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How would you turn this patio into a garden courtyard?

Posted by marti8a 8 (My Page) on
Thu, Aug 9, 12 at 18:12

Here is the overall design of the patio as it is right now, with house on 3 sides and a dry stream on the 4th side.
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View through the patio doors
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From the driveway across
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And from farther back on the driveway
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Please ignore the mess on the driveway and deck. We've had construction and then neighborhood dogs have started coming over to swim and terrorize my cat so I put up a barricade of tomato cages.

We want to build an attractive fence between the garage and house, and more fence across the back of the patio to enclose it into a courtyard.

We thought of a brick wall, but like the idea of a wood fence a little better. Seems like it would look a little warmer than a blank brick wall. Also, if we do wood, we can set the posts into the dry stream area and grow something along the fence inside the courtyard. A brick wall would have to be built on the patio and then everything would have to be in planters.

It needs to have a gate, either facing the driveway or possibly around the corner, but that area is tight. The only faucet close to the front yard is on the wall on the patio.

I love this fence and gate and would love to have something like it between the garage and house, but it's not private enough to put around the patio.
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Any suggestions? I'd like to build the fence between garage and house this weekend.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: How would you turn this patio into a garden courtyard?

I also like this design. How do you think this would look, without the arch, and in a rough cedar?


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RE: How would you turn this patio into a garden courtyard?

Would help if I put in the picture, right?
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RE: How would you turn this patio into a garden courtyard?

Box in the outline of the courtyard ( working 90 degrees off the corners of the house) with a low brick wall capped with bluestone to a height of 18 inches and then top the wall off with a fence as shown above .

Classic lines.

Follow suit with same style fencing and gate work between the garage and house.


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RE: How would you turn this patio into a garden courtyard?

That would look nice on the courtyard but we couldn't do that from the garage to the house, or across the narrow strip of gravel between the house and patio We considered brick, but with the drainage and deck, it just seemed wood would be a better choice.


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RE: How would you turn this patio into a garden courtyard?

Marti, I don't understand why you think a brick wall would be built "on the patio" as actually, it would not be built that way. I've seen plenty of situations where the buildings and landscape walls (everything) was brick and done right, it looks great. The look depends a lot on plantings and details, but the same would be true for a wood fence. For a garden wall, I think "done right" would require more ornamentation in the brick work than what is presently at the house. That said, I am not opposed to a wood fence either. The style you propose looks nice. Of the choice between painted or unpainted, I almost always prefer painted as it looks more "uptown." Unpainted looks more rustic.

"We want to build an attractive fence between the garage and house, and more fence across the back of the patio to enclose it into a courtyard."

I understand enclosing the patio, but the fence connection from house to garage is unclear. Where? Are you enclosing it in such a way that there is a "hallway" formed between house and driveway? What are you trying to achieve? Privacy? Security? You might show how pedestrian traffic should flow on your plan. Do you expect to reconfigure the deck/paving to work with the fence, or do you expect the fence to work with what's already in existence? It would be good for you to elaborate on your motives for this project and your expectations for how it is to be used.


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RE: How would you turn this patio into a garden courtyard?

Sorry, I guess it was only clear to me. Here is another photo showing both areas that need to be fenced. The fence from house to garage is for backyard privacy and to keep neighborhood dogs out.

I know that a brick wall should be built on a footing, but there is no room to dig a footing outside the patio because of the French drain, so if it's a brick wall, it would have to be built on the patio. And there is no where to even put a footing from the garage to the house. We can get by with digging some post holes very carefully next to the French drain though for a wood fence, although it might be better to drill holes in the patio to set the posts. I'm just not sure how it would look to have the fence jut out another foot or so past the wall of the dining room. It might look better to both of them in a straight line.

We are not tearing out the deck, so whatever is built will be built next to it.

We don't want the patio to be a hallway. It will be a fully enclosed courtyard for privacy. It will have to have a gate somewhere to access the faucet, but hopefully, the gate will seem to be a part of the fence so visitors won't think that is an entrance to the house. I would like a fairly fancy gate in the fence that goes from the garage to house though.

