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Design

The FINAL Kitchen Patio Design With Yardzen

** I wrote this post days ago, postponed til today, publishing it with discomfort and sadness during what is another ugly day after ugly day in America. While I don’t want to move on I also know there might be times in your day where you want to think about something else. So if that time is now here you go.

As the inside of the farm is coming along, the outside is NOT. It’s like spending $1k to detail the inside of your car and leaving the exterior covered in bird poop and layers of dirt. Part of me wants to close my eyes, climb into the car and never look out the windsheild, because cleaning that poop off and designing/landscaping this yard is going to be daunting and expensive. Luckily I have these renderings to look at and I can feel hope for the future, that one day we may not have to apologize or do that annoying dance of ‘we are still working on the …,” or “please excuse the…’, etc. to people when they come over. A few weeks ago we showed you the first round of renderings from Yardzen for our kitchen patio and covered walkway area (essentially the entire south side of the house) which we loved. Since they sent it to us we realized that the covered walkway needed some major changes and we had some additional notes. So today I’ll walk you through those changes as well as show you a real-time side by the side of what it looks like now and what it will look like in 2 years (planting this fall but realistically not fully grown in for a couple of years). We need a major car wash here with the help of Yardzen.

THE COVERED WALKWAY

This was the biggest challenge because we love the covered walkway so much, and yet the locaiton of the new kitchen door made it really off center to the walkway. The whole thing was just a mess to figure out until one day I was standing back and maybe Jamie mentioned it first, not sure, but we realized that we could lose one “leg” of it and it would simplify the roofline so much, make the kitchen patio bigger and solve all of our overhang issues.

So as you can see we will just cut it off here so that it dead-ends into the patio – only one long roofline and they’ll rebuild the roof to be pretty and intentional.

The rendering above does not reflect how ARCIFORM would build it – they would pitch the roof back down so as you are looking at it you see the roof angled up (not just looking cut off). Here is the view facing North towards the house. We will have Clematis, Ferns, and Jasmine layered around the walkway creating a fun sensory experience of organic texture and the oh so sweet smell of Jasmine…I can’t wait!

The walkway is so dreamy and just needs some love. We are big fans of ferns over here and with some light pink climbers I think it’s going to be stunning.

As you can see we had them switch the trees from white to pink – not bright pink but more coppery tones.

THE NEW RAILING + LANDING

The new little landing had room for a little bench, but it didn’t have room for the same chunky railing, so here we are doing a metal railing which I think ties in nicely with the diamond pattern original windows and the black wrought iron accents. The one thing that we are waiting to figure out is an overhang over the door. Now the kids have a couple of other entries that we are hoping to force them to use on a daily basis, but trust that for groceries, etc, this will be the main one. So in a perfect world, there would be a cover over the door more than what there is here. Had we figured out this whole situation earlier we would have integrated it into the roofline, but since we didn’t it will need some support (i.e. posts) which will disrupt it all. So we are waiting to see what we need – we’ll live there in the winter to figure out how annoying this is with the rain. I have a feeling it won’t be that big of a deal. We have the front porch and the mudroom which are all covered for guests or people waiting for someone to open. On dry days they can take their shoes off outside (or leave their super muddy ones) and on rainy days we’ll just force them to go through the mudroom or front porch (I hope).

How sweet is that? We will likely not put pillows on it like the rendering, haha, but my Wellies. As you can see its not covered which means that any shoes will get rained on in the winter, but having a little landing for the shoes for the dryer months I think is useful.

In these renders you can tell that the table is too small (my choice) so I’ll figure out what we want to do here. Also I had Yardzen scale back the amount of plants as we still have residual shame from not keeping our indoor plants alive years ago, but I have to remind myself that literally everything grows in Oregon, except when it’s summer when it’s all of a sudden 100 degrees. I’M SO CONFUSED ABOUT THIS WEATHER.

