Thursday, July 23, 2009

Small urban backyard turned into Garden Room

The following article is a continuation of the "Gated Security" article. This small backyard is located in the Greater Toronto area. On average a 30 by 20 foot in size backyard will present some difficult options when planning a garden space. To add to that difficulty is a 12 x 8 foot deck that comes off the second floor kitchen which can sometimes create the feel of a dark and gloomy space underneath it.

Last year I was presented with a challenge to come up with an idea for a usable space that would address the poor drainage issues in this backyard. Below was the first stage of the project... a small platform deck. It is well below 20 inches from the ground level and is not attached to anything in terms of a structure, so no permit was needed. The deck allowed the homeowners to at least entertain guests in their yard for the remainder of the 2008 summer season.

Earlier this summer, the project came under way to the next phase of the design. All of the grass was eliminated and replaced with 3/4"-clear gravel to allow for excellent drainage of the yard. The soil here was heavily compacted by construction equipment during the subdivision construction and was never fine-graded to allow rain water to leave the yard properly. The effects of that did not allow for the soil to absorb water and so a drain pipe was put in place under the stone patio to help take water away.

The end result was a living room space....

Followed by a future dining room and BBQ area... the natural stone patio you see in these photos is a natural stone material known as Banas stone. It is brought in from India and sells for about $6.50 to $8.00 a square foot. This particular color of the natural stone is "Imperial Black"

All the plant material and decking came from a local Home improvement store. Although the plantings look thin and small, they will mature in the years to come and fill in to create a very lush looking space. The entire space was designed and created by a vision that kept things simple. Keeping a low budget in mind and the fact that free "family and friends" labor was provided... the yard was able to come to a complete state for around $5000 (Not including the furniture). Armed with a simple landscape design plan and the proper "do-it-yourself" knowledge, a 20 by 30 space can become a very pleasant garden room which acts as an extension of your house.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I really like your design. I too have a small yard with poor drainage. Our hope is to incorporate a bricked area with seating and firepit to remedy this. Thanks for some inspiration.

Natural Stone said...

Is a really lovely change Paul, thanks for some inspiration too

Bria said...

It is a lovely, inviting seating area. I really like how there are small beds between the stone and the wood on either side of the steps. The plants do a great job softening the transition between the two materials and bringing the eye up the stairs to the focal.

bts said...

Paul,
I am a landscape designer in New Jersey. You did an amazing job with this project. Congrats.

Mama On The Run said...

What a beautifully utilization towards a small yard. This is the perfect idea for our yard. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Backyard Landscape also has the same importance as front side landscape. Your ideas for designing the backyard landscape are very impressive. Thanks for this nice post.
landscape architecture sydney

Los Altos Landscaper said...

Good job on the design, makes the garden look clean and spacious.

Los Altos Landscaper

Taisha said...

Hi There. Love the design and would like to replicate something similiar to my backyard. I am just wondering what type of wood did you use. Did u also add the backyard. Thank you much!!!

Paul Corsetti (416)455-5515 said...

Taisha,

The wood used here is Pressure treated wood...mainly Spruce lumber that is bought already treated with weather resistant coatings.

If your budget would allow for it, I would recommend Western Red Cedar as my first choice in wood material as it is a longer lasting material in the outdoors, otherwise look into the pressure treated option.

Yes we added in the rest of the backyard the following year...

Thanks everyone for the comments...

Anonymous said...

Love this deck idea. My backyard is a similar size. Just curious what the dimensions of the deck are?