On to the courtyard planning

marti8aApril 24, 2012

I'm posting here first, but I'd like to post to either remodeling or house building to get some designer type input too. I'd really like Summerfield to look at it. So if you know what forum would be best, let me know. It's not really house building, but it seems that is where Summerfield hangs out (kind of like I hang here).

So, ok. Dh wants to know exactly what we are doing with the courtyard while there is time to put support on the side of the new dining room if needed.

When we first had the idea, years ago it seems, we thought we would build a low brick wall with lattice above, about eight feet tall, and a gate. Or brick columns with a trellis type material between. Either way, with arbor type beams from the house over to this wall.

BUT, now that we have the dining room framed, I can't see how an arbor would look right.

When looking at it again, I'm changing from wanting any brick at all, and thinking redwood posts and lattice would look better, tie into the back deck better, etc.

So here is where we are right now. 3 pix, one of the patio (with piles of brick and rubble), one of the space between house & garage where we will put a fence & gate, and the deck with arbor. What do you think would look good to make the patio into a private courtyard? Following are some of my inspiration pictures, but I DO NOT want a view of my driveway so those with big openings would have to be tweaked.

Sorry, I thought I had a recent photo of the deck and I'm too lazy to get out of this chair and go take one right now.

On inspiration pictures, have you ever noticed they never show a photo from far back so you can see what the element looks like with surroundings features?

This was my original inspiration photo with the beams overhead. I could just see little led lights along each one and a ceiling fan.

This is my favorite inspiration photo, but I think natural redwood would look better. Maybe.

Although I do love this.

Included this just because I like the shutters

And I love this gate for the little fence between house and garage.

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Moccasin

Marti, all the inspire photos disappeared? Did you move them after you posted? Can you do it again?

With your house being in such a hot area, I'm thinking a rather shoulder height curved wall which undulates like your driveway does, made out of cinder block but covered in stucco shaded to coordinate with your house brick color. A border on top of lattice could work nicely.

If on the inside of the wall you wanted to turn a block to stick out that would be a good spot to mount lighting fixtures going down, and set a flower pot of some desert heat-loving arid country plant.

I'd put the gate about the spot where the shadow ends in the first picture. You did not say why you wanted a gate, nor where you thought it should be. To keep out the dogs? To keep out prying eyes? Is it to be a privacy gate? or ornamental?

You guys are really scooting along quickly now. Fantastic!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 8:56PM
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marti8a

I can't figured out what happened to the photos. They're all still in my album.

I'm going to try posting the first one again and see if it sticks.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 9:49PM
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marti8a

Well, the first photo is there for now, and in the original post, all I see is a link to photobucket where there was the infamous photobucket missing or moved icon.

About the gate to the courtyard. There is a water faucet on the side of the house, right behind the pile of brick. It is one of two on the house, so very necessary. We thought about tapping into the line and putting a faucet outside the courtyard, but that line is under the dry stream bed and French drain and we really don't want to mess with it. Easier to just put a gate in and a little bridge or something across the stream.

If the above picture stays put, I'll add back the others. No use if they're just going to disappear again.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 9:56PM
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Shades_of_idaho

Hummm they are all there for me Marti.

What a wonderful court yard space. I am not very good at garden design. I might consider some tall shrubs or grasses. If you are seated the height does not need to be as tall to keep from seeing your drive and then it will not block the view out your living room windows.

I know there are lots of tall clumping grasses that are not always that pampas type grass that is so sharp to deal with. Wasn't it you that had to be cautious with water usage?

Love the moon style gate.Anywhere you put it will be lovely.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 10:07PM
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marti8a

I wonder why you can see them and ML and I can't. I can only see 3 of my inspiration photos, and all 3 of my house & garden. Which ones can you see ML?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 10:15PM
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marti8a

So no water rationing. I do use natives and xeriscape where I can. The problem with plants in the ground right there is that the dry stream area floods from time to time. After this construction is finished, we are going to have the other side of the driveway graded and add a new French drain there too. The original one is probably clogged or crushed or something.

My plan is to put some big planters against the lattice/fence and have vines or tall plants so there will be something pretty to see from the living room. Right now, it's a view of the boring driveway, and if cars are parked in the drive, the reflected sun off the glass is blinding in the house. I really want to block off the driveway.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 10:39PM
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desertsteph

i can only see the first 3 pics. weird thing is, when I scrolled on down over the inspiration pics I can't see - it brought up MY photobucket acct/page!

here a lot of people put in a fenced/blocked patio (usually with the Sante Fe/Adobe type homes). Sometimes they keep 'square' spaces open and put in grill work/wrought iron bars.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 12:08AM
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Shades_of_idaho

LOL They are gone now. At least I got to see them.

