the unasked for opinions are beginning to flow!) Here's another, if you chop off the pickets, consider taking them all the way down to the upper rail, and then capping that rail (and sawed top of pickets) with a bigger, beefier rail. If you want, I can show you.

I don't think the red of the pavers is as strong as the red of the edging. I think they would look fine with your neutral house. But then next year when you top dress the mulch, maybe you'd want to have it be less red. We recently had a thread where a homeowner installed them (at a red brick house) and they seemed quite muted and subtle... more like along the lines of the color of that terra cotta pot next to your garage door... maybe even a little "greyer" than that. Bring home a sample and see.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

You may find both these threads of interest (the photo DD referred to is in the second one, along with some others - I don't think this pattern would suit your house, but check the websites of various paver manufacturers where they usually have tons of ideas).

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/design/msg0317331814328.html

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/design/msg0413052029142.html

Perhaps you had your reasons for making the patio quite small - maybe it will be cozy? I agree the picket fence style doesn't go with your house. It's a lovely house - I'm sure once you take the concept of "landscape design" beyond the foundation, you will have many other ideas. I am not a fan of foundation plantings in many cases and would probably have ripped those out too - far too boring and conventional for this modern and quite avant-garde house. Maybe someone here could recommend some books on landscape design for this kind of architecture. Modern and attractive does not have to mean expensive. The same materials, applied differently, can give a totally different look.

Tip if you're on a budget: watch Craigslist and you will probably find many landscaping materials being given away free or sold quite cheap.

Be very sure to slope your subgrade and your patio surface so they run rainwater AWAY from the house.

And yes, this is a landscape design forum and design is what we talk about, whether we are asked to or not... If you want a more pragmatic conversation, try the home repair forum on the home side of Garden Web, but you know, they're not subtle either and I think would have said about the same things. Good advice isn't always palatable but it's better than ending up in the "home disasters" forum!

And you are in an interesting situation with that vent. Are those french doors or just low windows? If you are planning steps, I guess they'd have to be quite open.

Karin L

Here is a link that might be useful: 2nd thread


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

I'm just popping in here to say that the comments about putting in a paver deck have been very helpful to me because we are going to do something similar in our front yard as well -- so thank you for the information :-)

Although I also preferred the "before" photos, what's done is done. DIY_GUY -- maybe you will find some new shrubs that you prefer, and you can install them in front of the fence for aesthetics and privacy. I'm not a design expert at all, but shrubs and trees offer structure; more lasting design elements than perennials and annuals...although they may not be as showy, etc, they are like the framework and the flowers are the frosting.

PS -- I've been lurking here for YEARS, thinking I was taking in all the advice and applying it to my own yard...but apparently I missed the boat too LOL! :-) Please try to remember: everyone here is trying to be helpful.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

@yardvaark, Please do show me your idea for the fence, I have been trying to visualize it in my brain , but not sure how it will come out.

Its partially my fault for all the comments, I should have posted the recent pictures first, I didnt have them on hand tho, they were at home. But some people just look at the pictures without reading the post :~)

Secondly, I didnt emphasize that we are not done with the area in front of the fence. We are going to make a flower bed there, perhaps with a edge like the one on the right side, but having second thoughts now. Any suggestions?

Also, you never told me your rules, i would like to hear them.

@Karin Thanks for the links. Those are just low windows, and that vent is really annoying me. any opinions on the edgers? I am thinking of doing them in front of the fence as well? but ppl here dont seem to think thats a good idea, or any edgers at all for that matter.

@reyesuela please read the entire post and discussion, we are not finished and there is no way I would leave it looking like that. Also, we planted new RODO shrubs on the right that will eventually grow to about 3 feet around.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

This is Ohio, right? Any annuals or perennials will vanish for half the year. Deciduous shrubs will either look like bare twigs, or disappear for that same half year. So if you put a flower bed in front of the fence, it will look just like it does right now half the time.

As a thought experiment, why is this little patio there? Do you imagine bring out the paper and a cup of coffee and sitting there in the mornings? Eating dinner? Talking with neighbors? Is it in a good place to do what you want to do there? Is it big enough? Are you going to be fighting privacy issues all the time?

KarinL wrote:
Be very sure to slope your subgrade and your patio surface so they run rainwater AWAY from the house.

Memorize this. Engrave it on the ceiling over your bed. Any time you start messing with anything near the house, you have to be aware of how you are changing drainage. So adding fill to the bed on the right side is a BIG NO-NO because it has to slope away from the house, and stay under the sill board of the garage.

BTW, a serious question. Does this house really not have a back yard? It seems that a lot of the 'issues' can be seen as moving traditional back yard uses to the non-traditional front yard.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

@mad_gallica
Yes we have a very nice backyard, but the front yard was being over taken by the shrubs. Yes, we would like a place to sit in the front yard because our kids like to ride their bikes on the sidewalk and play in the front as well.
Our front yard is south facing, so our back yard doesnt get as much sun.

I understand your points about sloping away from the house, the entire area around the house probably needs to graded again because it has sunken a bit since it was built in the 80s.
What are your tips for sloping away from the house? What do you mean by staying under the sill board of the garage?


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

This is another question where we don't now enough about the site and very little of what is in the DIY guy's head. So last night I fired up my iSee (Macintosh crystal ball) and this is what I saw: a) he didn't like the existing planting so he dug it all up and chucked it, so far so good. b) He thinks the house colour is drab so he thought about changing the trim colour to rust but instead thought he would put in some pink bed edging and red mulch to compensate uh oh. c) He wished he had a stoop and porch to sit in and watch the kids play and people pass by no stoop but goes for cheap patio as an alternative.

So imagine it went something like that (excuse me for taking liberties DIY guy). This would be my suggestion: leave the foundation clear of plants, paint the trim, install a seat of some sort under the window or fill in the area on the other side of the door that now has red mulch in it and put the seat there. Delay planting until a later date and get some advise regarding selection.

