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Please comment on my design plans

Posted by v1rtu0s1ty Zone 5a, Northern IL (My Page) on
Tue, Aug 10, 10 at 2:19

I am still in the design stage of my patio project. My friends will be helping me dig the dirt sometime September. I still haven't decided what shape to use for the patio yet. I will also be putting a pergola but probably not cover the entire patio with pergola. I'm not sure, I still can't decide. :) The pergola though will not be close to the house to give room for the trees, perennials, shrubs I will be planting by the wall.

Here is a picture of what my current backyard looks like.

The picture below contains my plan. My wife liked it. I also like it. I'm planning to put tall growing varieties of arborvitae by the house. I am also planning of planting a Northern Catalpa tree. I already bought it.

This picture doesn't have a patio yet. I couldn't find a picture that matches my picture's perspective.

I need your comments/input please. Thanks a lot! :)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Please comment on my design plans

I like it too.I add some colour,maybe you select some.
Photobucket

Here is a link that might be useful: if need more ideas pics


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

Thanks for the ideas. :)

Keep em coming!


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

Virtuous, the arborvitaes are a nice choice. They look GREAT there and bring some vertical interest!

Still no garden/foundation planting along the back of the house though? Is that how you'd prefer it, or do you want a garden along the back of your home?


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

krycek1984,

I'm a little confuse about garden/foundation planting. Are you referring to the area just beside big wall of my house where I will put the arborvitaes?

But yes, I like to have a garden beside the house. Right now on picture, I only have the arborvitaes. I will be putting more.

I'll draw a top view so I can explain my plans. :D


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

v1rtu0s1ty, IIRC, on a previous thread you had a diagram of your backyard. Would it be possible to post that diagram here?

Also, which direction does the back of the house face? And how far is it from the back of the house to the proposed location of the catalpa?

Do you have any thoughts about what size patio you're interested in? Enough space for a table? Casual seating? Something else?


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

which direction does the back of the house face?
Back of house faces west.

And how far is it from the back of the house to the proposed location of the catalpa?
The distance of the catalpa might be somewhere 24-28ft from the back of the house. I am thinking of killing the sunburst honeylocust. My wife and I don't like it. She likes the Catalpa a lot.

Do you have any thoughts about what size patio you're interested in? Enough space for a table? Casual seating? Something else?
About patio, I really would like to make it big maybe about 25 ft by 15 ft but it won't be rectangle. I'm thinking of different areas. I like to make it different. Patio beside the house is very common. I'm also putting a fire pit. :) I also would like to provision wiring for post lights but not sure how to do it.

Thanks! :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Old thread


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

I would make absolutely sure you're going to allow clearance for the Northern Catalpa. Glorious tree, I remember one from one of my childhood playmate's yards - the often 12" leaves were fascinating and the blooms were pretend orchids.

However, I'd not want to be up on a ladder hand pulling big leaves and big seed pods out of my gutters. Growing at a moderate to fast rate it can reach 40-60' in height with a spread of 20-40' at maturity. (I know, I know, maturity can take years and though none of this could be a problem for you, it might be for the next owner.) Consider also that it'll be one of the last trees to leaf out late in the spring. And, because of the leaf size, it produces dark shade which could have an impact on your grass and existing garden beds. It also dumps its leaves all at once after the first hard frost.

Working out a plan for patios, pergolas ought to come first before you give up a big chunk of real estate to one tree.


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

Great notes there! I will definitely follow what you said! ;)

Thanks so much!


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

  • Posted by tibs 5/6 OH (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 10, 10 at 19:06

The back of my house faces west. We have no shade in the afternoon and early evening, the times we like to entertain and eat outside. And I have lots of trees, but none of them in the right spot. This is due to location of the driveway that divides the lot, overhead wires and my dumb planting. Do what all the design manuals say, go out there and plot where shadows fall, or where you want them to fall. An over head pergola is nice only when the sun is directly over head, you will need something like vines, latice, roll shades, trees in the right location.


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

How wide will the arborvitae get? That, it seems to me, would dictate the minimum distance the patio can be from the house. Or do you imagine a wide bed next to the house, then some lawn beyond it before you reach the patio?

