Sunday, February 19, 2017

Patio Plans in the Making

Last year I missed the entire spring and most of the summer garden season due to my move.  At the time I was too busy to dwell much on what I left behind at my old garden, but once the dust of the crappy soil in my new garden settled, I realized what I missed most was my patio.








After all I moved hundreds of plants, all the garden ornaments, patio furniture and both of my fountains.  I moved just about everything but the patio.  Well, and all of my unusual specimen shrubs and trees that were too big to dig but those I can replant.

At the new house, I inherited a small deck and a couple of acres of overgrown gardens and scraggly lawn, but no patio.  For the entire summer and fall my former patio fountain lay sadly scattered in pieces on the driveway and along the side yard.  I arranged the patio table and lounge chairs on the back lawn in the approximate area of a new patio.  Not only did they look sad but became annoying obstacles for the lawn mower.

Just after the holidays I contacted a landscape designer who I had been stalking on Houzz, Jennifer Noyes of Creative Contour Landscape Design.  In January Jennifer came to the house for a design consultation.  A few weeks after our initial meeting she came back with a design concept.  Could the patio of my dreams actually be within reach?



Current view of the back of our house.  Yes, the deck needs TLC but it is level.


Proposed view from approximately the same angle.


For most of my life I've been longer on ideas than cash so the end result may be a bit less grand than what you see here but with some sweat equity I believe we'll get what we want.  Blue stone is my first choice for material and the most expensive and I'm not ready to compromise on that front yet. Also, I don't need design help with plant placement or selection.  The plants illustrated in the design would likely be far different than the end result.

In this design view, a double window has been replaced with french doors.  The new doors would enter into the breakfast area of our kitchen.  Swapping out that window was an eventual change we had been tossing around in conjunction with a kitchen remodel but figured it would be a few years down the road.

Once I saw the way the patio design came together with the addition of the door, we reshuffled the priority list.  Fortunately my other half is extremely talented in most areas of home improvement and will install the door this summer.

A precast fireplace would replace the fire pit and we'll be relocating the grill from the deck to somewhere near the new french door.


Current view of the breezeway



Proposed integration of the breezeway and patio


The garage is attached to the house by a breezeway.  Currently the breezeway is unfinished space. Originally we envisioned the main access to the patio to be through the breezeway.  Now that the decision has been made to install french doors in the kitchen, that will no longer be the case.  The breezeway will be finished as an unheated screen porch.  The proposed window on left wall is also part of the eventual kitchen upgrade and when completed will flood the kitchen with much needed morning light.

Before the patio is installed, the door from the breezeway will be relocated to the middle and will be swapped out for something more weather tight and secure.  I would prefer to narrow the steps and patio space here to provide for larger planting beds in this south facing alcove.  A protected spot like this may be my only hope of ever growing a crepe myrtle or Musa basjoo here.  What was I thinking when I moved from zone 6 to zone 5?






Access from the patio around the back of the house to the driveway is likely going to have to wait or be scaled back to stepping stones to keep the budget in line.  The pergola isn't a feature we're wild about.  Incorporating my old fountain is important since it was such a focal point on my old patio.  Naturally, dining and entertaining space is high on the list as we enjoy outdoor eating, drinking and general merrymaking on a regular basis.







From this perspective, you can look back into the proposed patio space.  Due to budgetary constraints this part of the design will be scaled back.  I think we can DIY this area to my satisfaction and have enough money left over to fund a lifetime supply of ibuprofen.

Due to Jennifer's schedule, late summer would be the earliest she could start work.  I'd like it to be sooner, but we still have so much to do in advance of the installation and as industrious as we tend to be, things like work and life often get in the way.  But this is a start.

~Sue~

13 comments:

  1. Even when you scale this back a bit, it is going to be wonderful. Between your designer's ability with the hardscape, your ability with the plantings and Dave's brawn and carpentry skills, you have what it takes to make a second tranquility haven.

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  2. I've been following Creative Countour since seeing their 2013 installation at the Connecticut Flower and Garden Show! Can't wait to see your finished patio! The plans look amazing!

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    1. Jennifer doesn't exhibit at the CT Flower Show anymore, Bonnie. I'll let her know she has a fan.

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  3. It's going to be fabulous ! Since it won't be done before my August business trip to Boston I guess I'll have to plan another trip to NE in 2018, lol. I agree with you on the Pergola, though it gets better if you imagine it covered with vines. I can see a large arbor over the walkway as a portal instead with a nice Etoile Violette or Polish Spirit. And I'm so glad you are incorporating a screen porch !

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    1. You're welcome any time, Kathy :).

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  4. That'll be quite a project, but well worth it.

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  5. Yep, I can totally see all that you describe being exactly what you need, it's going to be fabulous! So what's this I see about you coming to the DC Fling? Is that true?!?

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    1. Yes, I figured the Fling needed at least one poser to mix it up :). I'm looking forward to it.

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  6. I can't imagine your garden without a patio either so I'm glad to learn that you're making that a priority. I'm also glad to see that you're signed up to attend the Fling - I plan to be there too!

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    1. I saw your name on the Fling list, Kris. I'm looking forward to meeting you!

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  7. Oooo la la, that is going to be wonderful Sue! Can't wait to indulge in Shrimp Cocktail and a nice glass of wine on the new patio!

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  8. It will look like something out of a garden magazine and I am completely jealous, zone 5 or no zone 5. Sometimes heat can be a curse. Trust me.

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