Sunday, January 4, 2015

Garden Design Ramblings

Our house was built in 1926, and the garden has 'evolved' over the past 89 years.  A lot of the features  (the pavers, the planting beds, the walls, outbuildings, the overall layout) have seen wear and could use a facelift.  Since moving in, we've been trying to work with what we have for a temporary solution.  Over the next few years, we're planning to make a bigger change, and are working with a landscape designer to help with the process.

We have a few things to consider:
Steep driveway
Concrete bomb shelter (air raids shelter) we'd like to keep

We've been gathering ideas since we bought the house.  On New Year's Day, I walked around the neighbourhood with Niall's mom to discuss options and take pictures.

1.  Summerhouse:  Niall wants one, by the bomb shelter.  He likes this one (sans garbage can) around the corner from us.  I'm hoping for some direction on how to incorporate Niall's summerhouse vision with the bomb shelter and a place to store things if we rip down the garage.  (For a side extension.)

2.  Usable, flat(ish) garden with paving and an out building.  Our garden has a slight change in elevation, but not enough to cause a problem.   We'd like the back yard to be somewhere the we can spend time as a family, but keep it fairly low maintenance and keep things cohesive. I like the clean lines of this garden.  When I walk by, I notice it and things it looks nice.

3.  Steps up to the house:  We're looking for a new set-up for the entrance to our house.  Right now it's steps along the driveway which isn't very welcoming and makes the driveway a tight squeeze.

We're looking to introduce steps in line with our front door.  Something kind of like this:

One neighbour has done this:

Another has built a retaining wall to level their steep driveway.

Another has steps leading from the driveway to the front door (instead of along the driveway)

And another has their steps along the drive but almost in line with the front door.  (Making the driveway wider and the front garden a little smaller.)

This house doesn't have the pitch in the front garden that we do, but they have a walkway straight from the pavement to their front door.

Walkway from pavement to front door.  (But with entrance on the side of the house.)

I like the low profile front wall, where the top of the wall is almost level with the ground behind it.  (Our current front retaining wall is about a foot higher the the ground.)

Niall likes a low profile, but wants to add a metal railing on top.

In time, we're planning to add a side extension.  But our driveway is steeper.  (I do like how this extension looks.)

Another pitched drive, with a retaining wall for the garden.

One other thing we both like is the idea of adding a pergola (possibly with glass inserts to help with the rain) possibly in the back garden.  Down the road someone has a metal and glass carport, a design along these lines may work.  

We'll see.  For now I'm remind myself how far we've come from when we saw the house two years ago.

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