The most striking thing about what exists now is the horrible fence but this can be easily put right: I think it is a good idea to cut the points off. If you make another cut one third down and another two thirds down and split the pieces with a sharp axe you will have some nice kindling for the barbecue. Sorry I can't think of any other use for it.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Ouch :-) but it's true that the pickets really don't work, and I think that if simply cut off, even with a top rail, will just look like a picket fence with the tops cut off. It really should be a rail fence or other modern style for that house. Maybe you can amend it to be one.

I actually saw a brilliant modern fence the other day made of, believe it or not, angled cuts of galvanized corrugated steel panels. It looked amazing - I'll look for my photo of it. It's not see-through, but the idea may spark something.

Edging of beds is a surprisingly complicated topic. Ideally, an edge doesn't require much maintenance and can be easily mowed or clipped along. Along the sidewalk, you may really need any at all - just keep a broom handy to keep the sidewalk swept. One problem with the pieces you use is they are subject to frost heave so they tend to get crooked quickly and thus look tacky. I think most of us, having seen that, see any installation of the edging as if were already crooked!

I don't have time for more right now, but I would strongly suggest you always stand across the street from your house and look at the big picture before making any design decisions. Having also designed my space from the inside out (which is what I think, like Inkognito, is what you are doing), I can sympathize, but the big picture sometimes actually makes it easier to make decisions.

For instructions on vents, sills, and crawlspaces, use the home repair forum. Lots of people there with really good experience with how to do things right, and what happens if they go wrong. Caring for a house takes some learning to get your head around - thinking of a house as a building envelope doesn't come naturally. Or at least it didn't to me.

Karin L
PS search the forum here for threads by a guy named Dinosaur1 about his patio and water in his basement, to get an idea!


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

I don't have time right now, but within a day or two can illustrate the idea for a cap rail.

"Also, you never told me your rules, i would like to hear them." Who's rules? Mine? ... or "THE Rules" [of landscaping]? That would be a subject for an entire other thread. I guaranty it would be a thread of intense arguments because we can't even agree within the forum that "landscaping" and "gardening" are not exactly one in the same. (I think they are not.) An example of ONE of MY rules is: do not obstruct (or avoid obstructing) positive architectural features. This would include windows, doors, corners, trim details, etc. Conversely, attempt to partially or wholly obstruct boring blank walls or wall spaces with next to no details in them. If, DIY GUY, you look at the 2nd picture in your thread you can guess at the very first thing to jump out at me as a "broken rule." However, I DO NOT look at it in the same vein as an immoral act or a "crime against the state." To put it in perspective with the facts we now know, I'd consider it a "tweaking" item.

...or are you talking about "rules of the forum". Those are not clear to anyone.

I was glad to see Karin link movinginva's front yard patio project as there is common ground with this project. But pictures of her finished patio is in a separate thread. See the link below for that.

Here is a link that might be useful: movinginva's finished front yard patio


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RE: edging

"I think most of us, having seen that, see any installation of the edging as if were already crooked!"

This is so true. I cannot look at inexpensive edgings...especially the ones that stick up out of the ground and think of them as anything but soon-to-be-unattractive. I also see them as trip hazards if a walk is too narrow (almost always) and as visual clutter. I also see them as pointless because almost every time they are used, it's to solve a problem that has a much better and more permanent way of being solved. Often, the problem is caused by the person installing the edging. If there are two things that should go away, it's cheap edging and weed barrier fabric.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

@Inkognito: You had me laughing LOL.

I would say A) is right. B) is not though, I never thought of painting the house or trim. C) is partially correct, i dont think the patio is cheap.

As for the fence, I am taking your thoughts into consideration, LOL, I do need some firewood. But I think its tweakable.

@YardVaark, No prob take your time, I was referring to landscaping rules, and i see that I obscured the window.

@Karin, have you finished your patio yet? any more pics besides the link?


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RE: yardvaark

So i take it that most ppl would rather have no edging and just a natural grass to mulch connection? isnt some kind of divider needed?


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

The only reason a person would need raised edging at a walkway is because the grade flanking the walk is too high. Even that wouldn't necessitate a raised edging if a grade were properly planted. But when people pile on mulch that is higher than the walk, they think that raised edging is essential. The fix is to correct the grade before piling on the mulch as a walk is self-edging. Oftentimes, the grade fix is imagined to be something elaborate or difficult, but it is neither.


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RE: edging

Here's an example of no raised edging used at the lawn side or the landscape bed side of a walk. It is sweet and clean looking. The best part is the price.... even cheaper than what you've used DIY GUY.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Oh wow, those do look really nice, hmm, maybe i can return my edgers, thinking time!!


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Okay, I guess what's done is done...

Look at your house. It's in a modern style. It needs modern landscaping.

That fence cannot work. What I wrote above was actually rewritten because my initial reaction was far, far, far more negative than what I wrote. You can't keep that fence and have it look good. I don't care how you paint it or stain it or dress it up. It will never look good there.

If you must have a fence--and I'd advise against it--get one with strong horizontal slatted lines. Something very modern.

For a patio, I would suggest just that--a patio. I'd recommend treating it like a foundation as far as shrubs are concerned.

On the right, whatever red mulch that is must go, and the cheap scalloped cement edging needs to leave the yard at high velocity. Outside of a trailer park, it will lower your property value. The space that you ripped the shrubs out of? Yeah, it needs shrubs or a small multitrunked tree.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Just to be clear about the above photo, it's that there is NO raised edging at all that's the point. The walk takes care of itself. There's a decorative "edge" used to enhance this particular walk, but it's not raised so the same grass-meets-walk or mulch-meets-walk concept would apply to a walk made of plain concrete or any other hard material.

In the picture below, I've sawed off the pickets (all the way to the top rail) and then added a somewhat beefy boxed cap rail that covers the top rail and upper portion of the pickets. It would need to appear a little thicker than the width of the pickets... maybe 4" actual.

In the second picture a decorative band is added below with a reveal between the two. The rails are the same dimension, but I can imagine the lower band could be slightly narrower, if desired. So there's two possibilities to ponder. You have to imagine it painted!