When I think of a "not rectangular" patio, I think of two connected areas: squares with overlapping corners or the rounded equivalent, the figure-eight (or since this is a garden forum, call it a pear, bilobal gourd, etc.). I'm imagining one of the areas west of the sliding glass doors, and the other area to the northwest (west of the crabapple). But that's just me.

Is the catalpa meant to shade part of the patio, and the pergola the other part of the patio? [And re. shading the house in general, would it be a good idea to plant a medium-sized shade tree about 3-5 feet north of the southern fence, and 15-20' west of the house?]

The farther you put the patio from the house, the farther everything will have to be carried when you eat outdoors. One of the pro's recently mentioned suggesting a client carry the food, utensils, etc., to the proposed site a few times before finalizing the location. How far is too far? Of course, after everything's paved, you could buy what IIRC is called a "tea cart" and park it next to the sliding glass doors, then once it's full, make a single trip (or at any rate, fewer trips) to the dining area.


Tea carts:
http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&source=imghp&biw=1070&bih=832&q=%22tea+cart%22&gbv=2&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

tibs, I will do more research before I plant it.

missingtheobvious, I think the arbs I want has a mature diameter of 4-5 ft only or even less. I like your idea on your second paragraph.

The catalpa will be used for shade. However, the patio will have a vine. I really like the Wisteria vines. But if I find something better, I can always change my mind. I will check Riverbirch this weekend it's at 10 ft from west border of my property. I'll check it's shadow.

Good idea about the distance of patio to the house. I will think about it again.

Thanks for all your inputs. It really helps me. :)

I'll come up with a new drawing.


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

Here is the new plan. I used MSPaint because I don't have Microsoft Visio at the moment. Hopefully, you will still understand it.

If you noticed, I've added more bed. I'm not going to finish it this year since this is a major project and a lot of cost as well. :D

Near the River birch tree is a bench. The bench will be sitting on a stone too. On the right side, there will be a gazebo. I fell in love with the Gazebo setup at Metra Station Itasca. It's a very beautiful garden. It's the best Metra Station. :D I see it Monday to Friday. The garden is telling me, COPY ME!!! :D hehehe


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sod cutter

I forgot to ask. I know I can use shovel to dig the dirt. However, can I use sod cutter so that job will be easier? I will make sure that dirt will be soft when I do it. Usually my dirt is easy to work with.

I remember my neighbor told me he rented sod cutter to dig his dirt. That's where I got the idea.

Ok, please let me know. Thanks!


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

v1rtu0s1ty, I really like the design.

Are the paths going to have irregular edges, or is that simply your shorthand on this plan? I like the look of rectangular pavers or stone with a zig-zagging edge. I'll never have a hardscape path wandering through the theoretical-future garden in my back pasture, but if I did, it would be that style.

Good location for the bench.

I like the pillar-lamps. How tall were you thinking of? Will the lights be on the tops or on the side facing the path?


Now I'm going to quibble a bit -- though I do realize the idea is still evolving and also that you put this plan together quickly.

= The gazebo symbol on the plan is only about 5 or 6' wide. I imagine the actual gazebo would be considerably larger -- maybe twice as large? In fact, the gazebo may be wider than the bed that houses it.

= The business part of the patio, on the plan, is only about 12' east-west, and then narrows at the firepit. I don't think you have a usable amount of space there, particularly if a dining table is involved (or will that be in the gazebo?). That part of the patio functions also as the path between the house's back door and the southern part of the property, so there needs to be enough room for people to be able to walk easily through or around whatever furniture will be located there.

= Will there be enough light near the sliding glass door? None of the pillar-lamps are located in that area. I see what I think is a fixture on the side of the house, but in future years it might be covered by that arb -- or at least it looks like the arb would cut off the light that should go to the northwest.


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

missingtheobvious,

Thanks for all the comments. My changes to drawing are just temporary. I had a hard time since I was only using MSPaint. I don't have any Microsoft Visio yet. This is the software I used to create my diagram.

The pergola on the drawing is small. The size inside should accomodate 2 benches. I guess it would be 8-10 ft inside diameter.

The patio on the drawing was also small. I was aware. I just did that so I can get some feedback about the layout.

Great idea about the light near the sliding door. I'll take note of it. Also, the pillars might not be done this year so I can save some money. However, to answer your question about the height, the pillar will be around 42-46 inches excluding the lamp. I think the lamp height is somewhere 18-22 inches tall.

