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Help us plan our backyard oasis

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  • Apr 15th, 2016 3:33 pm
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[OP]
Member
Apr 19, 2012
242 posts
35 upvotes
GTA

Help us plan our backyard oasis

Hi,

My wife and I have just purchased a new house. Our move in date is not for a bit but we would like to start planning/get ideas of how to make the backyard more of what we were dreaming of when we bought a new home :) .

Pictures will be in the next post.

The first thing we plan to do is remove the tree to left of deck and the one to the right of the house that is growing over the house.

When viewing the home, we thought the deck was a tear down, but our home inspector states that if we added back fill around the sono tubes that it would keep it from shifting anymore. So keeping the deck is an option.

The pink shed is a teardown, we don't plan to do that immediately though.

We would like the backyard to be as flat as possible, and we would prefer a nice view from the basement windows. The septic is located about 5 feet from the basement door so we will need to plan around that. We would like somewhere to put a bbq, patio table, and then some patio furniture (we have a love seat + 2 single chairs) the current deck is not big enough for this. We want a nice big vegetable garden and a fire pit.

We have not put a budget on this yet, because we aren't quite sure what can be done. If an amazing idea is presented that requires a new deck/patio area to be installed, we have no issues spending 20k+ to get this done or breaking it up over a couple years.

Let's hear some suggestions!
17 replies
Deal Addict
May 18, 2015
1630 posts
634 upvotes
Ottawa,Ont
I would build a retaining wall out about 30 ft running perpendicular from the house inbetween the door and deck.
Deal Addict
Feb 5, 2009
2808 posts
935 upvotes
Newmarket
Don't do anything until you live there for a season, this way you will know what you do like, what you don't like, what you need and what has to go, where you like the shade, where you want open space .........

Once the above is clear figure out what is your budget, how much you can do yourself. For a property this size a budget between few bucks to few hundred thousand is reasonable ;-)

IMO backyards are even more personal than the inside, some like grass, others swimming pools, then there are gardeners and on and on and on....... asking others for a personal opinion when they won't live there I am not sure is productive, now asking a specific question for a design or something that's a different story.

Congratulations, that looks like an awesome space.
[OP]
Member
Apr 19, 2012
242 posts
35 upvotes
GTA
Thanks for the response Homer. We know what we want, a deck/patio combo large enough for a bbq, dining table, and some love seats. A fire pit. A shed (probably not as big as the existing one). A large vegetable garden. A flat green space (so lots of grass, we love playing with our dog... and eventually kids). Any garden/trees will be around the outside, we don't want much maintenance though so it'll be minimal.

So I guess what I'm asking is how do I accomplish what we want. I am having problems picturing the deck/walkout/some sort of retaining walls to get the ground flat.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Oct 16, 2001
76501 posts
1578 upvotes
The hip roof shed, is it screwed or would some TLC and paint make it worthwhile. Covered storage is always a premium, and unless its rotting and ready to fall down, extra storage is great, and its in the corner anyway.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 19, 2004
8959 posts
1899 upvotes
Cambridge, ON
I like the post above about living with it for a year. If you want to start, focus on the certain things or things easily changed. I'd hate to redo a deck, only to find out the sun patterns in the summer aren't ideal for the design.

Personally I'd keep the pink shed if it is decent, though repaint. Again, if you find you definitely aren't using it after a year, then consider tearing it down. But you might find it worth keeping so you can keep your garage or other storage tidier.
Deal Addict
Sep 17, 2002
1085 posts
475 upvotes
pay attention to sunrise/sunset - sun during the middle/afternoon etc.

In other words - you can build an oasis but if the sun is beating down on you you won't enjoy it.