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Of Yard's two options for the fence, the second one is better because the rectangular gaps between the two horizontal rails and the verticals of the pickets sort of mirror the two horizontal windows in the wall above the entry area. But I agree with the common thoughts that the fence looks inapproprite. Ditto re the opinions that the red mulch and edgers need to go away :-) I think the idea that a sitting area could replace the red mulched area is a very good option. Pave that area and the whole issue of mulch and edging disappear. Then you could replant the area where you propose to put the patio with the fence with things that you prefer to the original plantings.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

If you are going to plant in front of the fence with evergreens that will hide most of it, then Yard's suggestion would work. I do hate to see someone having to undo work recently done. Reminds me of something a neighbour did... putting a narrow granite shelf on top of it would be cool, for your coffee... at the risk of developing the trailer park theme, check for offcuts in the alley at a granite countertop store :-)

If you want to make the fence a visible feature, though, do a Google image search for "modern fence" and you will find tons of options.

As for my patio... ha ha, nothing is ever quite done around here, and I don't have any more presentable pictures of that area, sorry! Just had to cut down the hayfield, I mean lawn, this evening...

Karin L


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Some Rules

I also meant to offer this link to some principles of landscape design. I find them quite well done, only that the order is wrong for my preference - the earlier ones that are plant-based should come later, after unity and balance and so on.

Karin L

Here is a link that might be useful: Principles of landscape design


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Why is everyone hating on the red mulch? it gives the house some color don't you think?
I get the edgers need to go, im gonna see if I have the receipt LOL, Im sure Menards would be so happy to have them back.

@yardVark, I think I like the the first pic with the fence tips cut off.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

I'm adding another taken with some plants (& paint) just to see it carried out a little farther.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

yardvaark. i am begining to really like it, however you got rid of all the red mulch, and you made my sidewalk bigger, don't know if i could do those two things, The Red muclh would be quite difficult to put back into bags.

Any ideas on incorporating the red mulch into this design?


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Hmmm.... widening the walk... that's a long term goal.

You don't put the mulch back in the bags. You just plant groundcover & shrubs & eventually the plants completely cover the mulch like they are supposed to do.

Of the two fence treatments, I like the second one the best because it gives the effect of an even beefier cap rail, but without solid bulk. It adds filigree detail that I like, too.


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RE: ppavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

@Yardvaark.
I was at menards today and was looking at some fencing caps or what ever theyre called. They maybe a lil difficult to install, be we will see what happens. I guess I could just make my own, buy the lumber and cut it to size.

Would you widen the walk with pavers? or with real concrete?


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RE: fence cap & pavers

I don't think you could buy something ready made. This is the kind of fence cap a person would make out of 1" x, or 2" x ... or probably a combination. (Mock up and appraise sample to get right size dimensions.) It would be easy as it's straight boards and straight cuts. If you have a table saw it would be best to bevel the top and bottom edges of the boards so it wouldn't look sharp edged. It would be more graceful and expensive looking that way.
Widening the walk and making the patio are nice size paver projects for DIY. They're not too big and it's not too difficult. But it does take time, makes a mess and there's some expense. But the finished product is well worth it. Vs. concrete? It's a budget decision also factoring in one's time and effort. Definitely, the pavers are classier.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

I don't think you can actually return used mulch - besides having dirt on it, it might have picked up insects or plant diseases or nasty weed seeds and it would be highly questionable retail practice to resell it. You should be hoping no one sold you used mulch! Besides, it is still useful as mulch even if it is coloured - most people find this red stuff looks unnatural and thus a bit garish. It will either fade or be covered, in time, and maybe next time you would go with something more subtle.

I don't like it because (a) it clashes with the pink edging and (b) it doesn't go with your house precisely BECAUSE the house has no such colour in it. Your house has a very subtle and elegant colour scheme and putting this mulch beside it is like wearing orange socks with a grey suit, white shirt, and silver tie. As the inimitable Inkognito says, if you feel the house lacks colour, consider putting some colour on it, not beside it. Although, I don't think it does lack colour. It just has quiet colours.

By the way, ditto for the edgers... you might get some of your money back out if you put them on Craigslist.

And I hope no fence caps! Yardvaark, why?? This poor house! It has so much dignity. It's like someone putting... I dunno, Celine Dion maybe? in bunny slippers and hair rollers.

Karin L
PS I love fence caps and finials... but not here.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Of Yard's 3 fences, I could possibly live with #2. None would be better. #1 still looks like a picket fence gone awry, and #3...no finials, please.

>Why is everyone hating on the red mulch? it gives the house some color don't you think?

So would spray painting the garage door electric pink. About the same effect.

You can scrape it up and throw it away, along with that edging.

Even Yard's final "after" is worse than the original "before" this time. Waaaaay better than the current "after," but this is a silk purse/sow's ear scenario. Saving it isn't going to be that easy.

Also, I don't like blooming perennials with this house. If you really want them, I'd stick with white. Possibly a bit of true blue. But this house cries out for foliage color and shape. An emphasis on flowers would look garish.

Elegant. Think elegant. Don't think cute-as-a-button cottage.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

@Karin, What would you do with the fence? just chop off the tips? I was joking about returning the mulch, although if I had to I probably could because it is sitting on Landscape fabric and its pretty clean.

I'm going to take everyone's advice and get rid of the edgers if i find the receipt. I just bought them a few days ago.

Most of the time I don't know what you guys are talking about and end up looking up words like "finials".

@reyesuela, you would just get rid of the whole fence? whhhhy? You know how hard it was digging holes for those posts in the clay soil I have??? I am sure it can be salvaged :/ my back is still hurting

@yardvaark, thanks for the mockup pics. what program are you using? paint? I dont have a table saw, but I have a circular hand saw and wouldnt be able to bevel, maybe I can buy them pre-beveled.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

my opinion i don,t like it. The fence sticks out like a sore thumb.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

  • Posted by catkim San Diego 10/24 (My Page) on
    Thu, May 17, 12 at 12:39

DIY guy, I applaud your ability to accept criticism and evaluate suggestions and learn a bit in the process. Your home will be the better for it.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

"And I hope no fence caps! Yardvaark, why??"