By the way, since I will be provisioning for the electrical wires, what pipe should I use? Should I use galvanized conduit pipe since it will be buried?


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

Good work! Just a little input:

Two of your spruce trees might be too close to the border (and will cost you a cooperative neighbor down the road). Mature spruce trees spread 20 feet at least. Do you want your neighbor to pick up your needles on a daily basis (and curse your ancestors in their head)?

Or perhaps you can find a very narrow kind of spruce? I remember there are some narrow Thuja and Pinus available and they grow as tall as spruce.


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if I remember correctly, the name that I planted is emerald arborvitae. Do they get wide?


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No, they don't get wide, they are very upright.


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I started the digging yesterday and continued today. I completed 32ft x 15 ft but I haven't hauled away the dirt yet. I also sprayed round up on the dug grass since they will become part of a new garden bed. :)

I need your comment though on the pergola I superimposed on the last picture. I've been thinking days on where to put it and my heart and eyes says that this is the best location. I really love it.

The right side about 4 ft from the pergola will have my grill. The left side about 10-15 ft from the pergola is where I will install the firepit.


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leave dirt

Also, should I give a space by each pergola post so I can plant something on it? Or will it look better if I just continue surrounding installing bricks? I know it's personal preference. :)


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

Wow Neil, you've been busy! The pergola will be a very nice addition!!

The short base on the posts that your picture depicts looks good at that height. Plants/vines can go from there...

Emily


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

Thanks Emily. I am having so much problem deciding on what orientation the pergola should be and what other features I can add to the patio(firepit, seat). Right now, I really like how the pergola is laid out as shown on top. I tried landscape orientation and I didn't like it. I don't be able to install the pergola this year but I will provision for the pergola footings.

Anyways, here are some latest pics.


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

I changed my pergola plan and this is now the final. Regarding my patio project, the 13 tons of CA-6 crushed concrete was delivered yesterday morning. I also rented a tiller at Home Depot. I tilled from 6:30pm until 8:08pm. :) After I went inside, I thought I was going to collapse. I really felt so bad. It was like tag of war. I returned it this morning.

I started hauling away the dirt. I've removed about half of the tilled dirt but I was only able to level about 1/4 of the whole area. It was brutal too since I was the only one and I'm only using shovel(I'm sure my neighbors are thinking I am nuts)!

The cart attached to my tractor which I bought for $30 at Craigslist last year was a life saver. :)

Here are pics taken today.

Here is my latest and final plan

Just few shots but I have more, just different angle.


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Oh ya, like what you have going. That pergola will be very nice with patio design. It looks good to scale and the arborvitae will do the job for lift. Keep going looks great with the design of the home. Your neighbors are going to come a calling. I don't have to say have fun with this because you are and I know how much work goes into a project like this. Please post pictures of the project as I am looking forward to it. Good luck!


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

Thanks! Here is the latest update as of yesterday. I'm 95% complete with the digging. WOOT! WOOT! WOOT!

I'll be able to complete that small part tonight. :)

I invited 2 of my friends to help me do the digging of 42" deep holes this coming Saturday. The holes will be for the pergola. Tomorrow night, I'll be putting strings and wooden stakes. It will be used as a guide for the holes.


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Here is the latest update for today. The bricks were delivered today. I've also completed the digging. I have started putting the CA-6 crush stones. I will continue tomorrow afternoon.


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

Good morning folks.

I'm not sure if I did the right decision of changing my pergola plan decision Friday night. I put it back perpendicular to the house so I can have more room on right right near the firepit. My friends came over yesterday to help with the digging of 48" deep holes. We created six holes. It was tough because the clay was hard and we would encounter 7-8" diameter rocks. :(

Anyways, this is what I am going to implement soon. My wife is questioning me this morning. Looks like she doesn't like it because it's narrow. It's 9ft x 20ft. the holes on the longer side is 10ft apart. Holes are 12" diameter.

Now I'm not at ease since my wife has some comments but my eyes tell me it's going to look nice. I need your comments too. Thanks.


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

It seems to be more of a hall-way to go in grand-style to the playset than an area to be lingered in. Not sure if that's helpful or not, but just my first impression.

Where on this patio do you need shade the most or privacy from other houses... maybe that would be a guide to how the pergola should go.