BRICK PATTERN REIMAGINED

So we changed the brick pattern again, and yet this is still NOT decided because after we were almost 100% on the Spanish bond pattern the brick company (Glen Gery) said that the pattern would create so much waste. Now that I’m writing that I’m wondering if we could still tweak that pattern to make it work. Cali from Studio Campo (which is doing more of the whole homestead plan) came up with this running bond in the shape of a larger herringbone – working out from the middle. We were going to partner with GlenGery (this brick is called ‘old city brick’ and it’s awesome) because we loved the product and reached out to see if this would be mutually beneficial. They were excited to be part of the project. So I want to use the product how they recommended it best installed, but then just this week they let us know that shipping is 7k and going up quickly. So now we are re-thinking this again. Sure we save on product but between shipping and the installation of this brick, the patio is going to be so expensive and we are starting to pump the breaks a bit.

NEW BORDER TREATMENT

We opted for the brick border because as my brother puts it, ‘Don’t put dirt by your house or it will look muddy all year and you’ll be power washing it 5 times a year”. I think we are afraid of it being just dirty and gross out there, so we are keeping this area cleaner and adding more pots. But most of the house will have plants against the house so I’m not sure how to avoid what ken is talking about. Do you put pebbles between the plants and the exterior of the house? Do tell?!

PLANTINGS

So good. We have all these beautiful plants along the south wall, providing some privacy and softening the scale of the house. And then the patio is more clean (for now) and we can dress it up with more pots if we want to. Yardzen nailed it.

THE FINAL PLANS

One of the things that has come up a lot is how to edge the pea gravel. Yardzen, Studio Campo and I all wanted brick lining. Great. Why pea gravel? Well, we love the casual vibe of gravel and it’s more affordable than masonry work like flagstone and brickwork, and DG might turn to mud up here in the winter. But mostly it’s the vibe. The crunch. The casualness. But what we didn’t predict is that to do it properly its still really expensive. Rock right now is more expensive than it used to be, plus labor of course. Our build team wants us to edge it with steel which we know works and is the cheapest option but it’s not the vibe of this farm – that kind of edging makes it look so manicured and too straight almost. So we had chosen brick (which is what Yardzen also loved) but I guess to do that you have to dig down and do some sort of plastic divider and then line it – aka again, not cheap. But honestly we don’t want a super straight manicured path, we wanted a pebble walkway to the back, with a crunchy sound and just rocks on both sides. So we are figuring out what the solution is.

The Autocad plans

Ok. now these are the plans that Yardzen will give to our build team which help them A. quote and B. execute. There might be some ‘in the field game day’ changes of course, but this is such an incredible service to be able to hand over.

It is going to be GLORIOUS!

When it looks like THIS…

Of course, the styling might change at any moment – I think the table we chose is too small, for instance, and we’d likely want at least to sit 8 people so I might go back to a rectangle. But what I know is that the renderings from Yardzen are SO incredibly helpful to see what works and what needs to be re-thought. More than anything we are wondering if we are overthinking the rest of the yard – we actually liked the rural/rustic nature of the property when we bought it, but have since kinda destroyed the area around the house. We have all these incredible people working on it, which we feel so grateful for (Studio Campo, Yardzen, and the landscape crew which I’ll link up soon) but we are so fearful that we are making expensive permanent decisions that we are going to regret and that if we just lived in a less manicured state for a couple of years we’d have a better idea of our true needs. But we can’t live in a mud pit so do we invest some knowing that things might change? It’s such a domino effect.

Remember last week when I said it feels like a firehose of cash going nonstop and no one can find the ‘off’ nozzle? Don’t feel sorry for me, not asking for pity obviously because it’s a true privilege to be able to beautify your home in any way, but I know that many of you have been in this position and can relate. The interior is one thing – it is directly related to my work and my partnerships – I want and need this house to be beautifully executed inside for our famly’s enjoyment first and foremost, but also because it supports the business. We just so wish that we could live on the property and know how we are going to use the exterior before we invest so much in the landscaping. At this point, the construction to rebuild the inside of the house has fully torn up the yard so we have to do something short-term to not live in a mud pit. We might phase it out more than we had originally planned to help replenish the budget and to mostly make sure that we are making the right decisions – based on actually living there, not trying to predict our future needs and wants. It’s starting to feel reckless and once you get that feeling, you need to stop and re-assess.

