Help me with this hot mess backyard/deck!!

sarahandbrayApril 14, 2013

Front porch of this old house is going to be more traditional, but the backyard/deck is fair game for any kind of renovation!

Mud room on the back is being redone but will be the same size/footprint/layout. Gray decking is going away completely, so starting from scratch there. New Bilco-style basement door on right.

Any thoughts or inspiration pictures? Thinking big deck, steps all the way across, no railing, flagstone patio? Would love to sink a hot tub in the left corner but not sure if that's a good idea/feasible. Needs room for grill and big patio set.

Any thoughts/materials/etc. are greatly appreciated, as usual!!
Sarah in Albany

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Which way does this door face?
What city is this?

You have a critical decision: Do you want a door-level walk-out deck big enough for entertaining or a ground level patio/deck?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 8:49AM
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That thing to the right of the porch looks like an access door to the basement. Or is it something else?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 2:14PM
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Sarah, For what it's worth, we recently ripped off our deck and put in a bluestone patio, instead. Our house is 1889, in the city, with close neighbors all the way down the block on both sides. The deck made us feel like we were on display. The patio gives a bit of privacy.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 7:11PM
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We put in a patio as well; we ran natural gas and electricity out to it too.

We can't see your whole yard, but it looks like you don't have a lot of room; I would hardscape (slate, fieldstone, pavers, not concrete) or put a deck on that entire left side of the picture. It looks like you have a small (?) area of grass/dirt on the right side, where the basement door is. I'd till that up and plant a garden of some kind; veggies, herbs, flowers, a mix?

Oh, and a discovery that may change my life; I will never again bother with raking and seeding a large area of lawn. Patches, sure. But when we had the patio put in, they put sod around it. It was surprisingly affordable for our small space, and that instant, thick green lawn was wonderful. So, that's my advice to you. Sod. :-)

The picture is the last day of installation; it's the only one I have from above.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 8:28AM
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Thanks!! Here's another view. We aren't in a city--suburb w/sidewalks--and its family on both sides, so not worried about visibility. Most of the stuff you see can go--fencing, sandbox, etc. Little red barn stays.
This is only the little fenced in backyard--about 2 more grassy acres behind with our garage and out-buildings.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 8:27PM
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When we redid the mudroom, we brought the washer and dryer up to it. Added ready made cabinets and made it part of the house. No more basement for me to go down to, A patio door was added and now we can look out at our yard. ( It will be beautiful one day.)

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 9:26PM
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I would probably do a deck that stepped down to a flagstone patio. In my last house I had no money so instead of flagstone we used really small pea gravel which I saw used at a historic garden in Cooperstown and it worked great. We layed this mesh fabric on the dirt and then dumped the gravel over it. We built a flagstone wall to sit on and it worked great.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 11:01PM
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