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

Thanks isabella__ma. I really appreciate your comments.

The area that will need to be shaded is right underneath the pergola. The honeylocust tree is actually giving some shade now to that area and I'm very happy with it. The pergola will give more shade near the word September on the picture(bottom right).

I have also put a table and chairs and the 9ft wide is perfect for the size. I can actually make it 9.5 ft wide since the holes I made are 12" in diameter.

Regarding the playset, my kids doesn't want it anymore. I will ask wife if she wants to sell it.

Does the placement of the pergola look bad though? Was it bad that it's perpendicular to the house? And yeah, I wanted something like a hall-way style and was happy that I was able to provide more space to the right side where the fire pit is.

Thanks again. More comments are appreciated. :)


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Hmmm, just wondering why I am not getting enough comments. Is it because it looks good?


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Perhaps there aren't many comments because we haven't seen a plan of this version, and we don't really understand how it's going to be.

You've done an amazing amount of work in 3 or 4 weeks. I particularly appreciate your measuring ability (that sort of thing takes me forever) and the neatness of your excavation.

I can sympathize about the rocks in the postholes: I encountered one that size this spring when planting a rather small perennial. The stone was a good bit larger than the originally-planned size of the hole it sat at the bottom of. I can't imagine digging 4' holes and coping with rocks that far down.


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Looking good! Great job so far. I would make sure the pergola's design matches the house architecture, as it will look like it's a part of the house. So I wouldn't use greek columns like in one previous design, but just do a light simple design. :)


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I have a kind of random comment that is not really about the grand design, but a narrow point.

The pergola could be a narrow rectangle if it is at the edge of a patio and forms a kind of nook that draws you in, forms a nice boundary to the patio and also if the location at that edge is what blocks the angle of the sun. Or it could be more squarish with intent to cover more of the usable area and be open on all sides, or one or more sides.

It may feel claustrophobic to walk out the doors directly under a narrow rectangular pergola, and if you orient it perp to the house, you would need to pay more attention to how it lines up with doors, window, heights. You lose a lot of the "usable" space under the pergola if it encompasses the egress to the house, unless you make it so large that you can afford the dead space.


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Thanks for the responses. I really appreciate it. Yep, I'm not going to use greek columns, just the bare 6x6 post.

frankie_in_zone_7, thanks for your comments too. I made sure that the pergola is properly lined up with the door. The end of the pergola is about 6ft away from the door. I'm hoping that 9.5 ft wide won't look bad. There is nothing I can do anymore since the holes are already made. I looked at it this morning and to me, it wasn't really narrow but isn't enough wide as well.

These are the 3 girder/rafter end patterns I really like. The last link is what I really like most.
First pattern

Second pattern

Third pattern


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

I'm sooo tired today! I completed 3 posts. Luckily I've been deadlifting weights lately. It helped with the lifting of the 6x6x12 pressure treated woods. It was quite heavy for my built. I need to buy 10 more bags of 80 lbs Quikrete. Each hole used 4 to 5 bags of 80 lbs Quikrete. Oh, the bags were heavy as well.

Anyways, I'm glad posts are now erected. I'll work on the remaining 3 holes tomorrow.


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Yup, I will plan on the lighting next year. :)

Here are the latest pictures. All posts are now poured with concrete. I am so tired but I am extremely happy. I'm so happy that my wife told me she like it.


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Where are pics of the final product?


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I'm still not done with the pergola. I just completed the girders. I'll be working on the rafters now. :)

I'll post pics later.


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It's getting tougher lately. When I get home from work around 7pm, it's already dark. There are times too when I am the late guy for 1 week. We do rotation to support our users overseas. When I'm the late guy, I usually take the 6:40pm train which gets me home around 8:30pm :( That means, I won't be able to do any for that week. This is the reason why I don't have much update.

Anyways, I'll be off from Oct 6-8 next week! WOOHOO!!! :D

Here are the latest pictures. I'm so tired. I completed the girders and 2 rafters. The cutting of the pattern on the edges of the pressure treated wood is very time consuming. I am shocked that pressure treated wood are hard to work with or maybe because it's still wet. My right collar bone is kinda hurting.

Rafters will 16" apart.