Without cap rail, to me, it looks weaker and "raw-edged". Here is pickets-removed-no-cap-rail:

Finials...? (the balls sitting on the fence corners)...am toying with an idea (like thinking out loud.) I drew easy ones to question them, but won't draw every possibility in order to compare. I already drew with non so it's already on the table. I'm adding things to think about and question. Maybe pyramidal would work... ? I'm not opposed as some to adding details for more interest.

Reyesuela, I think you are over-reacting and offering unjustified opinions.

DIY GUY...it is MS Paint.

I'm not considering that the fence is going away. I'm focusing on what can be done to improve it. Some people will not come to this position at all or with any plans or ideas. They will not budge past getting rid of fence. DIY GUY, you'll have to decide what is of value to you.

DIY, got a router? that's an alternate, though more difficult method of beveling.

I look at the red mulch as more of a specific artistic statement. There might be a time when a person needs/wants to have a blazing color in the yard. I would lean away from using it as general mulch between plants because the artistic statement weakens. But I wouldn't replace it once it's down. I don't see it as a clash with existing neutral colors. I see it more as slightly garish and would just tone it down next year when top dressing. It's not a horror. It's just a little strong.


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RE: criticism

I "second" cat's statement.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

I feel a lot better about the fence now that we know why it is there.

Little Suzy: Mommy! Daddy! Come play some incredibly stupid made up game with me!

Mommy and Daddy: We can't sweetheart. We are in parent time out. That's why we are inside this little fence.

Little Suzy: Ohhh. How long are you in time out?

Mommy and Daddy: The older you are, the longer your time outs. We have to be in here a very long time.

My DH would call this a stroke of brilliance. He bragged for six months after being banned from tea parties for life for a lack of cooperation.

Seriously, the first time the kid goes splat off the bike and it takes you ten extra seconds to get there because you have to circumnavigate that fence, will be when you start thinking about getting rid of it. After the second time, it goes. Light, movable chairs that can be strategically placed around the yard work much better. They can even be moved to the backyard during the summer heat.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

>@reyesuela, you would just get rid of the whole fence? whhhhy? You know how hard it was digging holes for those posts in the clay soil I have??? I am sure it can be salvaged :/ my back is still hurting

Because it looks bad. Just because it's hard work doesn't mean it was a good idea. I'm sure demolishing your entire house would be very hard work, but it would also not improve your property values.

Yard's example #2 is moving the right way, but I'd recommend adding yet another horizontal bar to "save" it, if that's what you really want. I'd also paint it the same color as the trim on your house. (Normally, I'd prefer it stained, but in this case, it would tie it much better into the house to be the same color as the house.)

Also, I just don't like the flowers in front of it that Yard shows. It comes off too cutesy for me. I think it's just such a very serious house that what would be a nice embellishment on another home just looks like sticking a colored bow on a woman in a business suit!

The second house I lived in as a kid was in a 1970s/80s modern neighborhood much like your house, though all the houses were brick. The landscapes that work best didn't focus on blooms--flowers, where there are flowers, are either treated as groundcovers or almost incidental to the plants. Oleander, for instance, has a really amazing bloom (and is hardy there), but it worked in the context of one house's landscape because of its shape, height, foliage, and texture. Its bloom was a bonus. Hardy palms, cannas, crape myrtle, and dwarf yaupon worked well, too, for the same reasons. When blooms worked, it was because they were a big swath of color used as a groundcover or as a stuffed bedding of annuals. There was enough of it for it to come across as a "serious" gesture rather than something more playful or simply pretty.

There were a lot of people who tried different things. The xeriscaped native yard worked. Every single attempt at cottage style or even at something lightly cottage-influenced failed miserably. It just looked weird.

Some of these houses had courtyards around the entrance. The ones that worked used fencing with strongly horizontal elements, wrapped the space within 3 walls of the house, or had a brick wall. There would usually be a shade tree outside of the courtyard (it's a hot area!), and within would be a patio--usually brick or stone--with seating and either a few narrow beds inside or various pots (or, my fave, both!).

Very often, the outside of this space was NOT faced with foundation shrubs, going straight to the grass or, my favorite, with a swath of vinca minor up against it to transition to the lawn.

But the explicit purpose of these spaces is to enclose, surround, etc. (People normally put a bell on the outside of the courtyards for visitors, who feel uncomfortable walking into such a private place!) What you want isn't that, so there is really no function for the enclosure of the fence. It's not really going to be keeping anything "in." So I'm not fond of the gesture, much less the actual fence.

It could still work, as long as the horizontal elements were strong enough. So if you do want to have a fence, the space inside needs to be expansive enough that you can dress it like a room. Patios, porches, courtyards and the like are the connection from house to yard and, as intermediate spaces, only really work aesthetically when treated as both. (A bare cement slab with a grill on it is very functional, but not visually pleasing!) It shouldn't feel like a bit of patio that just got shoved in with a bench stuck on it. It should feel like and outdoor living space.

The scalloped edging never looks good. It can look fine in a sort of cottagey, old-fashioned kind of garden, that I'd imagine a friendly older retiree taking care of. Even then, I wouldn't say it would look GOOD.

As for the red mulch... I honestly have never seen a context in which it looks good. I've seen many commercial buildings use it, and a number of private residences, but I haven't seen one where the landscape was better because of it. It looks worse than usual on your house simply because your house is so collected and modern. So I'll grant the possibility of an aesthetically pleasing use for red mulch. I just haven't seen one.

On the reverse side, I've seen plenty of aesthetically pleasing uses of gravel, as much as my own experiences have made me adamantly against it unless the situation is carefully controlled and contained.

If you went to Lowes or Home Depot for the edging, you can return it without a receipt for store credit. :-)


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Hey guys, I did a lil MS PAint for myself, what do you guys think?

I removed one of the pickets just to see how difficult it was, piece of cake, I have a cordless circular saw. should be a cinch.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

I keep hearing budget but if your CL community is at all active, you could have saved yourself quite a bit of money getting your red rocks for free. We got rid of many tons of granite rocks. The people save a ton and I got them out of my yard, a win-win. Various garden materials are free to cheap on CL. You can do a nice yard and patio on the cheap.

