Wait until you see THIS!!!
Rylee-Porter House     Please allow time for images to load.
    Here is the rear patio area. We haven't looked under the ivy yet, but there could be surprises there... I wonder what shape the posts are in? Anyway, we want to remove this shade cover --- and likely replace it with something a bit more artistic. We may build wooden "stairs" at the sliding door and treat the concrete with epoxy pebbles. Two pictures of these areas are included at the bottom of this web page.  CONCEPT ONE, w/ Dave Degraff: Remove patio cover, concrete to remain as exists. Build redwood (or composite plank) deck extending at same height as house to create a breakfast area where picnic table currently is placed. A built-in planter at the yard/lawn border of that deck would provide visual appeal from the house interior: the eye sees layers of plantings with plants at the rear fence as backdrop. Pavers or flagstone on top of the existing concrete? Concrete stain would be less complicated/less expensive. BBQ area.
    The property is a good-sized corner lot. This view is toward the front entry and includes a red Honda in the driveway at no additional charge. We will likely remove the flagpole. The hedge will go, too. There should be a fence along the entire property line: enclosed, safe play space.
    Another view of the well-established hedge. It will take some root pullers to remove this vegetation; our plan should consider what easement requirments exist. What about future sidewalks? How many feet back from the street does a fenceline need to be? Should we leave "sections" of the hedge in place? With planting areas in between? Shall we shape the hedge to resemble elephants on parade?

    Looking from the rear of the property toward the street corner. Gravel driveway to the right makes an ideal motor home parking place, but we will enclose that area with our fence. Possibly, we will allow for a gate. To the right, through a falling-down fence, is the rear patio area.... We may have a "sleepable" playhouse in this area.
    Turning in, and walking up that mo-ho parking place, we pass through a gate that doesn't swing to enter the backyard/patio area. I can't tell if the three old trees in the outer yard are dead or just slow-to-leaf. We shall see.
    There will be room for a small pool or koi pond. Swim? Fish? Swim and fish at the same time?
    Here is the detail of the rear slider door (new) and the concrete paving.
A redwood landing/step to the epoxy pebble surface would provide a better transition zone between the house and outdoors. Should we make the landing large enough to accomodate a small bench or two-person cafe table? Planters?
You can see the pedestrian structure of the overhead.... Soon to be new and improved with architectural flair and... shade screen and... outdoor lighting on dimmer switches.
Removing the wood spacers between the concrete slabs, filling with special concrete mix (leaving an expansion joint), consider overlaying with a special mix to ensure drainage away from the foundation and THEN apply epoxy pebbles. Or?             THE END.
Scroll down to view all!
Here's a very interesting idea form Dave. "We often 'bonsai' the old-growth hedge, rather than remove it entirely." This would involve severe thinning and training the new growth on heavy wire or framework. It might blend well with my concept to do a PT wood and rebar fence. This type fence is least expensive, in materials, and "see-through." The bonsai look might be similiar to the plant adjacent to the driveway. (Dave says, "Nothing wrong with a flagpole. Just do a circular palnting around it.")
With the hedge radically thinned, the new fence would come along tight against the inside hedgeline, as viewed here. We might consider weedcloth (prevents weed growth) and crushed stone or wood chips under and around the fence and bonsai hedge. Existing road curb would remain. Do we want to discourage people from bringing their wheels on or over that curb when parking?
I'm inclined to have a gate here so that there could be off-street parking for one or two cars. Guests in town, or? We can consider a paved area serving as both parking and play area. Is a hard surfaced paly area desirable? Tricycle riding and basketball? Hopscotch? Concrete or a cobblestone border with sand in the middle?
With a fence around the property, the fence between patio area and play area serves only a decorative function. (?) It could be a half-sized fence, white with an arch to walk through, or it could be eliminated entirely.
New DECK here...
New STEPS here...
New PAVERS here.
A wooden/composite deck, at the level of the existing interior floor. Provides an "extension" of the indoor living space. (The green steps remain, we build on top of them.)
Dave says that the epoxy pebbles might not be the best choice; flagstone or pavers OR concrete staining might provide a good surface. We'll need some samples! ---Carl 4/12
Shade only? Or ROOF here...?
Just this Friday I find that a good friend of mine has become the partner/yard manager for Bay Area Bluestone. In San Rafael, they could be the source of our flag stone needs and their site has some great examples. Visit: www.bayareabluestone.com