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Old 01-26-2010, 06:31 AM   #1
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Help me figure out what to do with my backyard!


Help guys!! We're trying to figure out what to do with out backyard patio area? As you can see its pretty much a blank canvas. The main problem we're having is evening time in the summer. When you walk out of the house onto the patio we're facing west so we get hot hot Texas sun beating down on us. So its safe to say that the patio is unuseable for us in the summer. Everytime I grill I end up with a headache from the sun from above and sun radiating off the concrete.

We need help trying to figure out what to do with this space and how to make it look nice. I've been thinking about building a pergola over the concrete slab that extends from the covered area of the patio. That part of the slab is 10'x19'. The roofline over the patio starts around 9.5'-10' or so.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Here are a few pictures of what I have to work with.









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Old 01-26-2010, 07:10 AM   #2
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Help me figure out what to do with my backyard!


A pergola is a great idea- tucked under the soffit, attached to the facia. You might consider running it longer and/or wider than the patio extension, depending on the angle of the sun.

It appears by the photographs that you have a slope away from the patio to a low or drainage area. While you would not want to obstruct that, a few shade trees places strategically around the pergola would look nice and help with providing shade- in a few years. If you go the shade tree route, just be careful to allow for growth. You might consider 10-15' away from the patio. I would also plan for a future walk from the patio to one side- wherever you have a gate leading to the side yard or driveway. Get all your hardscaping/structures planned first, then do your planting around the patio and foundation.

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Old 01-26-2010, 07:31 AM   #3
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Help me figure out what to do with my backyard!


I came out 5' from my stockade fence & planted flowers/perennials
With the aea you have you could probably come out 10' from the fence

I also planted Rose of Sharon's - small trees/bushes (hibiscus family)
They grow slowly & flower in the summer
They also reseed, I picked up my seedlings from a local restaurant that weeds them out & tosses them out
I now have over 100 growing in different areas

I try all sorts of flowers, some grow better then others
Lupines spread & reseed - as do most of what I buy

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Old 01-26-2010, 12:18 PM   #4
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Help me figure out what to do with my backyard!


My first suggestion would be trees, second would be Pergola, and better yet the combination of the two. IF you have a County Extension Agent, or equivalent, in your area seek their advice as to the type of trees for your area. I'm a big fan of trees, having planted 86 on my 1 1/2 acres since moving here--plenty of shade now. A County Extension Office may also be able to help you get trees from the State, if they have tree nurseries as we do here in GA. I recently did a 12' x 28' Pergola between a home and the pool and it made a world of difference in looks and gave them a little shade. I don't know the specifics of tress in your area, but you may be able to plant something that grows rather fast to get quick shade while the slow growers come along. Good Luck, David
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Old 01-26-2010, 06:44 PM   #5
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Help me figure out what to do with my backyard!


Pergolaout of 2Xs, and plant the right trees for later on. They'll be nice shade for a hammock eventually. You can also get a fabric retractable awning, but it probably won't last more than a year or so.
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Old 01-26-2010, 06:51 PM   #6
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Help me figure out what to do with my backyard!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
I came out 5' from my stockade fence & planted flowers/perennials
With the aea you have you could probably come out 10' from the fence This is good advice! In Texas you would want to pick drought resistant varieties.

I also planted Rose of Sharon's - small trees/bushes (hibiscus family)
They grow slowly & flower in the summer
They also reseed, I picked up my seedlings from a local restaurant that weeds them out & tosses them out
I now have over 100 growing in different areas

I try all sorts of flowers, some grow better then others
Lupines spread & reseed - as do most of what I buy

Seriously Dave, you chose to add Rose of Sharon?!? In my zone they are an horrific weed. Spent plenty of summers digging/chopping/cursing while trying to eradicate these from my parent's yard.
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Old 01-26-2010, 07:12 PM   #7
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Help me figure out what to do with my backyard!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Leah Frances View Post
Seriously Dave, you chose to add Rose of Sharon?!? In my zone they are an horrific weed. Spent plenty of summers digging/chopping/cursing while trying to eradicate these from my parent's yard.
They flower all summer long, hummingbirds love them
White/white, white/red center, red, purple/red center
I'm actually looking to add blue flower to my collection
They are planted along gardens, very easy to pull up
I've been giving them away to quite a few people
A friend goes around & cuts off the seed pods before they drop on his lawn

I planted 3 along the road as a guide for the snowplows
They kept plowing up the grass...not this year so far
They also make a good hedge
Here they take years to get to a decent size 4-5' high

A mature tree stand alone 15' tall looks great
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Old 01-26-2010, 08:28 PM   #8
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Help me figure out what to do with my backyard!


Plant just one tree in the right place to have shade at the time you are out on the patio in summer. That way you still get to have a nice lawn.

Don't locate the tree based on where the sun is in February, it will be way different in July. If you need help doing the calculations so you can plant now, let me know.

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