You obviously like your material choices. Yes they have devalued your property, but if it makes you happy that good. That happiness is worth something. You do need to be aware though that your neighbors are very likely to be upset, I know I wouldn't like a new neighbor coming in and "fixing" it up only to have it look less appealing. People are VERY concerned about their home values. You're apt to be starting off on the wrong foot in the neighborhood.

Your home itself looks wonderful! Because it is a contemporary home though, your choices are limited lest you try to create it into something it will never be. Think what it would be like putting ultra modern furniture in a castle. Beautiful castle, beautiful furniture. They just don't work together.

I don't think anyone thought the before landscaping was wonderful, but I do think most/all think it was better then the direction you are going.

I say, plan, plan, and plan some more. It hard enough to do something once, little lone doing it over. The hardscaping can wait another year. Get your trees and large shrubs in sooner then later if you can but even that wait till you've got a solid plan that works.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Hey that's really something how you made that wheelbarrow disappear! :-) I'm impressed that you jumped in and made something with Paint. It's quite useful once you get the hang of the tools. The #2 fence (with the double cap) is still my favorite. Good to hear the picket removal process will be a breeze.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

  • Posted by manifest USDA 11a, Sunset 24, (My Page) on
    Fri, May 18, 12 at 0:47

Just chiming in here that I think I like Yaardvark's #2 fence best, as well. I think the vertical fence posts works well with the vertical siding on the exterior walls. I also agree with previous posters about the red mulch and red edgers. I have never really seen them used successfully in any commercial or residential application without immediately thinking "cheap."

You have a lovely house, DIY GUY. You mentioned wanting to use the red edging to add color to the front of your house. If you're looking for some color, I would suggest painting your front door. Your house is painted in two neutral putty/taupey colors that are tonal and therefore monochromatic. Introducing a third accent color that ties into the existing scheme could do a lot to make your house more visually appealing. A high gloss dark green would work with the neutral putty/taupe scheme. Home Depot carries Behr paint. Perhaps a color in the 'Muted Green' in the 400D - 440D range might work for you. Or a dark burgundy, even. You would be amazed at what a pop of color can do to add visual interest to the front of a house.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Much improved on the mockup. Marching the house looks much better. I'd still like more horizontals, or...

...alternatively, you could double the pickets on the opposite side of the fence so they form a near-opaque screen and emphasize the vertical, with only a band at the top and bottom horizontal.

Enclose the fence on the left side and then attach it to the house, and it'll look like it's there for a reason, not just floating in front of the house.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

reyesuela, look at 2nd and 3rd picture. The fence is attached to the house.

Oftentimes, between house and garden, I am less enthralled about matching and overenthusiastic coordination--seeing it as "safe" but less interesting and imaginative--and usually prefer "compatibility" to it. More of the dark trim color seems too much and gives me a sense of gloominess. I prefer a little lighter.

DIY, here's an idea of how-to-assemble my 2nd version. No ripping or beveling of boards. Only end-cutting. You could use coarse sanding to knock off the 3 sharp outside long edges of 1" x 4" (before or after install.) Use, adjust or discard as you wish. With a few clamps you could hold everything together to see how it looked in real life and make adjustments before you commit.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

DIY's mock-up really highlights one thing that bugs me re the fence - it visually cuts off the bottom of the window! It makes that wall look unfinished somehow.

I agree that painting the door might be the best way to introduce color. I'll bet a nice dark burgundy red would look good. I've never played with MS Paint much - can it do the color fills like Photoshop to try alternative colors on the door?


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Woody, I am Photoshop illiterate so can't make a comparison between the two. Trying out an array of colors on a pure photographic element would not be possible with Paint. You can't take a door in a photo and change it's color. You'd have to draw the door and fill that with color, so the process would be involved. Door details (panels, knobs, etc.) would need to be drawn separately and added. A person could draw a plain door, make copies, apply various colors to each and then overlay the separate details, so the process could become complicated. However, If rectangles of various colors--with no details--would suffice just for a gross color exploration, that would not be difficult.

That said, if someone knows a way that what I say can't be done--actually CAN be done--hopefully they will say how.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

I'm not exactly literate in Photoshop either but can/do use it for simple things. I used it to play with colors when I was trying to decide what colors to paint my garden shed. It's very useful for stuff like that :-) I tried a few colors on the door of OP's house - the details of the door are lost but it gives you a good idea of color effect. I prefer the dark burgundy. The red mulch would clash with that - a nice dark brown (pine bark mulch) would look much better...

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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

phase one of fence capping done

what do u guys think?


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

See my post above regarding a plebeian colour suggestion close to burgundy except I thought the trim rather than the door should be done.

The 'landscaping' seems so incongruous to me I just wonder if there is a huge detail missing from the story as it seems improbable that someones taste of houses would run to such inappropriate landscaping.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

OK, the plants in front of the fence are not going in there, I just put them for some scale. Inkognito, we chose the home because of what's on the inside not outside. Outside was a bonus.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

"Inkognito, we chose the home because of what's on the inside not outside." You know what I mean though eh?


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

In spite of the negative comments that keep flowing, DIY GUY (I hope your skin is toughening) I have a hunch that all will end without any pitchforks and burning crosses in your neighborhood. I see progress. Not sure what you'll do with the remaining posts that stick up, but for sure I'd cut off the center one.

Here's two more landscaping rules I'll share: 1) do not mix/alternate plants and 2) avoid planting "lines"... plant beds instead. (which means give the planting a little depth...2 rows are better than one here. Three might be better than two. One looks skimpy.)


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Suggested door changes are all a disaster to me - the existing colour is better. Sorry, Woody, the tones are all wrong and in my opinion a dark door is never an improvement over a light one.

If you ever put colour on the house, I think the trim would be a place to consider, but seriously, I would hire a consultant to help you pick colours, or get the paint shop's experts involved. There is something so perfect about the way it is now that it would be tricky to get the same harmonious appearance with new colours. There is co-ordinating with the roof colour to consider, above all, since so much of it is seen.