I do like the look of the dry stream bed but can completely understand the need to block blinding car windows. Sounds like lattice is the way to go.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 1:42AM
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marti8a

There MUST be something going on with photobucket. Now I can't see any except my 3 and the one I re-added. I don't know why my first 3 stayed, except they are in a different album.

So ok, here they are again, starting with my current favorite look.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 10:26AM
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marti8a

Back to what to do.

ML, the wall or fence probably needs to be set on the edge of the patio, or near it. If brick, that's where the beam is. I'd like it to look like could have been there since the house was built, so undulating probably wouldn't look right.

As far as what type wall, which would look better, brick or wood? Since we will have water coming off the roof in the top left corner, we will have to have something that has some gaps along the bottom. The water is supposed to come off the roof and hit the dry stream area but if it's heavy it splashes onto the patio too.

Or brick columns with wood between?

Or redwood posts with wood between?

Both the last two would have more air flow.

And then another set of questions. Which would look better:

A wall/fence that is plain at the top?

A wall/fence that has an arbor at the top?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 11:12AM
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Shades_of_idaho

Well only a few seem to fit the moon gate so I guess if you are choosing it then you need to try to keep styles similar?? but then I really am clueless says she that builds pergola clotheslines from farm gates.And then paints them purple.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 11:43AM
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marti8a

LOL on the purple clotheslines.

My gate probably won't have a circle on top because we'll be building it, and because it doesn't really match our house style. That looks a little more English garden and our house is more like the house on The Rifleman (if you remember that tv show).

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 11:54AM
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lavender_lass

Hmmm...I remember watching reruns of The Rifleman, but I'm not sure about the house. I remember it looking very western :)

How about something like this, in a one story version? Put posts where they have the brick column/arches and then use the upstairs pergola over the whole thing. Maybe have some lattice between the posts, to block off the driveway? Lots of things to grow vines on... From Cottage house plans

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 6:55PM
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marti8a

OT again. I think I'm going to have to switch from photobucket to picasa or flicker. I can't see most of my photos again. Can anyone else see them all?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 4:42PM
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Shades_of_idaho

LOL for now I can see your pictures but I lost them last time.

The Rifleman Are you kidding. I was so in love with Johnny Crawford. OMG

OK Back on topic but you started it. LOL

I really like the Stucco built in benches look. Would be so fun to dress a space like that up. You could draw shades as needed to control the driveway view and still let in air. Or hanging baskets.

Even the shade cloth on our porch blocks some air circulation on a still night.Evening lighting would be fun too. Maybe exposed beams you could drape fabrics on for shade control of needed.

I think that is fitting to the style of your house. Is it already decided what your addition is going to be sided with? Does stucco work well in your area?

I am saving that stucco picture for inspiration for some thing here. We do not do stucco well in our freeze thaw area but I think that look could be achieved with other materials.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 6:37PM
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pay_it_forward

Marti8a~ I absolutely love courtyards/outdoor living rooms and have compiled a collection of pics. I will look them over and see if any may suit your house...

BTW, I was able to see all of your pics the second time you posted them!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 6:57PM
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marti8a

How odd. Now I see all the second set of pictures again.

Thanks payitforward, I love to look at inspiration pictures. I have a ton too but didn't want to post too many.

Shades, I was in love with Johnny Crawford too. lol I like the built in benches but there's really no where to put them in this patio where they could be used. Stucco doesn't do well here I'm told. Too many people do it and then have mold & water issues that are hidden under the stucco and I DO NOT want to go there. The dining room will have brick like the rest of the house.

I've been playing with MS Paint and put a couple of fence ideas on it. I showed dh and he said, oh, they look like fences. The fences are all solid, where I would do something with the planks spaced, louvered, or latticed, but these were the only pictures I could find from the riht direction and head on. So I asked, ok, what do you want? Something shorter but more wall-like. What??? So now I'm frustrated.

I am going to post on the landscape design forum like bevangel suggested as soon as I can take pictures that would show the view from inside the house.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 11:55PM
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lavender_lass

I had Photobucket, but there were problems and then it just shut down. Granted, I'm not very computer savvy, but Picasa has been much easier! :)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 12:01AM
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marti8a

What do you think of this? The pergola beams running the long way instead of the short way.

I've done a search for the problems I'm having on photobucket and evidently there are a lot of people having the same problem. Haven't seen anyone on the kitchens forum having them though.

Did you know that photobucket has a discussion board? Or that your private albums aren't really private at all?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 1:43AM
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Moccasin

Alrighty now, Marti, the second time around I see them. Ooooh those are some lovely inspirations.

The very last picture with the arbor along the brick wall, I think it really suits your house style.