I would like to have plantings in the courtyard so there is something pretty to look at from the garage. I've seen enough of cars parked in the driveway and would rather not look at a blank fence either. That's why I thought of setting the fence back into the graveled area. But we could also put planters along the fence and have vines growing up the fence and some blooming plants. That might be better for the French drain too.

You're right about the painted fence. I think they look nicer than rough cedar. We just didn't know if that would look right since we have rough cedar on the arbor you can see between the house and garage.

Does this make sense?


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RE: How would you turn this patio into a garden courtyard?

Hmmm, I guess I didn't put the picture in right. Here it is.
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I drew in the yellow fence areas in Paint.

Also, it would be nice if the fence around the courtyard could have both privacy and air flow.


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RE: How would you turn this patio into a garden courtyard?

"We just didn't know if that would look right since we have rough cedar on the arbor you can see between the house and garage."

Maybe you can see that arbor clearly but I can't. Nevertheless, I don't think it must dictate a less good looking solution for the patio area. (It might be that you need to let the patio solutions dictate what happens elsewhere.) But SEEING the the other arbor might help.

I'd consider a fenced area with the corners cut at a diagonal so that the fence has a little more grace than a perfectly squared extension. And create space for planting on both sides of the fence. Consider the patio furniture arrangement when you place the gate opening.

As a side note, the dry stream is not reading that way to me. I'm seeing it more like stone mulch with some scattered larger stones. I think it needs two or three big "boulders" and for the larger rocks to coalesce in a natural looking way... not like in a line as they are at the edge of the drive.


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RE: How would you turn this patio into a garden courtyard?

I recently planted boxwood around my patio that when grown, will make a nice privacy screen. You could also use Italian Cypress which will get very tall, and would have to be planted close together to get a nice look.


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RE: How would you turn this patio into a garden courtyard?

Love the rounded corners! The arbor is visible in the 4th picture in my first post, but I'll see if I can find a better one.

I'm really afraid of planting too much near the French drain. It works and that is priority. This photo was taken right after it was put in, after a heavy downpour, and the gravel was visible again less than an hour later. We need to do one on the other side of the driveway as well.

pattycakes, I made a note to try Italian Cypress, but I need to find out if it can be planted close to that drain or if it will do ok in a planter.


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RE: How would you turn this patio into a garden courtyard?

It's funny how you live with something and don't really see it the way it is. I couldn't find a photo of the whole thing, so went outside and stood where the gate will be to take a picture, and realized that the little tree has grown to the point that it covers much of it. That will be different in the summer, and once we get a fence built between the buildings, there won't be as much visible from the driveway. But here is an old photo, when the tree was still small, and before we replaced the stone walk with a wheelchair friendly deck walk.
Stone walk added to get to deck when it rains


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RE: How would you turn this patio into a garden courtyard?

I forgot to ask Yardvaark, what is the solid tan area on your drawing?


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RE: How would you turn this patio into a garden courtyard?

When dh came home from work, I showed him this thread and suggested we do a fence that can be painted but he doesn't want to do that - says they require constant repainting. :(


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RE: How would you turn this patio into a garden courtyard?

The tan area is walkway through the gate.

"...constant repainting"... every 5 years maybe... mostly with a roller so not that bad. But the look is much better than rural-looking unpainted wood... especially with an "uptown" looking fence style. But suit thyself.

There is no reason a fence couldn't be made to work with the french drain. (Is the surface drainage inadequate by itself?)


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RE: How would you turn this patio into a garden courtyard?

From observing your photo it appears you have nice clean uncomplicated architectrual lines in your architecture.
For this reason I would follow the architectural narrative and repeat nice clean 90 degree corners for the enclosed courtyard.
Rounded corners, or 45 degree corners to my eye would muddy up the crisp line of the architecture.

If you do not want to paint the surrounding fence, which by the way will be an extension of your architecture , ( like not having part of your house painted ) then I would suggest that you stain it with a water based stain to properly unite the exterior architectural extension ( the fence) to the house.
If the fence is not finished or coordinated with the house it will always looks like an 'added on separate element' .