You know, DIY GUY, one reason we are all freaking out is that at least 75% of the questions here are people with fundamentally ugly houses asking how to make them look better. Then we finally get a question from someone with a beautiful house, and you seem unconscious of its beauty!

You've made a huge improvement with the loss of the pickets and also the addition of the bed and plants outside has helped amazingly.

Karin L


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

@yardvaark, i have a thick skin indeed. Ive incoporated what i thought was helpful. I got rid of edgers yesterday, took them back to menards for a full refund. Printed my receipt there, did i mention menards was awesome? I bouught some wood; two1x4x12 and two 1x8x12. Im gonna see how they fit once i cut down the posts. I dont think they look right with the rest of the fence being that low.

What do u think of sloping the fence cap kind of like the roof line?

@karin im aware of its beauty, but function is also is important. Thanks for the compliments


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

"What do u think of sloping the fence cap kind of like the roof line?" My answer would depend on exactly how it was done and presented itself. Oftentimes caps of walls and fences are sloped to facilitate the drainage of water, prevent their use as seating or as places to set things. It probably won't be important to match the roof slope, but I would mock up and appraise whatever you're considering. That's the best way to see how it will look.

I'm in complete agreement with Karin on door colors. The original looks best.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

A little detour on door color... :-) While I find the colors for DIY's house pleasing and serene and wouldn't want to change them, I find the white door bland, fading into the background too much. The color to use for the doors was an issue here when we renovated this place. The front and garage doors arrived and were installed just primed in white. With the yellow stucco and white trim, the doors just sort of vanished and somehow made the house look smaller. DH and the contractor wanted to leave them white but I insisted on black. That draws your attention immediately to the doors and makes for a much more vivid and vibrant look IMO (...think 'bumblebee"...:- )

I think DIY's house has a similar issue. The dark burguny color in the mock-up I preferred is a cool red which fits comfortably with the cool gray tone of the house, but is rich and intensive enough to draw your attention without being garish - note that the more vivid red is hugely less attractive.

I would not repaint the trim in a color that would have more contrast than the current one to the base color of the walls. I think that would chop up the space a lot and lose the sense of quiet harmony that the current color scheme has. An alternate color with the same 'color value' ( i.e. one that would look the same as the existing trim if you took a black and white photo of it) as the existing trim could work perhaps but I doubt that it would look sufficiently better to make it worth the extensive effort required to do the paint job - far easier to repaint a door if you change the color and then don't like it!

To try to illustrate what I'm talking about, I 'photoshopped' roughly this picture of our house from Oct. 2008 to try to illustrate bland white can be improved on. Mind you, this may be one of those cases where my taste is wildly out of sync. with the majority!

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DIY guy, one note of caution - IF your new fence is made of PT wood, it's recommended that you wait at least 6 months before painting it. Because of the chemicals in the wood continuing to leach out, you cannot got a good bond. Don't want you to have a peeling fence. To verify this, ask at a GOOD paint store, not a big box.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

I don't think the impediment to paint is "chemicals" so much as it is moisture and the fact that as the wood dries, it shrinks. The pickets will dry much sooner than the posts.


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Actually, before you go any further, you need to examine things from the perspective that really matters - where you will be sitting behind the fence. It is easy for us to get all hyped up about what "looks" best but if you put on a huge top plate that is right at eye level when you sit there, the fence will have missed its point.

Put a chair on your future patio and see how it is to be sitting behind the fence. Can you see what you want to? Also, how is it from inside the house, sitting or standing?

Karin L


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I think it looks so much cleaner now without the edgers and the gothic points, even the mulch doesn't stand out so much. It'll fade with time anyway.

I wouldn't do anything fancy with caps, I like the simple strong horizontal in Yardvaark's first example picture. It's more in keeping with the house. Not to mention I think it would be easier. Then if you paint the verticals of the fence (when you paint it) the same color as the light grey of the house, and then do the cap in the color of your trim, it'll look like it belongs, I think.

As far as a bed or planting on the outside of the fence, I'd leave a space next to the fence for pots. chunky, square architectural pots or planting boxes. You could even take your pavers out beyond the fence to about the same width as the walk is, and set pots on it. you can put whatever brilliant, modern-looking plants and vines in the pots that suit your mood and season.

then outside that, use some of the low hawthornes you have on the other side of the walk.

heck, you could even take the pavers on around and make a walk from the front to the back yard around the outside of the fence.


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I feel that the width of that fence makes the front of the house look smaller. It needs to be widened at least to the edge of the bush on the left. Sorry, but it is not enhancing the front of your house at all. I like it better then before but looonnger would be better. Could someone mock up a wider fence just to see.....Yardvaark?


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Half of posts shortened (Pain the ARSE), got the cap temporarily to see what it would look like.
Can't decide which way looks best:

NO OVERHANG: (Bad for drainage)

Half Inch Overhang (Better for water drainage)

ALSO, I would probably leave an overhang on the edge too so I could side cap it from there as well.

Close Up with Chair behind fence



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Btw, They arent painted yet, just in case you couldnt tell, gotta let them dry out for a few weeks, its treated wood.

What do you think YardVaark, Karin? DD? anyone else?


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

In a side-by-side comparison of the caps with and without overhang, I prefer version "A" (without.) The way the cap board and rail fit together appear more bold, simple, strong and as though it IS one piece which more closely relates with the flavor of your existing house trim. It's in the same family. The corner boards on the house are simple slabs. In version "B" the proposed cap board and rail of the fence appears more as two separate pieces in which the cap proper is a skimpy 1 1/2". In my mind, with the extra shadow created by overhang, it appears as 3 thin horizontal pieces... of a different trim style family. Where I showed a schematic of it earlier (with minimal... 1/4" overhang) I'd place a good bead of caulk between the two pieces to seal from water infiltration. Then I'd add a second bead as a fillet along the entire joint in order to blend the appearance of the two boards into one... and even further minimize water entering the joint.