So here is what we are starting with: Demo of the roof/covered pathway that is close to the kitchen, demo of the concrete and flagstone (to be repurposed), install of the kitchen patio floor and plantings along the south wall and covered pathway. Brian and I are meeting for hours a day on site to troubleshoot the rest of the property – all things driveway (boring and $$$$), sports court revamp (exciting but $$$), new lawn (necessary but $$), privacy fencing and vehicular gates (necessary but $$$$) and planting (good to have, but can be $$$$). We hope to have some answers and clarity soon I promise.

More to come for the back porch which is what Yardzen is tackling next as soon as Brian and I make some decisions. But a quick endorsement – I have LOVED working with Yardzen thus far and found their ideas awesome, their aesthetic extremely aligned with mine and most importantly their expertise impressive.

*Sidenote: I was super happy to hear that they were named one of Inc magazines best workplace list, which makes me so happy. One of my contacts, Kevin, was gone on paternity leave at the beginning of the process for 3 months which just made me super super happy.

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Karen
1 month ago

Thanks for the railing inspiration to my 1930’s house. I’ve been trying to keep its original railing alive but it might be time to move on.
Renderings look gorgeous.

Sarah
1 month ago

I love the walkway! And, thank you, I did need this respite today. But like many of your readers, I will be thinking of what I can do next (calling my representatives, donating blood, etc).

mouseface
1 month ago

These look cute!. . As someone with a home built by 2 generations of cowboy contractors, with basically a stream running through the basement I would highly recommend that you put function first and speak to a guttering and drainage specialist from your area to figure out the proper grading and treatment of the edge around your home before you commit to any plantings or bricking To avoid a damp basement and foundation there are often location specific grading and guttering treatments around home foundations designed to bring rain water runoff away from the house. My home came with drains running under the lawn to to pull water from my home. However it had no real guttering just waterfall off the roof vibes LOL. Adding the guttering to the drains affected the edging of my home. Of course the guttering and edging plans will affect any plantings , etc. Are you guys planning to collect rainwater for irrigation ? That will influence any landscape and foundation surrounding planting plans..In such a rainy climate it seems 1. vitally important to make a plan for rain runoff and 2. like a waste to not grab that lovely rain and use it for… Read more »

Kj
1 month ago
Reply to  mouseface

The covered walkway connects the two houses. You can see a bit more of it here: https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/introducing-our-portland-farmhouse

mouseface
1 month ago
Reply to  Kj

Ah right OK. Thanks !

Jenni
1 month ago
Reply to  mouseface

I was wondering the same thing. What is the point of the covered walkway if it doesn’t go all the way to the house door? You would get soaking wet in the several yards from the end of the walkway to going through the door into what I think is the mudroom (or kitchen?). To me, it seems to defeat the purpose of having shelter from the rain for a part of your walk inside.

monica
1 month ago
Reply to  Jenni

The walkway goes from the patio to another house, not to the driveway – the walkway to the driveway in not covered at all….so overall the walkway is not particularly useful anyway.

Lucy
1 month ago
Reply to  mouseface

I agree with this. It seems like Yardzen is great for planning the aesthetically pleasing part of landscaping, but Emily should really look into the practicalities and not just blindly plant a bunch of plants.

I also can’t believe that after eleventy zillion different plans for renovating the house, the covered walkway has survived. It’s ugly and now after removing a chunk, it’s non-functional.

Amanda
1 month ago
Reply to  mouseface

costs money to tear stuff down too – nothing wrong with leaving the covered walkway just cuz you guys don’t like it/understand it

Lill
1 month ago
Reply to  mouseface

Collecting rainwater doesn’t work out well here in the Pacific Northwest. During the rainy season there is no need for irrigation, and then during the dry season when you want to irrigate your garden there is no rain to collect. A gigantic system would be needed to store winter rain for summer use – not worth the expense.

mouseface
1 month ago
Reply to  Lill

Yeah I have been researching these cool huge rainwater storage tanks systems that are trickling into residential applications, As Isaid I bet Emily could get sponsored so there would be no expense. They have all the space in the world for it and use for it on the grounds and for the Llamas etc. It seems like. greta change to be a green early adopter ! https://www.architectmagazine.com/design/harvesting-the-rain_o

mouseface
1 month ago
Reply to  mouseface

great chance ! Butterfingers

Ellie
1 month ago
Reply to  mouseface

Super apt typo though!

mouseface
1 month ago
Reply to  Ellie

Ha ha just caught that LOL

Erin
1 month ago
Reply to  mouseface

In support of the covered walkway: it’s original, whimsical, romantic, rustic, lovely and a little funky while also providing shade, supporting space for more plantings and general hardscape interest. Less expensive to gently rehab than demo and it kinda looks like it would be an awesome spot for a little outdoor wedding. Keep it wild. Perfect is boring.

