Return to the Old House Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Help me with this hot mess backyard/deck!!

Posted by sarahandbray (My Page) on
Sun, Apr 14, 13 at 14:02

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

Follow-Up Postings:

if it's raining,

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?

RE: Help me with this hot mess backyard/deck!!

That thing to the right of the porch looks like an access door to the basement. Or is it something else?

RE: Help me with this hot mess backyard/deck!!

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.

RE: Help me with this hot mess backyard/deck!!

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.

RE: Help me with this hot mess backyard/deck!!

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.

RE: Help me with this hot mess backyard/deck!!

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.)

RE: Help me with this hot mess backyard/deck!!

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.

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Old House Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here