"No Porch... No Problem" ~ Create the "Porch Feeling" with a patio in the front yard, perfect for meeting and greeting!
Not every house style or home has a big porch on it that provides a wonderful space to greet visitors, hangout with family or friends or just to watch the world go by. No porch, no problem... The addition of a patio to the front of a home can deliver all of he warm feelings of a porch and even more.
First of all a patio enlarges the space which allows people to be more comfortable and human interactions more relaxed. Have you ever tried to carry on a conversation with four people on a three foot sidewalk? Next, by providing places to sit you can encourage neighboring and community engagement by being in the front of the home. Seating can take several forms from outdoor furniture to built in raised planters or boulders. Watching the kids play in the front yard or comfortably hanging out waiting for some one to return home is enjoyable on a beautiful front yard patio. A patio can put you that much closer to your wonderful gardens and flowers. Why not immerse yourself in the wonderful gardens you spend so much time taking care of? We would rather see you engage your landscape and enjoy it then to just create some "curb appeal" for the passer by! Last but not least, a patio on front my allow you to take advantage of the different micro climates that exist in a landscape around a home.
Just because your home doesn't have a porch doesn't mean you can take advantage the front yard porch feel. Add a patio to your front yard and engage the neighborhood! ...
"Make it a Focal Point" ~ Turn obstacles into opportunities and champion challenges in your landscape design
Have you ever found yourself standing in the middle of your yard or garden saying something like, "I know what I want but I don't know how to put it all together and what do I do with THAT!" All yards or landscapes have what can be perceived as difficulties, obstacles or challenges. When you embrace and look to enhance these challenges, that is when a landscape design become incredibly special.
The glass is always half full and filling for a landscape designer when visiting a potential site for the first time. Take for example the project in the accompanying images. The original grade for the backyard was one big slope that made the desired use a bit challenging. The natural stone retaining wall was extended out nearly 30 feet from the home and included the stone steps to create two level garden areas. The cedar arbor added at the top of the steps extenuated the transition between the upper vegetable garden and the lower flower garden. The lower garden then became host for the paver patio and outdoor dinning area. The large retaining wall allowed for the grading to be more level and conducive for each activity.
Don't be afraid to bring in a professional landscape designer to help work through difficulties in your landscape. They can bring fresh eyes and have years of experience in dealing with challenging sites. But, remember this is their career and have dedicated their life honing their skills. Make sure to duly compensate them for their 'ideas' and knowledge. Taking difficult obstacles and turning them into beautiful landscapes and gardens is always a rewarding journey.
"Outdoor BONUS Room" ~ Take full advantage of all the space in your yard and incorporate the space under the deck!
"Outdoor Bonus Room" ~ An often over looked space in the landscape that can provide a great return on design value is the space under the deck! If you are building a new deck or have an existing deck the area under it will need to be considered. Most of the time it is covered with rock or mulch and left alone. If you plan to complete yourself or hire a design professional make sure you consider a couple of factors: Head room - 7' is a good minimum height for useable space; Drainage - always make sure you create a positive flow away from the house; Planting Soil - if you plan on gardening you will need to amend the soil and work to negate the compaction due to deck construction. When working on your landscape master plan make sure to create an "Outdoor Bonus Room" under the deck. Cheers!
Custom cedar arbor enhances home's front entrance and paver patio provides sitting and gathering area.
Creating a warm and welcoming space at the home entrance is very important. The cedar arbor has enough space for a least four people to interact and then move to other areas. Sidewalks should be large enough to allow several people move freely and to be there without having to be on the driveway. The front patio is perfect for hanging out and being social in the neighborhood.
No matter where you live creating a sense of privacy is always important. It's not that you don't wish to be friendly, but when you want a little me time it's nice to be able to... Clear definition between public spaces in your yard and private spaces add to making your yard much more functional and aesthetically pleasing. Compare your 'outdoor rooms' with those inside your home; it's nice to have clear definition between the foyer, living room kitchen (public in a sense) and home office, den and bedrooms (the private). The in between space we refer to as the "Transition Zone." With in the 'transition zone' there should exist a clear demarcation that you are moving from one space to the next... "The Threshold." The most evident place for the transition from the front/public to the back/private is located in the side yard. Usually a space that is neglected, unused and only occupied when you're mowing the lawn.
The "Classic Cedar Pergola" was designed to create the entrance to the backyard... The Threshold. To assist in the creation of privacy, custom cedar panels were installed to the "Classic Cedar Pergola." From a distance it appears as a fence and the site line to the backyard is interrupted. The clay paver path zig-zags through the pergola establishing a smooth pedestrian flow. Privacy is established. The side yard is no longer a barren wasteland. The overall feeling of space is increased.
The design concept and project were created by Sr. Landscape Designer Glenn! Switzer. Glenn! is a member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers. Landscape Structures: Arbors and Pergolas by Switzer's http://www.switzersnursery.com/what-we-do/landscape-structures.html
Pergolas and arbors have made their way in to the hearts of most gardeners and home owners. They can add so much to a space by creating the 'Outdoor Room' feel. When constructing a landscape structure it is important to incorporate strong joinery. Cross members that can rest on the post give the greatest strength. This allows the post to carry the load (weight) of the cross members and purlins, not just the fasteners. Diagonal bracing is also very helpful (we'll cover that in another post).
Making the notch can be made a little easier with some 'Landscaper Know How'...
Measure from the bottom of the post up to mark your line on each side. This will give you the exact same height on all of your post. Use a quick clamp and a speed square as a jig to keep your bottom cut straight and square. Use a circular saw and make cuts approximately 1/8 inch apart all of the way through the notched area. The remaining slats of wood can be easily snapped off. The use of a large wood chisel is recommended to clean the remaining. A quick run of a wood rasp finishes up the joint and you are ready to assemble. ...