ToniB
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Blank slate backyard

20160120_104835.jpg
Hi! My backyard is a blank slate. It has no privacy and the lawn has been destroyed by chafer beetles. Any ideas for what to do with it? I live in Vancouver, Canada. Low maintenance would be best as I am busy!

j3707
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:11 am
Location: Pacific Northwest, Zone 8, 48" annual rainfall, dry summers.

Re: Blank slate backyard

Look like a low spot. How's the drainage there, do you get standing water? Does that area get sun?

I think an apple tree surrounded by perennial herbs and flowers would look good. Have a mulched or gravel circular path around the perimeter.
Avoid predictable disaster caused by unpredictable events, keep yourself open to positive outcomes from improbable events. -Aaron C. Brown

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rainbowgardener
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Blank slate backyard

Yes, what direction does it face and how many hours of sun does it get in the growing season?

Be careful with planting any trees, unless you just want to have a shade garden (which can be beautiful).

Think about what you would like to do in your little patch of back yard. Do you have some outdoor sitting space? Outdoor eating space? If not I might take out the raised beds on the left side of the picture and use that for table and chairs, gazebo or something like that. It will give you a nice view looking down into the garden below.

Quick way to get pretty privacy is put up fencing and grow vines up it.

I would put a little pond or at least a fountain, bird bath, some kind of water feature, in the center. Path around the water feature and around the perimeter. The rest can be beds, either formal in geometric designs with borders or looser curves without formal borders for a more casual look. You have a little box, so you definitely want some curves in there, whether that is circular beds, or looser curves, more kidney bean shaped or whatever. Grow herbs, veggies, flowers, preferably mixed together.

Look for inspiration pictures

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To keep it from being boring, think asymmetrical. Note how the fireplace in second picture is on the diagonal.

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I'd want a little more going on than this. Think about that pond / water feature in the middle of the path with the path going around it on both sides.

I like gardens and greenery. But for low maintenance, the contemporary thing is to pave over much of the space (with paver tiles, flagstones, decking, etc):

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Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

imafan26
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Blank slate backyard

It looks like a pool that might have been filled in. How is the drainage? I like Rainbow's idea of getting some inspiration pictures and make a list of how you would use the space
I.e. Kids play space, BBQ, vegetable garden, outdoor entaining, need additional parking area, etc.

List the pros and cons of the site

Con
Lack of privacy

Come up with a plan to incorporate your needs and plans for the space. You may have to make compromises in a small space.
Come up with a plan for increasing privacy by planting or shielding certain areas from views to turn liabilities into assets
Come up with a budget. If you cannot get it all done, consider drawing a master plan and execute it in pieces.

If I had a space like that I might consider doing a pavillion and use the area as an outdoor room. You can put up side panels for privacy and grow plants or put planters on it. Since I would not want to give up my garden space. I would consider a sod roof or roof garden on the pavillion. Original construction of the pavillian would have to take into account the weight of the future addition of the roof garden and leak proofing. I would get the permits and see what the code allows. Build the pavillion and have it plumbed so eventually there would be electricity for outdoor use and expandable later on to include an outlet on the roof. You never know, it might come in handy. Maybe even a future outdoor kitchen plumb for a sink and drain and water lines that can reach up to the roof. The infrastructure can be laid in for planned finishing later. Plan enough space to build the roof access wide enough and not so steep. Plan on a future block and tackle assembly to lift up heavier objects later. Like a very big dumbwaiter. You may have some big dreams for the space. It doesn't cost anything to dream except some time and paper.
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Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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rainbowgardener
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Blank slate backyard

The outdoor room is basically the idea I was getting at, though you said it better. Any of the inspiration pictures I posted, the sitting areas could have a gazebo roof over them easily enough.

But what a wonderful idea to put a garden on top of the roof!! :)

I did find a picture like that;

Image

Of course, you do have to build your structure very sturdy, if it is going to support the weight of soil, water, plants!
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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