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I've started laying the bricks. Once I complete(hopefully by this weekend), I'll backfill the dirt and design the garden bed around it.


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I've been working on the project nightly. I can't afford to wait for weekend since it's getting cold now. I usually arrive 6:30pm from work but around this time, it's already dark.

Anyways, here are some updates. This was from Oct 12


October 12 pics





October 13 pics



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RE: Please comment on my design plans

  • Posted by botann z8 SEof Seattle (My Page) on
    Sat, Oct 16, 10 at 23:01

I'm surprised you haven't addressed the privacy issue yet. Usually that's one of the first things to come up in a landscape design.
You should design from the outside first, then from the house out. Design your front yard from the picture window, the back from the kitchen sink or patio. Once you wander out in the yard to make decisions, you're lost.


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Privacy? You mean neighbors seeing us through the windows?


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October 15 updates

I've completed more today. It looks almost complete today. I'll be cutting few more pavers tomorrow and installing the edging then I can rest finally. :)

Anyways, here are some October 15 pics which I thought I posted but I can't believe I missed it.


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You have done an amazing job. It has been a while since I have checked in on this forum, but it was a treat to watch your progress.

When can you come play at my house? :)


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Thanks so much! :)

Here is my latest shot as of today. Stolen shot taken by my wife from our bedroom. :) I completed the pergola rafters.

Next Saturday, the only things I need to do are:
a. add more crushed stones at the edge and fix the pavers that aren't leveled. There are only few of them I think 4 or 5 pavers(actually seen near the foot of the ladder).
b. cut the remaining 6 pavers
c. install plastic edging
d. rent vibratory compactor
e. spread Quickrete Powerlock
g. add another layer of pavers for the firepit.
h. add low retaining wall for sitting(if I have extra pavers)
i. have a glass of milk, hehehe! :D


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WOW! that is really impressive and gorgeous! great job.

I have to confess; when i started reading the thread and I saw the photoshop pics i was thinking "here we go again...homeowners who have no idea the complexity or cost of something they can put together on the computer" but you made your idea a reality and greatly improved your home at the same time. What a wonderful outdoor space you have created - perfect for entertaining or just sitting and watching the kids play.


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Thank you very much drtygrl! Those words you uttered really took away all my exhaustion. :)

I'll post pics on Sunday. I won't be able to do any work this week since I was tasked to stay late by my boss this week. I wish it was Friday today, hehehe.

Thanks again!!!


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Beautiful! You've done a great job realizing your vision. What a great space you will have to enjoy next spring! (Or get a patio heater and enjoy it all winter!)

Seems like you will have lots of privacy once your trees mature even more. Lovely!


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Thanks so much eightzoner! :)


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The pergola does add a sense of privacy to your yard; I haven't commented so far because yours is a situation I find difficult - big houses, small trees, feeling exposed and "windswept" - I'd probably want an evergreen barrier on all sides. But that's me.


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Yes, planting an evergreen is part of my plan too. Thanks.


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Updates: :D

a. add more crushed stones at the edge and fix the pavers that aren't leveled. There are only few of them I think 4 or 5 pavers(actually seen near the foot of the ladder).
b. cut the remaining 6 pavers. DONE!!!
c. install plastic edging
d. rent vibratory compactor
e. spread Quickrete Powerlock
g. add another layer of pavers for the firepit.
h. add low retaining wall for sitting(if I have extra pavers)
i. have a glass of milk, hehehe! :D


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Here's what I've completed today. I've installed about 75% of the edge restraint. I also removed few bricks. I need to add more crushed stones and screenings. Also this evening, I built an edge restraint from a 2x6 pressure treated wood for the firepit. I had to remove the crushed stones and screenings so I can make the 2x6 a little lower than the pavers.


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Look great but,man, you're making us all look like slackers.


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:D hehehe, thanks so much!

Update(s):
Just got in from working outside. I'm so glad that it didn't rain anymore after 11:30am. I was able to complete the remaining pavers. I was also able to spread interlocking sand and showered them gently. I can now work on the steps and as well as the firepit!

Anyways, here are the latest pics taken 30 mins ago.