I see that you've used a broad cap board in order to include the post into the capping scheme. I can't tell what your plans are in the future, but unless this solution is necessary, I think I'd have opted for a narrower (4" or 6") cap board and dealt with the fence post in another fashion. But again, my crystal ball is off so maybe you need to use the wide board. It seems excessively wide (which will tend it toward "cupping.")

Even if you don't show it to us, you might look at the cap rail schemes you're considering with the addition of that 2nd, lower horizontal trim piece... to rule it out without qualms if nothing else.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

yardvaark,
that was my problem with the cap board, the 4 and 6 inchers were just too narrow to cover the posts. How would you deal with the posts if you go narrower?

Also, put the second one rail on front, looks kinda weird, not sure why.

Also, because the second rail is lower that the original fence rail, theres not much for it to hang on to besides those thin pickets.

Wife didnt like the second rail, wonder if there is anyway we can make it look better, maybe bring it down a bit.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Dang... you're fast!

I favor the second rail for the same reasons I said earlier and think it might be one of those things that needs for the project to get finished looking before it "gels." Experiment with various options, but if wife doesn't like then factor in heavily or risk serious consequences. Don't want that!

One way to deal with the protruding post is bevel off the protruding part at 45* or steeper angle (uniform @ ea. post, of course.) Would require handsaw cutting.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

To my eye , I would choose the slight overhang.
It casts just enough shadow to add a sense of definition, - much like how the simple trim work around the windows casts a discreet definition against the facade of the house.

The non overhang is too bland.

I don't care for the second rail. It is too heavy and adds a cluttered look .


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

DD, What do you think of the cap? is it too thin? too Narrow? Do i need to go with a 2x6 instead of the 1x8 ? Thoughts Please.

Also yardvaark, Im taking pics as I work, so yes its update as we go, I just chopped off the other two posts.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

  • Posted by manifest USDA 11a, Sunset 24, (My Page) on
    Sun, May 20, 12 at 20:25

My two cents: I prefer your fence without the overhang and without the second rail. The second rail is neither here nor there. To me, introducing a second rail doesn't make a lot of design sense, nor does it tie back to the trim on the windows & door of the house.

I don't think you will notice whether you used a 1x8 or 2x6 for your cap once the fence has been painted. I think the 2x6 makes sense if you were to scrutinize the proportions of the cap to the rail and just focus on those two elements myopically. But looking at the cap & rail as one unit, the proportions seem to work when I compare it to the trim of the rest of the house.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

>reyesuela, look at 2nd and 3rd picture. The fence is attached to the house.

Whoops! It is. :-) Didn't look like it in his photoshopped version.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Some more pics. I'll try to explain. Pics not the best quality cuz it was getting dark

Difference in size between 1x8 and 2x6

2x6 as cap

Post still shows when 2x6 is cap

Crazy idea using 1x4 as cap

Looks clean from the front

Thoughts?


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

I like the look of the 2 x 4 best... except that the posts remain naked. A solution to that is to remove the fence and set it in-between posts... meaning that at the front section, the fence would be cut into two sections. Then the cap spans everything without doctoring any posts... more like a traditional porch railing would be. This would be a cleaner look. Since the post is completely exposed with the 4" rail, what I described earlier about trimming it an an angle won't work.... not well anyway. It would work with the 6" rail, but that doesn't seem like the best overall solution.

With the 4" rail, another option comes to mind, but it's immediately negated by the off-center, center post, and that is to make separate and slightly taller caps for the posts. All of this begins to get complicated trying to come up with "saves" after things get going in one direction and there are many possible alternative details. Usually, trying to describe them is more difficult that doing them.

Getting rid of the pickets and the concrete edging make everything else better.

Don't hesitate to say the direction you lean.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Removing the pickets and adding more rails, using 1x lumber for rails, would make the whole thing thinner. I don't think the problem here is what cap to use; it is the bulkiness of what you are trying to cap.

Karin L


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

I agree with Karin.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

@karin, I see what your saying, but I'm not into spending anymore money on lumber, What you are saying is to remove all the pickets (Difficult) and replace them with horizontal rails? Correct?

@yardvaark, I like the look of 1x8 cap, but it is pretty thin like you said and could warp, the 1x6 isnt looking right to me for some reason. maybe because of the bigger line between it and the 1x4 rail? not sure


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

"maybe because of the bigger line between it and the 1x4 rail? not sure"

I do not understand this question.

Have you ruled out the idea of setting the fence portion between the posts (underneath the "cap")? Seems like it would solve all the little problems that revolve around the capping issue. You could use the 2 x 6 if you think the 2 x 4 is too narrow. (2 x 8 is just "over the top" for me.... but you are making the artistic calls.)


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

@yardvaark, How would you attach the fence in between the posts? Brackets? Interested in this option. How would I keep the front cap of the fence on there? Just leave it attached to the posts?


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Your options would be cleats, brackets, or toe-nailing, depending on what works best for you.

Before attaching it to the posts, I would first attach the front and top portions of the cap system to one another so they behaved as a one-piece trim. ("L" profile.) Then attach that to posts and, if necessary, periodically to pickets if additional strength is needed for pickets or rail. Attaching to pickets might be by running an 8d nail through and bending down the excess that comes out the back side. When it's painted, it will not be noticed.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

More kindling. Just remember the fumes from burning PTT can be toxic.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Geez, in the world of "would-a, could-a, should-a", I might have just saved and transplanted the original healthy, attractive bushes and shrubs to the outside perimeter of a newly created courtyard patio under the front window. Best of both worlds - a landscape style commensurate with the architecture of the home combined with a new private sitting area that doesn't obstruct the view from the window. Less expensive too. Ah well, what's done is done...


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Hey everyone, for those who have been following this project, I thought you might be interested in the completed fence.

Here are some pics. Not sure why some of the pics are smaller then others.

Any questions or comments let me know


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

It is substantially better looking than the first picture of it we saw. Comparing the two pictures, I like this much better. Are you in agreement? ... or in regret?


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

I agree :) It looks better! You still need to paint it and plant in front of the fence, but it will end up better suiting your needs for your home. Good luck!!


