Many people love sitting in their backyard after work or playing with the kids and they want to improve what they have but sometimes they get these grand ideas before really considering what fits with their property.
Before you begin any job it is important to plan it out and understand not only how it will look but how it will function for many years to come.
A friend is starting a new backyard project that is starting to get away from them. At first it was just going to be a paver seating area where they could enjoy the outside a bit more. They live in a suburb of a northeastern city and their property is somewhere around a third of an acre.
Their thoughts are more on how the project will look rather than how it will work in everyday life and I don’t think they have taken any consideration of how they will be maintaining it after it is installed.
If you can see they have extended the driveway with hardscape completely around the home. They have taken a good third of their backyard away with hardscape and they will be building only a 1 foot drop terrace so it is not like they need to build terraced patios because the lot drops off dramatically. Its basically level land that slopes to the rear of the lot so rain runoff won’t stay near the home.
Runoff is another problem because they have covered most of their backyard any rain that does accumulate during rains will not penetrate the ground as easy. They are likely to have pooling which could cause problems with their foundation if they expect to build a level patio right up against the house.
Finally if you look at the amount of hardscape they are installing on this lot it will likely cost them tens of thousands of dollars in both materials and labor. There is no way that the average home owner can tackle such a large job on their own in even a full season if they are also working. I would expect that an average home owner would have problems laying just the path on the side of the home to the rear of the house in a month or two of limited nights and weekends because it has to be 100 foot by 4 foot wide and larger near the rear of the property.
So this definitely is a project that got way out of hand by our friend just adding on more and more stuff that might be great on a 2 acre or larger lot but doesn’t fit their home.
I see projects like this a lot. People want things but they don’t take into consideration that their property just can’t support it. I had a neighbor put in a huge backyard like this with a very large deck that they never got a permit for. They ended up having to rip most of it out and redo some of it to pass building code.
When you have property this small your neighbors may not have restrictions on your property based on water runoff but the local building official will take that into account. If you are not on municipal sewers there would be another problem with your water waste system and the runoff of your gutters causing problems.
Additionally if all of this was to pass inspection and there were no other concerns the time that it would take to manage this property would be out of line with its size. When you have so many different features and grass growing between them you end up not being able to cut your yard right. You end up using weed wackers to trim large areas that normally you might have even been able to use a small riding mower on.
All of this takes away from your life and in the end you realize that all you have done is cause yourself more work and more headaches and more important you paid a lot of money to do it.
Sometimes Simple is better but thats not to say this home owner can’t have a great backyard with room for entertaining and other needs. Its just to say maybe they need to adjust their check list to fit their property better,