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Wow! Great work, it looks fabulous. Are you going to plant any vines to grow on the pergola? It might be nice to someday replace the play-set with a water feature, so you can sit under the pergola and listen to the water while you enjoy your new patio. I'm sure you're biting at the bit to think up your next project ;oP


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You are correct. The playset will go away. Even the kids seldom play with it anymore. Looks like I made them addicted to gardening/landscaping too! LOL! HAHAHA! :D

And yes too on the vines. A very nice friend of mine will give me her clematis in spring. I will also put big planters at the bottom of each pergola posts so I can grow hyacinth bean vine. I also like to have honeysuckle. I'm still debating which vine to grow. :P

I need to put the final overlay on top of the rafters to minimize warping.

Thank you so much for the kind words. :)


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I completed the firepit yesterday. I completed the installation of overlay over the rafters using 2x2 pressure treated woods today. I had extra pavers so I laid down some pavers to check how the sitting wall is going to look like. I have not put any landscaping adhesive yet. It's a dry fit. The count is just enough for the sitting wall but I don't have anymore left for the 2 pillars.

The only thing remaining is backfilling the dirt but I've already started last week.

Anyways, here are the latest pictures taken this afternoon.


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I have kept up with the progress since you first posted! I am so Impressed. I know that the work you did was hard work. I can't wait to see the yard take shape around the pergola. Keep us posted. Your vision was wonderful.


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And all over the neighborhood, if you listen carefully, you can hear the neighbor women saying to their husbands, "Now why can't you make me a pergola like v1rtu0s1ty built?"

... and the neighbor men taking your name in vain....

It's all wonderful, but I'd particularly like to mention the ways you've used the two paver colors. Also the giant-stone-block effect you're getting with the vertical pavers on the (temporary) benches (in the final version, will you use pavers inside, or cheaper concrete, blocks, etc.?).

I look forward to seeing how you finish the "edges" -- the flowerbed expansions and whatever else you do to deal with the grade differential around the patio, and the paths or other ways you handle the transitions from the patio to various parts of the yard. You have a nice long winter to polish those plans.


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Thank you so much mjjones453 and missingtheobvious! I'm so very happy with your posts. :) :) :)

I have kept up with the progress since you first posted! I am so Impressed. I know that the work you did was hard work. I can't wait to see the yard take shape around the pergola. Keep us posted. Your vision was wonderful.

Thanks again! My other very long thread with the title "help please on existing bed and shape", taught me a lot. I remember, someone posted not to just jump on a project but plan, plan and plan. I followed their advice and this is what I came up with, I was able to use it here. :)

in the final version, will you use pavers inside, or cheaper concrete, blocks, etc.?).

Inside will still be hollow. Those gaps won't be seen since both ends will have pillars(please see picture below). I am really shocked to the strength of the LocTite Landscaping adhesive I used for the steps. I didn't put a lot but it's very strong. I tried pulling one paver but I failed. :)

I look forward to seeing how you finish the "edges" -- the flowerbed expansions and whatever else you do to deal with the grade differential around the patio, and the paths or other ways you handle the transitions from the patio to various parts of the yard. You have a nice long winter to polish those plans.

I'll definitely need some guidance from everyone here regarding the edges. Right now, I'm thinking of putting 3 narrow varieties of arborvitaes. I'm thinking of putting it near the pillar(not the pillars on the pergola). Then also plant perennials. However, I remember I was told from this forum before not to put perennials along with the evergreens. I might have misunderstood it. What I'll do is visit the pictures of 4 beautiful gardens I went to this year and I'll use it as a reference plus the guidance I'll get here. :) I'll incorporate colors as well as patterns(not just rely on flowers).

Also, I will put 4 huge containers/pots near the posts then plant hyacinth vine/scarlet runner beans. For the other 2 posts near the lawn, I will plant vigorous clematis, maybe 2 plants for each posts. I'll build something for them to crawl on.

Anyways, I drew this plan about a month ago while I was on my way to work. Oh, I take Metra when I go to work. :) Honestly, I think I used more than 10 pages of this notebook. I had so many different plans. I can't decide which one to implement. Hehehe.


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

Thanks dminorfmajor! :) By the way, I like your GW handle, it's totally cool! :D

Today, I finally put adhesive on the sitting wall. I've also completed backfilling the exposed areas with dirt. While I was backfilling, I created a bed around the patio too.