Since you have lots of room - pool, cabana, etc is all possible but best to provide pictures after the snow melts...
Sr. Member
Feb 20, 2011
608 posts
173 upvotes
downtown TO
i agree on waiting a year...thats what i done..give me a year to plan and do everything i wanted
Deal Expert
Feb 29, 2008
27379 posts
3884 upvotes
Montreal
Start by looking at the slopes of your terrain. Does water run towards your house? That should be corrected first.
[OP]
Member
Apr 19, 2012
242 posts
35 upvotes
GTA
mr_raider wrote: Start by looking at the slopes of your terrain. Does water run towards your house? That should be corrected first.
It does not, slightly sloped away from home.
Member
Mar 1, 2016
219 posts
162 upvotes
mr_raider wrote: Start by looking at the slopes of your terrain. Does water run towards your house? That should be corrected first.
That was my first thought as well. It looks like the whole dug out section runs back towards that back door.

I would keep the shed, but paint it a neutral colour and plant emerald cedars around it to hide it a bit. I would also plant cedar hedges along the property lines for additional privacy. The deck still looks good to me, maybe clean and seal it in the spring. I would keep it for year round bbq'ing and add a patio with pergola for shade as my main outdoor dining area.

One other thing to keep in mind is the transition from (and view from) your indoor space out onto your backyard oasis. Maybe enlarging the window looking over the deck or turning it into a patio door. A lower cost option would be to change out the back door with the half moon window into a door with 2/3 or full length glass (and double-cylinder deadbolt).

Good luck and have fun. Looks like a great space to work with.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 9, 2010
2794 posts
944 upvotes
Windsor
Unless that pink shed is disintegrating, I'd definitely keep it; you have a ton of room, and having a nice big shed for stuff like lawnmowers (which I presume you'll have a riding one), and other possible toys (kids bikes, ATVs, wheelbarrow, etc), it's awesome to have what looks to be a well constructed out building.

Paint it some other random colour, and maybe throw a few cedars beside it to make it look a little less ominous.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Sep 1, 2005
13753 posts
8466 upvotes
Markham
What others have said about waiting....amass pictures of things you like to narrow what you're looking for.

Also $20k does not get you far in landscaping.
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
Deal Guru
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Mar 31, 2008
12039 posts
2372 upvotes
Toronto
I would start off by painting that large backyard shed, and maybe a new door. That can definitely add some 'charm' while you decide what to do. I agree. And as mentioned, plant some cedars.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jun 12, 2003
2897 posts
83 upvotes
Markham
Congrats on getting some land to play with.

Is your family into organic food/gardening at all? You can build a green house where you can grow you own food. Also you can grow exotic plants in there. That's my thing, not sure if it's yours. :P
[OP]
Member
Apr 19, 2012
242 posts
35 upvotes
GTA
Someone mentioned a retaining wall between the deck and back door running perpendicular to the house. One thing that is for sure, is we want to make the yard as flat as possible... anybody have any other suggestions on how to accomplish this? The retaining wall helps fix the issue where they've dug around the deck but I'm failing to see how it helps get a flatter yard.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 19, 2004
8959 posts
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Cambridge, ON
notsureofitiall wrote: Someone mentioned a retaining wall between the deck and back door running perpendicular to the house. One thing that is for sure, is we want to make the yard as flat as possible... anybody have any other suggestions on how to accomplish this? The retaining wall helps fix the issue where they've dug around the deck but I'm failing to see how it helps get a flatter yard.
Other than regrading the property, there isn't much you can do. From the pictures it doesn't look that bad and seems ideal for water runoff. You could continue digging out the area around the deck and run some sort of retaining wall around the side and face of the deck. Again, depending on your preferences for garden, many gardens look great when you have a slope to work with. You can add levels in the garden and flatten each level.
[OP]
Member
Apr 19, 2012
242 posts
35 upvotes
GTA
don242 wrote: Other than regrading the property, there isn't much you can do. From the pictures it doesn't look that bad and seems ideal for water runoff. You could continue digging out the area around the deck and run some sort of retaining wall around the side and face of the deck. Again, depending on your preferences for garden, many gardens look great when you have a slope to work with. You can add levels in the garden and flatten each level.
Yah I'm imaging something like this from your post:

Image

Or:

Image

The septic lid is about 6-8 feet out as well so we need to come up with something clever to work around that. I don't think it would be hard though.

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