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

ya I like it, could have done some things differently if we planned better. I was able to deal with the posts by attaching it an extra piece of cap sideways over the far right post to cover it. Put a 2x4 under neath it to finish the look.

Now I have to wait for the wood to dry out. How long does that take?

Also time to start thinking about pavers :-) (the original intent of this post)


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Good save! Looks like you meant to do it that way.

Put a granite topper on it and get a couple of bar stools, and you can sit there like at the window seats in Starbucks :-)

So yeah, pavers. You'll need to take a good bit of dirt out of the area so that vent remains above the finished level. First step: how thick are your pavers going to be, and what base material will you use?

Do some searches for "how to lay a patio."

Karin L


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

I don't think any one has mentioned the leaning white trellis at the side of the house. Can it be taken out?


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

@donnagwd
Look at the last pic I posted. Its in a pot, so yes it can be taken out.

As for the vent, I looked at it in my crawlspace , its covered with insulation, these things are completely useless. I did my research.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

This was an amazing post. I only visit this forum ocassionally, and realize I have no standing here.

That fence is terrible. Get rid of the fence. No amount of tweaking will make it look good. It will only look a little bit less terrible. You experts are too nice and you all caved.

DIY, you have a really nice house, and it still looks worse than before you started the improvements. You are continuing to throw good money after bad. Not a recipe for success in any endeavor. I would not hire a DO IT YOURSELF brain surgeon and you should not be a DIY landscaper. You do not have an eye for design. Not one bit. Yaardvaark knows his stuff (I lurk here a bit) and in my opinion you should just ask him what he would do if it was his house and then DO THAT. I'm talking about starting over from sqaure one. Chalk it up to experience and go have a few beers.
Christine


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Tell us how you really feel, Christine.

In truth, I would have gone with the 6 months ago photo in the original post - edited, neatened, replaced a shrub or two and not toyed with the fence idea. But DIY made as good a save as can be. Painted to match the house and the "shock of the new" will be pretty well gone.

Question remains as to what to put outside the fence so the bottom isn't floating - smaller spireas? nice but can get boring; Crimson Pygmy barberry? Nice color, but thorny. Boxwood? Just about everything I can think of at the moment becomes hedgy.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

@annieGolden

Hey thanks for your thoughts, I wouldn't hire a DIY brain surgeon either, unless he was the Dr. from the Simpsons, Dr. Nick.

But then again this isnt brain surgery :~)

I see you dont like my fence, maybe I can come by and build one for you :/


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

I think your revamped fence looks better than the first fence. Painting it to match your trim will probably help it out, too.

I really liked the original landscape, but it's important to have a functional yard that works for your needs. It can't always be about looks and we don't all have large landscaping budgets.

Maybe you can re-create something like the original shrub design (before you removed it to make room for the fence) but have it in front of, and to the side of, your fence. That will reduce the lawn area AND provide privacy, as well as give a nod to the design that really suited the style of your lovely home.

However, I'm no expert and my front yard is also in need of help ;-)


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Anniegolden seems unclear on who owns the property!

Regarding the vent, do you think maybe it isn't supposed to be covered with insulation? Are there other vents?

Regarding planting outside the fence, I think a varied planting would be best, much of it evergreen. I am quite delighted at the prospect of seeing a fresh take on foundation planting - moving it away from the foundation, but still nesting the house. I think it will work.

Karin L


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Personally I think if you are tossed betwwen the two, pavers would be much more appropriate. We are considering that as well for our house. You may also want to consider stamped concrete. I would either do a complementary transparent stain on the fence or a paint on the fence and some nice landscaping on the outside. It would really add depth to your home.

Can I ask how you got your pictures on here? I am having a horrible time posting them.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

@karinL
The vent is supposed to be a crawlspace vent. The reasoning behind it was to let air flow underneath your house so there is no moisture build up and no mold. however, these never worked well, and you still get moisture under there. Many experts are no longer putting these vents in and instead opting to cover the dirt in the crawl space with a thick plastic barrier and put in a dehumidifier.
Also, you are supposed to have more than one for "air flow", I only have one for some reason. So....... its pretty useless.

@ karen47401

I use google +. I "share" my pics from my phone to my google+ page, and then when I am writing a post I type in
You go to the pic you want to share on you google+ page, or any other pic host, and right click on it. then click "Copy Image URL" and put it in between the "" on the img src thingy.

Hope that helps


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

karinl, of course, you are correct. It is DIY's yard. My response was over the top, but sincere. If I lived next door to DIY I would never say a word. But that is an advantage of these forums, because we can state our true opinions. And perhaps this might benefit somebody at some point.

In any area of design, it is hugely a matter of opinion and personal taste. However, beauty vs ugliness is an incremental continuum - at one end of the continuuum virtually everyone would say that a design was beautiful, and at the other end virtually everyone would say that it was awful.

When an individual solicits assistance on a public forum, that person will get a public response. DIY did not post on this forum to make new friends, but to get help with his design.
Christine


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

"DIY did not post on this forum to make new friends, but to get help with his design."

Actually, lol, I didn't I wanted opinions on Pavers or Floating Decks, but then got pulled into this. LOL

Anywhoo, I like the way it looks, but have to wait for it to dry out before painting it.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Regarding that vent that is insulated and not working... may I suggest you use pavers near the house and dig the area out around the vent while putting in concrete block in a U shape with the ends of the U touching the house on both sides. Then you can take that hole and cover it with a paver to match the rest of the patio. This way the area with the vent still stays exposed to the air, yet is hidden. And with pavers in front, instead of concrete, they can always be easily moved if you ever want to run electrical outlets for Cmas lights or a water faucet or whatever to your patio. The area directly around my house I like to keep covered in pavers instead of plants or concrete for airflow and easy remodeling in the future.


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RE: pavers, floating deck, or something else (PICS)

Looks much better.

Gray square pavers would look best. Very clean and square, and the same blue-gray family, not yellowish gray.


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RE: pavers,

Sorry--I actually meant RECTANGULAR. Not the 1' concrete square steppingstones. :-) If it looks like bluestone or slate, all the better. If it IS bluestone or slate--the best.


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