NotOwler
1 month ago
Reply to  mouseface

Looking pretty! But as a Finn (land of rain, snow, sleet and thus also the land of people worried about damp-damage to houses) have to ask: what is your rainwater control plan? As the previous poster wrote, you’re likely to have a significant problem with rainwater in foundations/under-house structures if it gets to fall freely right next to the house. Maybe they’ve not been put into the renderings so as to have less cluttered images, but I would not build a house somewhere as wet as Oregon if the house didn’t have proper gutters to collect and direct water away from the structure. Over here the advice is to not plant anything closer than 40-50 cm from your external walls, to prevent the foundations wetting, and it’s also recommended to have the house on a slight inclination from the yard (not a hill, just a small tilt in the ground surface) to keep the feet of the house dry. (Maybe you’ve covered this somewhere previously but we also do hidden drainer tubes in the ground around the house to further keep the house dry.) You can do really cute things with the area between house and planting area, from fun… Read more »

Patricia
1 month ago
Reply to  mouseface

To: Mouse : I agree with your practical idea of gutters and downspouts and to make sure that water is channeled away from the foundation. Make sure the area on your property is leveled to make the rainwater run away from the house to the lowest part of the yard. Check if you have ever had water in your basement, it can come up from under the concrete and might need a sump pump which can be expensive. You could always take down the covered walkway and pour cement for your walkway now and in a year or two you could cover up the cement with a brick paver in a pattern that you would be sure of. I have lived in Seattle, and a suburb of Portland and have experienced all of the above. I wish I had known before the problems of having a lot of rain.

mouseface
1 month ago
Reply to  Patricia

Yeah my house is built on a spring on a hill and half my basement is just rock face. It came with extensive french drains and a a sump pump and sit still has a spurting water feature out of the basement rocks when it rains LOL. The water moves well so its not moldy so I live with it LOL. Added back gutters this year and it made a HUGE difference . Water is no joke !

mouseface
1 month ago
Reply to  Patricia

A great idea to pour the concrete first and add pavers later! Form follows function!

Luisa
1 month ago
Reply to  mouseface

Love it. Was wondering though, I have been seeing these huge oversized pots that are big enough to grow small trees in a lot of garden patio redos. Looking online I have had a hard time finding anything bigger then say 30ish inches in diameter. I would love a post on sourcing HUGE pots or at least some tips on finding some that don’t cost $10K.

Emily
1 month ago

Hooray!! Please do a detailed post on the patio when you nail everything down – do you use whole bricks or veneer/cut bricks? Do you put down a cement slab? What kind of mortar/sand? Thank you!!

1 month ago
Reply to  Emily

I’m not sure about this specific project, but generally in my area of the country (midwest) the pavers would be concrete or clay pavers made specifically for walking on (normal house bricks are too soft). The ones that look like bricks are called Holland Stones. They are pretty inexpensive and still excellent quality. I use them a lot with more traditional houses because they fit the aesthetic, while not breaking the bank. The mortar is called polymeric sand. The one that I’ve seen the most is by techniseal. :).

Mudrick
1 month ago

Looking so lovely! The herb window boxes looks so high off the ground in the rendering I’m wondering if it will be difficult to plant, maintain and harvest? Will you do that from inside the house?

Erin
1 month ago
Reply to  Mudrick

I was wondering the same thing. I imagined watering would be tricky from the outside because you are lower and can’t really see into the planters, if you keep screens of those windows it should be easy to water and harvest. Ornamental cabbage will look so good in those this fall!

Tarynkay
1 month ago

This is really beautiful! I can’t wait to see it finished!

But… Did I read that right? $7K just on shipping the bricks? Could you consider other materials that are more local to you if the bricks and gravel are so expensive and hard to get? I don’t know what you have over there in Portland. We used pavers that a neighbor was giving away when he tore up his patio. We like to tell ourselves that we are leaning into that scrappy charm, the truth is we are just cheap.