Below is a photo of a front court yard installation that we did about 28 years ago. The house is painted gray and the fence is stained gray for architectural unification.


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RE: How would you turn this patio into a garden courtyard?

That looks nice deviant-deziner. I've been looking around my neighborhood and there are a couple of houses with painted wood fences, and I don't recall seeing them paint them since they were put in a few years ago, and they still look fine to me. Dh gets stuck doing things a certain way because "that's the way it's done" and he's not open to new ideas in those areas. The only thing I can do is agree to do it his way and then paint it when he's gone one weekend. I've done that before and every time he gets home he thinks it looks great.


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RE: How would you turn this patio into a garden courtyard?

marti, the secrets to painting are these: if you use treated lumber, do nothing to it for at least 6 months. This will let it completely dry from the treating process. When painting, use top quality primer and paint. Suggest you DO NOT settle for something from a big box store. I am sold on Porter's Paint, and highly respect top of the line from Sherwin Williams and Benj. Moore. "Top quality" will give you a fabulous look, long lasting, easy to recoat. Ditto the quality for stains. Money well spent.

Your private patio will be great. Looking forward to seeing what you do.


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RE: How would you turn this patio into a garden courtyard?

Thanks Rosie. I'll post back when we get it done.


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RE: How would you turn this patio into a garden courtyard?

"Rounded corners, or 45 degree corners to my eye would muddy up the crisp line of the architecture."

Or such corners might add a "softer" feel and some interest to a space where hardness and flatness seem in need of a little mitigation. Find out by mocking it up with a few pointed 1 x 2s temporarily stuck/propped in the ground.

I concur with rosiew on the painting of treated lumber. I can never wait a full 6 months but it still seems to work in spite of my impatience. Have only had a little that needed re-doing. Even with Big Box paint. (I have heard others swear by Porter Paint, too.)


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RE: How would you turn this patio into a garden courtyard?

Yard, you're in Florida, right? If so, the treated stuff MAY dry sufficiently in less than 6 months.

I just don't see a logical reason for not using the very finest paint. Costs more initially, but the results last so much better in my experience.


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RE: How would you turn this patio into a garden courtyard?

Yes, I'm in Florida. But I was reflecting on my same behavior as when in Georgia.

Hmmmm... "finest paint"...? The trouble with assessing such a thing personally is that no one can run "clinical" trials with controls in the home setting. And there a lot of variables. Back when I was doing some house renovation and needing a lot of paint, a Consumer Reports study led me to Valspar paint (sold at Lowe'es) as one of the higher performing brands. (I also use gloss which holds up better than other sheens.) Being a creature of habit, I stick with it. That was a few years back and things could have changed so I don't know how it would shake out now. Maybe someone subscribing to Consumer Reports can update...?


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RE: How would you turn this patio into a garden courtyard?

Edited to add: I had a gray moment and deleted a bunch of pictures. But here is what the area looked like before:
 photo marti8aHouseCourtyard1.jpg

I thought you might like to see what we have finally done with the courtyard. The gate is not quite finished and we are playing around with where to put cross beams. Then we need to pick a stain color.

This post was edited by marti8a on Mon, Mar 10, 14 at 14:13


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RE: How would you turn this patio into a garden courtyard?

It shows promise. We'll need to see what it's like when done, too! :-)


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RE: How would you turn this patio into a garden courtyard?

So the courtyard is inside, right? Show us the inside!

Will you have raised beds for planting? Fire pit? Jacuzzi?

Suzi


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RE: How would you turn this patio into a garden courtyard?

More pix. I finished the gate yesterday.

The inside - we put bolt latches on one panel to make it removable and totally secure from the outside.

I'm going to put planters inside along the fence, remove the rocks that are in a bed on the far side, and put something with shallow roots there (water line and cutoff there), and then some kind of seating. Haven't gotten that far with my plans.


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RE: How would you turn this patio into a garden courtyard?

I've been playing with photo program and I think I like the grayish stained fence. Do you know what color that is deviant-deziner, and how well a gray stain holds up over time?


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