Dreaming of spring: flowers, fences and fun

Today seemed like the perfect day to write a blog post about plans for the backyard.  After living in a condo for many years our new home brought with it dreams of summer barbecues, lilac bushes, shading trees, tall glasses of lemonade and cool green grass.  Our reality is that there is still a lot of work to do to finish the house and get our new certificate of occupancy.  Still, a family can dream…

Our backyard today.

Our backyard today.

Although we moved into our house months ago, we are still working on the punch list with the contractor.  Unfortunately, the GC put us on the back burner, then the weather turned cold and what with the constant rain and freezing temperatures, we could not finish the back deck.  Thankfully, the railings and stairs were completed and only the stone deck surface needs to be installed.

In the fall we met with landscape designer, Dan Silverstein, whose services we “won” at our daughter’s school auction last winter.  He came out to see our yard and we discussed ideas for the space.  He took some measurements and we showed him some photos of backyards we liked.  Below is the yard before construction on the house.  We hacked down that tree closest to the building but need to remove the stump in the spring.

Back Yard Shot From Roof

Back Yard Shot From Roof

When looking at outdoor areas we tended to like clean modern spaces but we (I) definitely want an area with some wild flowers and an English garden feel.  We already know the design of fence we want but are worried about how much sun it will block out.

The inspiration photos:


The narrow slats and wider spacing at the top allow for more light to get through.


We are going to have to use plantings that work well in shade and half sun, especially if we put wooden fence up.

We are going to have to use plantings that work well in shade and half sun, especially if we put wooden fence up.

And this one is a little on the dreaming side but not impossible (no TV just pool or hot/cold tub). hot tub

Our designer came back with a plan that we liked.  We were open to completely re-arranging the space but decided that our budget was not so we are planning to keep the basic bones but clean it up.

backyard plan

As weary urban dwellers, we definitely wanted to keep some grass.  In the long area with the plantings, we hope we have enough sunlight to have a small kitchen garden and some flowers.  In the back, we will probably go with bushes for privacy and to greenify things back there.  These plans are a good start and we liked the way Dan blended modern with natural elements like gravel around the tree and green plantings in the brick walkway.  When spring finally starts to bloom we will fine tune the plans and hopefully, if the rest of the house is done (remember we still have that rental unit to fix up), we will get to start on it.


6 thoughts on “Dreaming of spring: flowers, fences and fun

  1. How fun! We’re planning on tackling the back yard in the spring as well. We have a design we love and now it’s a matter of implementing it. Who did you use to fabricate the deck? We’re searching for someone to make ours.

  2. It is more of a balcony than a deck. Our contractor did it, who sadly we don’t recommend! Design Tech did a good job on our our blue stone patio but they are a little pricey. I think our landscape designer Dan builds decks as well (or works with people to build it).

  3. Great! Can’t wait to see the finished product. Why stone surface and not a wood composite. I’m struggling with the same choice, so would to hear how you guys came to select stone.
    And what type of door did you chose for the deck opening?

    • I don’t know–one thing lead to another! Our architect listed a stone surface on the original plans and then when the time came, the frame of it is metal and they cemented it in blue stone, and since our downstairs patio is blue stone, we thought why not match it. Our doors are Marvin french swing out doors you can see here: https://brownstonecyclone.com/2013/08/29/the-kitchen/
      In fact, I think it is time to write a post on our finished kitchen.

  4. What a lovely plan! I’ll also be eventually moving into a brownstone which has a garden (contractor mud pit) surrounded by a chain link fence. I really love your inspiration fence. Could you share who it’s by? Were you planning on using it around your whole garden? Thanks!

    • Thanks. We found that fence on Pinterest. If you search wooden fences is should be easy to find. My husband has already build part of the fence–we will do a post sometime soon. So far we have made a privacy fence along our patio. We are worried if we extend it all along the flowers won’t get light so we are observing the light for the season to see how it goes. We might have to suffer with that awful chain link in exchange for vegetables and flowers.

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