I also like the southwestern stucco with the gold colored adobe look, but do not think it will go with your house....unless you stucco the whole thing. Keeping it consistent with maybe brick is good, or possibly a cinder block wall filled with cement, and then put cement stucco over the cinder blocks. Or possibly make it the horizontal cement planks like Hardieplank similar to the wood portion of your house. NO maintenance to that stuff. Which is what I'm going for with the redone kitchen addition at my house.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 9:18PM
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Shades_of_idaho

OH I really like thew last picture. And isn't your husband fast at his brick work. LOL

You will be creating a lovely space. It is not going to make your living room dark is it?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 11:10PM
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marti8a

I wish it was as easy to get the work done for real as it is in paint. Dh nearly dropped a 2x12 on me today!

I'm afraid it might make the living room dark, although it will probably be the dining room rather than the courtyard fence that does that. Right now, there is a lot of sun from 11 until a little after 3, so it may be fine in summer (which is probably when we would rather have it shady).

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 12:43AM
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honorbiltkit

marti --

I am confused about whether you are intending this to be a patio people would sit in or primarily a set of vistas more attractive than the spectacle of parked cars. If the latter, is there a spot where one focal point -- the equivalent of the statue in the niche or the moon gate in your inspirations pics -- will suffice for both?

In either case, if the "wall" of your patio goes straight across as shown in your mock-ups, would you have the option of growing shrubs in the now-graveled area between the wall and the paved driveway? If so, doing some variation of the mock-up with the brick posts and wooden walls would give you some options over time. As plantings outside the wall became tall and full enough to shield the spectacle of the parked cars, you would have the option of reconfiguring or removing the wooden panels, so that the greenery shows inside the patio as well as out.

I am assuming that having enough light for the LR and DR windows during the day pretty much precludes a pergola. That said, if you set up your fence with the shaped "beam" of a pergola above it (and above all the roof lines that meet at the patio) it might simplify the look of the house from the driveway side of the lot.

Anyway, this is my best take on it, using paint and a touchpad.

Sorry about the viburnum. I didn't know what would grow there. Were I doing plantings from scratch, I might be tempted to plant bamboo because it's graceful, it rustles gently in a breeze, it screens quickly, and on unplanted ground you can install the rhizome barriers before you plant, so it won't take over your lot.

Cheers. hbk

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 3:36PM
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lavender_lass

If you have water draining there anyway...could you plant some climbing roses? They would have a lovely fragrance, as well as the shrubs for screening. Do butterfly bushes grow there? Those are so pretty with roses, at least in our area :)

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 5:03PM
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marti8a

hbk, that looks really nice. I don't know about planting anything big. After we finish building, we are going to have someone regrade the area on the other side of the driveway and add French drain there too, so I'll ask.

I know we could add something like morning glory vines or something that won't grow down and clog the French drain.

Between septic lines, French drains, and utility easements, we sure do have a lot of restrictions on what we can plant!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 6:30PM
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lavender_lass

Morning glories! That would be beautiful :)

I would love to grow morning glories, but I think it's just too cold at night. My mom had some a few years ago that were so pretty, but froze about six weeks after they started blooming. How long do they bloom in the South?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 11:25PM
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marti8a

All summer as long as they get water. I tried them on a chain link fence at the back of my acre, and they started out fine but pooped out in the heat with no extra water.

I've also thought of putting up misters and a fountain. I did email Summerfield and asked for an opinion. With so many negatives on the Building forum, I'm feeling really unsure of everything right now. But I know I want something to disguise that wonky roof and give some privacy.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 11:57PM
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Shades_of_idaho

Marti I had trouble one year when I watered my morning glorie vines with the hose on the leaves. They turned awful and died. The misters might not be a good idea for them. Soaking would be much better.

On the other hand misters are fantastic for cooling you. I used one on a patio I had several houses ago.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 12:23AM
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desertsteph

I saw a few on this site. They're mixed in w/pics of other things - but there's a few that show a courtyard area from the outside. it might give you an idea or 2. EVen if it's shown in a material you don't like or can't use - imagine it with something else. they are often stucco/adobe out here and have a 'window' (open area) and door. Many are at the front of the home.

Here is a link that might be useful: courtyards

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 3:35AM
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marti8a

Thanks Steph. I really like that one courtyard with the low brick wall and pergola.

Our house originally had a pergola where the dining addition is now. They had a hot tub there and no lattice around it, just the 4 posts of the pergola. I can't EVEN imagine trying to enjoy a private moment with all the neighbors looking as they drove by.

Yes, the mister would be for us. We have one on the arbor beside the deck but we don't use it much. This would be a better place.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 10:51AM
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honorbiltkit

Sorry, marti. With all the fabulous greenery in your inspiration pics, it did not occur to me that there was stuff going on in the ground around the patio-to-be that would make in-ground planting problematic.

It sounds to me as though whatever combination of brick, stucco, and wood you have for the structure, caution will require that the greenery either inside and outside the patio wall be growing in containers. So, whatever size plants or shrubs you put in, presumably they will be species that don't have to be unpotted and root-pruned every few years.