I'll hold off for now on the building of the 2 pillars. I will build it next year along with the lighting. I want to give myself a rest but will continue to plan. :)


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

You have done an amazing job on building your pergola and laying the bricks,etc. May I ask how old are your children? You mentioned that they rarely use the swing set anymore and that it will be going. Did you rent a sod cutter? Everything is cut so straight. What does a sod cutter look like and what was the rental cost? Hourly or daily rate? Did you know how to use it before you rented it? Did the neighbor who suggested you rent one to make the job easier; did he help you? The depth of the area, is that done by the sod cutter too? Or manually with shovel and sweat equity?
I assume since it looks like your bricks are almost laid up to the foundation that you plan on using containers for your flowers. I noticed that you had started out with a drawing of some tall arborvitae. This may be a stupid question but why would one want a fire pit that close to the house and to the pergola itself? Is the purpose of a fire pit mainly ambiance? I hate to see your vinyl siding melted or the cedar pergola go up in smoke. Now I need to look back and see if that pergola is made from pressure treated wood or cedar, as I make this comment. I noticed on one of the pictures, there is a black, plastic mold where you might have used to guide you in laying your bricks..am I seeing right? Where do one purchase that mold for such a large area? I've seen these molds advertised but they aren't that big. Do you just have to buy many and hook them together somehow? Oh, I'm full of questions I know but I'm fascinated and would love to replace my concrete breezeway or build a patio in the back of our house. Since we live in a gated, Sr. Citizens community, I'd have to get approval and submit plans,etc. before we do it. Since we are not physically able to do stuff like this anymore(knee replacements and aging)we'd have to hire somebody. Great job, pat yourself on the back. I can invision some flowerbeds along the fence line, after the children's swing set is removed, and patio containers under the pergola. Go for the "fiberglass look" containers rather than terracotta because they are much lighter in weight. They have really improved the fiberglass type, so they look like terracotta or stone. Terracotta has a tendency not only to be heavy once the soil is in them but they can crack from cold winters. Great job! Many thanks for sharing this project's pictures with all of us.


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

I've got 4 kids. I got married at a very young age. :) My eldest is 16. I'm 39 right now.

I didn't rent a sod cutter. If you look at the first pictures, you will notice that I sliced each grass with the shovel. First, I marked the area that I want to dig. Then I started digging them with a shovel. I didn't remove the grass yet. What I do is put the shovel on the grass and jump on it to make a really deep cut. I overlap each cut. Then I brought in my tractor and cut and started pulling each grass. It was very quick yet a little pain on my back since I was bending. I was able to fill the cart in less than 2 mins.

When all the grasses with dirt were removed, the area was left with so many uneven level. I was planning to remove the dirt manually using shovel but I was told to use a gas powered tiller to loosen up the dirt. So I rented one from Home Depot. I think it was $34 for 4 hours. I was wrong with my impression when I used it. I thought it was easy but it was not. It almost ripped my back apart. I used it continuously for 2 hours with few rest since I didn't want to add more cost plus it was getting dark as well. After the tillering, my whole body was shaking body and was so painful. Oh, the reason why I tilled it is for easy scooping of the dirt. It was really easy scooping. If I didn't till it, I don't know how long it will take me. However, I missed few areas but not that big.

The firepit is about 18' to the house. I don't think that will melt the sidings. When I use the firepit, it will have a metal mesh cover. The wood I used is pressure treated wood.

Yes, I put a plastic edging all around. I secured it with 12 inch nails, 20 inch gap per nail. I also backfilled the dirt over the edging. I bought the edging from Home Depot. I spent $241. However, a customer was telling me that I will save tons of $$ if I go to Aspen Valley in route 72(Higgins). I went there and bought the same total length and was able to save $90+. I returned the edging to Home Depot. :) Each edge piece is 8 ft long.

Question about those fiber glass containers, can I leave them outside?

Thanks!


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

Absolutely AWESOME! Hmmm...northern IL....perhaps you'll travel! I'll hire ya to come to Madison and do a patio like that for me next summer! ha ha ha....

Naw....this girl will learn how to do it herself by then! =) This post has helped a great deal! Everything you've done is absolutely amazing!!

