Want to make my backyard another living space. Recommendations?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by capitalcityguy, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. capitalcityguy

    capitalcityguy Well-Known Member

    Jun 14, 2007
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    We live in a townhome, but can modify our backyards. We have a walkout basement with a small backyard. I'd love to make it feel like just another room of our house (albeit, outside). I'm thinking about extending the patio, maybe putting in a built-in gas grill, maybe a small water feature, add to the landscaping, etc.) Do people have recommendations for individuals, firms, books, websites, etc. that could help me make this happen? I'd like to do some of the work myself, but would need a professional/visionary to plan it and help with the more difficult tasks (i.e...move sprinkler heads, lay pavers, put in the water feature,).

    Thanks!
     
  2. DaddyMac

    DaddyMac Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2006
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    Go out to This Old House's website. Within the past few months they did a profile of backyard spaces and ideas in the mag. Not sure if its online, but if you search their site, I'm sure you'll fund all kinds of articles and pictures for ideas.
     
  3. madcityCY

    madcityCY Well-Known Member

    Nov 29, 2006
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    If you have the budget, you might consider consulting a landscape architect for something very specific to your space and needs.
     
  4. Freebird

    Freebird Well-Known Member

    Apr 11, 2006
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    -Read lots of books and review as many plans as you can.
    -Get an overall plan before you start.
    -Use the best materials you can afford.
    -Hire a pro for most if not all if you can afford it.
    -Be prepared to maintain features such as water fountains and plants.
     
  5. madcityCY

    madcityCY Well-Known Member

    Nov 29, 2006
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    PS: I built an 1800 gallon water garden in my parents backyard about 10 years ago. Really cool, attracts wildlife, relaxing sound of water running etc, but its a bit of a maintenance chore.
     
  6. capitalcityguy

    capitalcityguy Well-Known Member

    Jun 14, 2007
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    I may be willing to pay for that. Any local recommendations for good landscape achitects in the DM area? I'd like to do a lot of the planting myself, but that is about as far as my skills (and ambition) go.
     
  7. capitalcityguy

    capitalcityguy Well-Known Member

    Jun 14, 2007
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    The water feature is only an idea, not a requirement and remember, this is a townhome so yards are small. I won't be looking at anything anywhere near 1800 gallons (if I do anything at all).

    I just went and measured the space. Not including the current patio, it is approx 38' by 36'. Also, I have to leave access for the both neighbors and the lawn people (as we're a middle unit of four) so we can't cut off north/south traffic.
     
  8. fnclone

    fnclone Member

    Feb 6, 2010
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    HOT TUB!!!!!!!!!!
     
  9. capitalcityguy

    capitalcityguy Well-Known Member

    Jun 14, 2007
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    Haven't ruled that out (in fact several of my neighbors have them) , but I can place that on my patio now. Don't really need someone to help me plan that, but I do appreciate the reminder. I wouldn't mind having a hot tub as part of my outdoor living room too if it works out.
     
  10. capitalcityguy

    capitalcityguy Well-Known Member

    Jun 14, 2007
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    Great advice, but I was hoping for some specifics. Names of books/magazines. Where/how do you best draft a plan? etc.
     
  11. terryk

    terryk Active Member

    Apr 13, 2006
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    Grimes

    we used Perrenial Gardens out of Ankeny/ ISU grad. Also a water garden guy at Renes green house Johnston, i think he is an ISU grad as well
     
  12. madcityCY

    madcityCY Well-Known Member

    Nov 29, 2006
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    Sure, sure. My 'rents place is a farm - lots of space. I guess all I was trying to say is that having water (sound) is a nice amenity, but you'd definitely want to do something to scale.

    Unfortunately I think I know one L.A. in Des Moines area, and Im not sure about his availability. I could definitely hook you up in Madison. You may be able to find a young professional on this board who's looking to moonlight for cheap. The easiest thing to do is have them develop some ideas for you (space planning) and then go landscaping companies and get bids.
     
  13. Royalclone

    Royalclone Active Member

    Jun 22, 2008
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    Lee's Summit, MO
  14. kingcy

    kingcy Well-Known Member

    Sep 16, 2006
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    Read, look around, ask questions and learn. Then do it for yourself. It will give you something to do and save you a pile of money.
     
  15. capitalcityguy

    capitalcityguy Well-Known Member

    Jun 14, 2007
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    I appreciate the input, but these comments aren't really helpful. Maybe I need to be a bit more specific.

    I have a decent paying "regular" job and a side business...plus a wife and 4 year old daughter that I like to spend time with. It doesn't "save me a pile of money" spending hours and hours away from these priorities to learn and then create the type of backyard I'm wanting to put in (and in the process, having a good chance of having to learn via trial and error) . As I prioritize what my time is worth, getting assistance for a lot of this work is more appropriate. Like I said, I'm willing to do the planting and maintance, but that is about it.
     
  16. saf

    saf Active Member

    Apr 2, 2006
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    Ames, IA
    Give Country Landscapes a call--owned by 2 ISU alums. I work there along w/ several other CF members.

    We do all sizes and scopes of projects all over the state. From large commercial projects like Wells Fargo, Aviva, and Edgewater to estates to foundation plantings or landscape renovations...to outdoor living spaces. :) Country Landscapes, Inc.
     
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