There are both Texas Gardening and Container Gardening forums here, but the TX seems to cover both dry Texas (given the mister, I assume that is where you are) and humid Texas, so you might want to consult your local Agricultural Extension Service or Master Gardeners to find out what plants are best suited to your purpose, including intensiveness of watering.

Anyway, the tabula rasa of the patio project promises to be great fun to watch you create. Best wishes.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 2:11PM
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pay_it_forward

Marti8a ~ After looking through my collected pictures, I'm thinking they may be a little too modern looking for what you are wanting. Perhaps this website will offer some possible ideas ~ I think many of them are really beautiful!

Here is a link that might be useful: Pergola Ideas

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 2:51PM
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marti8a

thanks pif, I always love looking through pictures, sometimes it just takes one element from something to inspire me.

hbk, we're in humid Texas, but even with the humidity, the misters feel good. A fan would be the best. I had thought of planters, mainly because I don't want to encourage weeds in my dry stream area. It got away from me one year and I tore it all out, lined it with black plastic and put all the rock back again. Don't want to ever do that again.

The inspector just left and he mentioned that the original builder didn't do a few things right with the corner (upper left) and gave us some suggestions to direct the water off the house.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 3:44PM
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pay_it_forward

I like the picture with the swing as it beckons one outside to relax! Lattice or woven screens could serve to block the driveway. Another thought would be to skip the pergola altogether, and have a stone or brick wall or even a hedge of some sort with a retractable awning. That way you could block the sun as needed without darkening your interior space when the courtyard is not in use.

It will be fun to see what you decide... !

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 4:05PM
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marti8a

Well, I think we've found the one. No pergola or arbor, just a fence. Dh wants to do an open shadowbox style. I rather like this one. I think it fits our house best. I'm not sure about the inside though. Either a wooden planter along the fence (so I can lay a soaker hose in it for easy watering), or individual pots.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 11:48PM
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lavender_lass

I vote for the planter and soaker hose! Watering pots take forever and turning on the hose is SO much eaier. I like the fence...it does go really well with your house. Add a big padlock to the gate (for the neighbors) and you're set! LOL

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 12:38AM
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marti8a

Thanks. At least knowing what we are going to do will help the electrician know where to put plugs out there. I do wish we could have a ceiling fan out there though. Oh well, a stand fan will work.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 12:53AM
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Shades_of_idaho

That is a really pretty fence style Marti. I agree it goes well with your house. LOL on the ceiling fan. considering you will have no ceiling. Unless you put in one central beam across between new dinning room and the other side.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 10:51AM
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nancyinmich

I like the open shadowbox style because it will let a breeze through. But then, it will also let car exhaust through too, and in a small space with walls on three sides, maybe a solid wall for the bottom 3 or 4 feet would be best? Exhaust won't likely enter there.

I know I am late to the discussion. I find myself wondering what direction the wall/fence will be in relation to the house. Is the driveway north, east, south, or west of the house? Are you going to have light in the courtyard, or will you be growing mushrooms?

One way to guarantee more light in the courtyard would be to take advantage of the curve of the concrete drive there and bring the wall or fence out in a curve away from the straight-line fences that you have been considering. It could give the courtyard a more spacious feel. Your curved bench area from the April 25 inspiration pics would fit into the curve there. I also like the brick planter look of that photo. You can still have a wooden fence or lattice above the brick planter, but I like the spacious feel you get with the combination of brick planter lower, then plants growing in front of the fence that goes up behind the planter. Less boxy.

You could then make a faux fireplace on the outside of the fireplace on the opposite wall. That fireplace and chimney cannot be ignored, so you may as well make use of it. I would maybe make a mantle where you could hang outside decorations above it like a dried wreath. Or have plants growing in pots on the mantle that cascade down like a decorative mantle scarf. Then use brick to make a fireplace enclosure below, but just put candles in it. Real fire there would really smell up the house if you had a door or window open. The fireplace would be the focal point of your sitting area, with your reading nook in that brick curved outer wall being like a seat for solitary contemplation, with vines and shrubs all around it.

The courtyard would be like an outside room, but with more plants than you would have inside. You could even change it with the seasons. From the dining room, it would look like a department store's display window. At Christmas time, you could put an entire Christmas scene out there.

You'll be a grandma someday. Imagine how much fun it would be to go to grandmas and see what "scene" was there for Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. I could see a big primitive plank table out there for a Thanksgiving feast!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 12:57AM
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marti8a

Probably no problem with car exhaust unless it's from our cars and in that case, we'd probably be in the car. The fence faces north.

The gravel area is a drainage area so we can't put anything there.

Nancy, I like your mantle idea. I'm thinking of a bistro table and a couple of chairs in the middle of the courtyard so a mantle would be a good focal point.

We'll probably never have grandchildren, unless we find a grown & married orphan to adopt.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 11:38AM
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