Suzanne
1 month ago
Reply to  Tarynkay

I know! That shipping cost is high! I reused pavers of my old patio for this reason. Even the labor to relay them was expensive.

Erica
1 month ago
Reply to  Tarynkay

Or just use a local brick yard?

Erin
1 month ago
Reply to  Tarynkay

re-store?

1 month ago
Reply to  Tarynkay

I’m not really surprised about the cost of shipping. But I would look into seeing if there is a local source for concrete pavers, or clay pavers. They might even make them near you, which would save on shipping :). Unfortunately the amount that you need for that patio is a lot, and pavers are different than house bricks, so while it’s definitely worth it to look at the Restore and a local brick yard, don’t be too disappointed to not find that amount there. I’m trying to convince someone in my area to start a Restore for landscaping products, but I have been told that just washing off the material would make it not profitable… :(.

Reanna
1 month ago

Love this post – both in the design detail and the insight into how you’re feeling. “It’s starting to feel reckless and once you get that feeling, you need to stop and re-assess.” I give you permission to pause for a year or two 😉 Your Yardzen plans don’t expire; if you can find a fix for the mudpit, spending time with friends and family will more than make-up for any “to be continued” spaces. Congrats on your progress towards one of many finish lines!

Emily
1 month ago
Reply to  Reanna

We had a patch of grass where we want to put a patio, and my husband dug up the grass in a burst of energy. But we’re not ready for the patio, so we bought two cheap outdoor rugs at costco and put them down to prevent mud / tracking dirt. May not be the prettiest, but lets us enjoy the space until we have a patio!

Katie
1 month ago
Reply to  Reanna

+100 to pausing!! DH and I built a house 1.5 years ago and it was SAND around most of it for the first year. Just this year we’re figuring out what we want to actually do to it – there are some much different plans now than if we would have had to figure it out right away. Someone whose familiar with a lot of development/construction told us that we have 4-5 years to really figure out the landscaping around the house – it just takes that long to figure out how you use the house, then how the light works everywhere, then to do the landscaping. Decision fatigue is real, outdoor patio is really expensive, and more so – you do not know how you’re going to be be really using the house yet. You say it yourself in the post. At least from the pictures and the video on instastories, the kitchen patio really doesn’t look that muddy – the existing concrete patch and pavers will be totally fine when it’s just you guys living there and not all the contractor crews going in and out all day. Grass/clover seed where there are muddy spot, get the driveway… Read more »

this is so so gorgeous! sigh!

Susan
1 month ago

I am hearing and reading about the school shooting everywhere, so this IS a welcome respite. We can care and also need safe havens from the constant coverage.

Grass seed is not that expensive so I don’t see why most of the torn up yard can’t just be reseeded until you live with the property for a while.

Erin
1 month ago
Reply to  Susan

sod is pretty easy to cut and remove when you are ready to make that decision later. this summer is supposed to be hottt in PNW, at this point in May it will probably be easier to get plantings and esp trees established when they will have a longer root growth period.

Alexandra Rose
1 month ago

You may have already tried this but what if you demo’ed the portion of the walkway roof that you were already going to demo and rebuild it back to be centered on the new door and raise just the new gable leg so that it dies into the kitchen roof?

Alexandra Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Alexandra Rose

Oops, skylights! Nevermind 🙂

Gabrielle
1 month ago

“We just so wish that we could live on the property and know how we are going to use the exterior before we invest so much in the landscaping. “………………why don’t you?

You can get around that mud for a year, thru some grass seeds, or grass rolls on the part in front of the house.
Patience
Till you get what you really want:
– That the outside “room” evokes the feelings you want…….I don’t believe this is it (doesn’t feel relaxing, peaceful in nature). Seriously how is the flagstone that is already there with plants growing thru it and the existing path tough to live with? I prefer the organic not trying to hard feel of the flagstone.
– Functionally the ideas that work with the way you live and look great.
I am all for planting any known specimens so time on there side and the rest latter.