Angie


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

Thank you so much Angie!!! :)


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

Hi, I've been away from the forum for a while so just now read through the entire post. It was quite cool to see the project unfold. It looks great. I put in a small flagstone step this summer and that was plenty of work--I'm completely impressed by what you've accomplished! Re finishing the edges, I happened to pick up a new landscape design book from our local library this weekend called "Home Outside -- Creating the Landscape You Love" by Julie Moir Messervy. Just checked and it's on amazon with 6 five-star reviews so I must not be the only one who likes it. Loads of beautiful pics and a lot of useful layout suggestions. I bet it'd be fun reading for you and your family this winter. Good luck with all your plans!


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

Thanks dsb22! I'm sorry, it's just now that I saw an update on this thread. Been so busy with schedules plus I got hit by a flu.

I'll check the book that you mentioned above. :)

Thank you so much!


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

  • Posted by catkim San Diego 10/24 (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 7, 10 at 11:53

Nice results! The finished product looks better than the mock-ups, thanks to your meticulous work.

One photo left me a little concerned -- the wood posts appear to be set in concrete in the dirt. I wonder if there is gravel under and around the concrete? To prevent rot? On our patio, the wood pillars are not in contact with the concrete; instead they are bolted in place to metal fittings with a very tiny airspace between concrete and wood -- no rot. Won't even treated lumber deteriorate in a wet setting? I have NO expertise in construction, just curious and concerned.


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

Hi catkim,

I did put pea-sized gravel under the post. I think I put 6" thick and it's compacted. I'm also not concerned about the water it's because I witness the 48 inch deep hole after we had a strong rain. The water was like 1.5 - 2ft deep. I was really upset since I wanted to work on it. After a day, I looked at the hole and the water is gone. It's still muddy though. If you look at one of the pictures above, the cement is sloping away from the wood. I made it like that so water will pitch away from the wood.


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

Here is how it looks right now.


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

Impressive - inspirational even. Very nicely done, and thank you for sharing the photos!

KarinL


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

GREAT JOB!! I was in the planning stages of my project and your pictures have answered alot of questions I had. Time for me to get started.
Thanks again for all the pictures...


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

Thanks Karin and Rosa!

By the way, I made a blog site the other night. I put my patio/pergola build in there. I'm glad that I can change the date of the post. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Gardening Blog


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

Just read this post for the first time and I'm salivating. Can't wait to see what you grow on the pergola!


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

You must be so excited for spring so you can fully enjoy your gorgeous project!!


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

Hi editornj and drtygrl,

I'll start planning next week. I'll definitely post pictures. :)

Thanks!

Neil


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

Thanks eddie. I wasn't able to do anything at all this year. I was down. I had a knee operation. Hopefully next year, I'll be able to add some to it.

I'm back in the saddle! :)


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

I noticed my images are gone. My old domain is gone. Anyways, here are few of the pics I posted before plus new ones taken yesterday. :)

and this is it as of yesterday

This post was edited by v1rtu0s1ty on Wed, Jul 31, 13 at 17:49


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

Beautiful! Well done! Bravo! You should be extremely proud of your work.


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

Thank you so much duluthinbloom! Everyday, I go there when I wake up and once I get home from work hoping I would see morning glory blooms. :)


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

The threads detailing the progress in your yard are among GWebs best threads ever. So sorry to see the earlier pictures are gone. Thanks for posting before and afters.

In retrospect, anything you would have done differently for size/placement, etc?


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

Honestly, I'm very satisfied with the size and placement. However, It's not complete yet. :) I will put lighted pillars on both ends of the low retaining wall(seat). My wife is also asking me to put a counter top for her bbq grill. I'm trying to figure out the best place for it.

I'm also thinking of adding 5ft wide stone walkway or crushed limestone that will lead to the patio. I am also thinking of putting a pergola like structure similar to the pergola. It will be on the north side. However, I'm not sure when I will start it.

All the pics I posted before can be seen from here
Patio/Pergola Build


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

I imagine your future projects will turn out well too. Sounds like you will have quite the garden hideaway there.

Thanks for the link to old pics too. I'm sure it will be fun to browse through (and great material to show DH for yard ideas!) but I think I need to be on a pc to view them so I will have to enjoy them later.


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RE: Please comment on my design plans

I should convert it to browser friendly page. I will remove the javascript code and use plain css instead. :)

Have fun!

This post was edited by v1rtu0s1ty on Thu, Aug 1, 13 at 23:57


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