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More room to spread out and enjoy the space.

Room to spread out and enjoy the outdoors.

Nowadays, as land has become more scarce in the Heights, we see two houses build on a lot that use to have one. This means less yard for kids and adults to enjoy. It also means less to take care of. Wanting the best of both worlds we needed to come up with a design that maximizes the space for this busy family with a young child. They wanted to have a place to sit, cook outdoors and also lots of room for their young daughter to play.  Low maintenance was equally important. The small cement patio off the house was narrow and not enough for adults and children alike. We worked together and got to a design which added two more usable surfaces. A cement patio off to the side and a half circle artificial turf patio off the front of the existing patio.

Not a lot of room for a family!

Not a lot of room for a family!

Typical for many of these newer builds: This is the before shot. Builders don’t do much if any landscaping in the back yards. Not a safe place for a small child and not a pleasant view with the two big A/C units taking up one corner.

BEFORE: Mostly weeds and rocks.

BEFORE: Mostly weeds and rocks.

The A/C units have to go somewhere, and fortunately they were not crammed on the side of the house and restricting traffic from the front to back yard.

Scraping the weeds and grass.

View from porch as we begin to scraping the weeds and grass.

We like to mask the units while keeping them accessible for maintenance. Remember, if you dig around A/C units first find where their pipes are located. Digging a post-hole in the middle of a copper line gets expensive quickly.


We prefer cedar for our constructions. The simple horizontal pattern is carried through to the gate as well.

We install posts taller than we ‘need’ them in order to have flexibility in our construction. If the client wanted the enclosure to be another eight inches taller we could easily add another tier of 1×6’s.


PROCESS:The hardscape is all installed first. The irrigation piping is already installed, the ‘lawn’ removed and we begin to outline the patio with steel edging.

The A/C units, once so prominent, are now neatly camouflaged in the corner. A small entrance of gravel allows us to keep the door-way free for any future maintenance needs.


AFTER: This field of lantana is planned as the future home of a play house on the design.

Once we have the old vegetation stripped we begin constructing our patio. The half-circle is delineated with steel edging and we install our crushed concrete.


Crushed concrete makes a firm stable base.

The existing drain line box was located just inside the perimeter of our patio. Because it was set at the grass line (which is now below our finished grade) we had to add an extension box to bring it up to the new lawn/patio height. Decomposed Granite (DG) brings our sub-grade up to nearly our finished height. Raising the level up makes it easier to go from the original patio out onto the turf patio.

Next layer DG on top of crushed concrete.

Next layer DG on top of crushed concrete.

On the north side of the existing patio was a weed-filled area that was full of potential. And with a yard as small as this one we needed to work with every inch!

Dirt and weeds to north of patio.

Dirt and weeds to north of patio.

Using a similar process as with the larger patio area we stripped the vegetation and installed a stable base. Upon this layer we set our concrete pads and edged it all with artificial turf. No mowing and no watering for this ‘grass’.

New patio using cement pads.

New patio using cement pads.

Perfect spot for water play.

Perfect spot for water play.

We edged the area in artificial turf. You see the small gate in the top of the photo? That was our only means for bringing all of our supplies in and out of this project.

Because we were limited on space but wanted as much green as possible we added vertical trellising using welded wire. We are growing Tangerine Crossvine on it. This helps  further draw the owners’ focus out into their little oasis and focus on the lush green-ness with cute pink flamingo that the daughter picked out : )

Welded wire on fence to help create a green wall.

Welded wire on fence to help create a green wall. The artificial turf patio is a smooth transition from their concrete patio.

We used soft plants that are tough enough to handle a small child running through them. In the corner is on orange tree that will add height and hopefully fun memories of picking fruit from a tree in her own back yard!

Happy Gardening!

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