Good luck

Julie
1 month ago

So beautiful! Thanks for the respite from the news. As lover of pea gravel as well I caution having it to close to grass. My kids (3 & 7) LOVE pea gravel and so it seems does every other child age 1-10. We have a strip of pea gravel down the center of our driveway for water mitigation purposes. They play, dig, even gasp! throw it. If we did not have a (more than a bricks width) bridge between the grass and the gravel (concrete in this instance) we would end up with a significant amount of gravel in the yard. A total bear when you are trying to mow.
I have also used the steel edging in portions of our yard and was super happy. We have a 1923 home and it fits quite nicely into the landscape. You hardly notice once it has rusted as it disappears into the mulch and it holds up well- we are one year 3.
Best of luck with your landscaping journeys! Ours have recently wrapped up and it makes me so very happy!

Stacy
1 month ago

Sounds like you’re moving too fast! The yardzen plans are really beautiful, but the landscape doesn’t need to be rushed. We recently had a seismic retrofit done from the outside, so basically contractors crushed and compacting every single spec of dirt surrounding the house. Between loading up compost in those areas and waiting a year (helping the soil bounce back), and then understanding how we use the space (turns out we actually love the patio out front because it’s sunny – I assumed we’d never use it since the back is private) our yard turned out quite differently than if I had gone straight to it the minute we moved in.

So, I suppose this is just a vote for not rushing things!

And I recently made the mistake of thinking we did not need a covered area by the back door. Incorrect! Not recommended. Between needing to put down grocery bags to unlock the door, and halt wet and muddy dog feet to be wiped off, I think I’m going to add a less attractive little awning that I can at least pull out during the NW winter time.

Stacy
1 month ago
Reply to  Stacy

Oh, I forgot to add! I see tons of beautiful bricks at our architectural salvage places. This may not be possible since you’re already working with a sponsor, but I bet you could get bricks locally that aren’t 7k to ship. Best of luck!

Margaret
1 month ago

I have a number of friends with pea gravel paths in their landscaping and their dogs get the gravel caught in their paws, which they then track in the house and then that leads to scratches on their hardwood floors. Has anyone else had this problem?

Suzanne
1 month ago
Reply to  Margaret

They also get in shoes with lug soles, but I still love my pea gravel. Shoes off helps in my case, but they could do a paw check for the dogs, which they often will do in the rainy season. And dogs will probably go in and out through the mud room.

Karen
1 month ago
Reply to  Margaret

I haven’t had a problem with dog paws but definitely in shoe soles and it’s hard to keep it from getting into the lawn.

Katie
1 month ago
Reply to  Margaret

I also washes away in heavy rain. Its beautiful but maybe not practical.

Carla in Philly
1 month ago

I think I would just skip the gravel path. You have a lot of pathways around the house… I don’t think you need one there. Just have it be grass up to the flower bed. In the future, if you figure out that you’re walking that way past the house a lot (which is hard to imagine, given that it’s not a path to the driveway or anything), you can dig it up and do gravel or brick or (my preference) flagstone/bluestone/slate.

Angela
1 month ago

I think it’s a path to the mudroom.

Katie
1 month ago
Reply to  Angela

I think it is too, and because of that I think that path needs to be hardscaped – either concrete or brick or pavers. I love pea gravel – the crunch, the look, the feel beneath bare feet – but if that’s the path to the mudroom you’re going to end up with so much pea gravel inside the house.

Karen
1 month ago
Reply to  Katie

It’s so funny to watch tender-footed people walk barefoot on gravel, though 😆 “ooh, ooh, ow, wiiiiiince”

mouseface
1 month ago
Reply to  Karen

Ha yeah I hate pea gravel for that reason!

Amber
1 month ago

Regarding rocks near the foundation, I say yes that’s a good idea. My house doesn’t have gutters, which I thought was weird when we bought it, but we do have a row of 2 inch sized rocks all around the foundation. It breaks the water droplets up, so the splashing is a lot less intense, and obviously there’s no dirt to splash back in the house. I was surprised, but it works. (In case anyone is worried, inspectors and contractors have confirmed the foundation is in good shape and the basement is dry.) The only place the water is overwhelming is where two rooflines come together in a valley. I decided to take advantage of the deluge, and put a rain barrel there. And I would also recommend waiting before implementing a plan. I am impatient and started landscaping right after buying the house (because I was embarrassed about it’s condition, if I’m honest). After a year and a half of living with it, and reading a library’s worth of books on garden design, what I want has changed pretty dramatically. Moving plants has been kind of annoying, but moving larger features like a fire pit is going to be… Read more »

Wendy
1 month ago

Use crushed granite, not pea gravel! I’ve put it down for pathways in gardens in 2 homes here in the Pacific Northwest and it is far superior. It just crushes down slowly over time with all the rain and is way more foot friendly. It doesn’t bounce around into the plants in your yard like people does. It has a casual vibe but is way more solid to walk on. Similar cost to pea gravel. As a gardener, I agree with the previous poster who said that they’d get those plants in the ground. They need time, and even if you’re working out the hardscaping they will be establishing and looking pretty while the rest is in flux. To answer one of your questions, yes, if you want to run the brick right up next to the house and not have beds in that patio corner, you’ll put a small strip of gravel in between them and the house. You won’t even notice it once it’s in. And I also agree with the previous poster that drainage is super important here. Not a sexy expense, but critical, so that you protect your investment in the home structure and don’t have… Read more »

Wendy
1 month ago
Reply to  Wendy

^ *like pea gravel does
not “people” lol

Kate
1 month ago
Reply to  Wendy

Completely agree – you want “1/4 minus” here in the Portland, NOT pea gravel.

Go up to Joy Creek Nursery and check out their paths – it’s all 1/4 minus and it works far better here in Portland. It will also benefit your soil and plantings if it ever were to migrate. Pea gravel doesn’t do that.

🥰 Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Wendy

Everything you said!
While the renderings are lovely, I fear this is a future regret being manifested.😳

Amy Boulle
1 month ago
Reply to  Wendy

Re: gravel, can you speed up compaction of 1/4 minus with a bit of mechanical help? We’re considering it for a sitting area (not dining, no chairs scooting around) and thought we might rent a small compactor to tamp it down vs letting it settle over time.

Angela
1 month ago

What sun exposure is that area? Will the ferns be happy if there’s full sun?

Erin
1 month ago
Reply to  Angela

Think she said north facing, ferns are ok

Lydia
1 month ago

I have two passionate opinions. First – steel (especially when rusted) would be beautiful! I see it often in rustic perennial gardens – the plants soften it. It will keep the pebbles from going into your lawn and garden beds, unlike brick. Second – just mulch your garden beds with a thick layer of cedar chips. It smells amazing, benefits the soil, and you won’t have dirt splashing when it rains.

Ane
1 month ago

I love the planting and the patio design. I’m just wondering if there is a sidewalk from the front to the mudroom to encourage people and kids to use that entrance when they come

Lucy
1 month ago
Reply to  Ane

If I recall correctly there isn’t one, just grass. Seems like an oversight imo but maybe people will use it if asked?

Doni
1 month ago

NH here – most houses have a 12-18″ rock border right up against the house, and then the planter. It’s typically a crushed granite here (granite state and all) but it could be any rock I think. It looks nice and means the rain doesn’t splatter mud on the house!

emily jane
1 month ago

What if you added a sweet fabric awning to cover just the porch -so at the very least you have protection while unlocking the door to enter (a smaller, simpler solution to leave in place while you live with, and sort out whether ‘a covered path that ends in a dash thru the elements as you unload groceries’ is what you want in the long run ; ).
Additionally, of my three doors, only one is covered and I find the two that aren’t (both garage-turned-living-space entries) is the source of soooOOO much debris that folks otherwise take the time to wipe off their feet before entering when a covered, dry moment provides the opportunity to do so. #teamcoveredporches/entries

Full disclosure: I’m the Portland gal who was kinda freaking out here in the comments when earlier Farmhouse Mud Room plans didn’t yet include the dog washing station (yeah for happy dogs this winter!). I appreciate your generosity of spirit as I know you’ve got all sorts of professionals working towards a solution -even so, I just can’t help adding MY two cents -even when you haven’t asked!

ps. Happy Booking Signing day : )

Jeanne
1 month ago

Your patio area will be very pretty. Since you’re hesitating on what you “really” want it to end up like, maybe just do the brick patio now, then lay down sod in the muddy areas, for the dogs and kids. (You could even skip doing the patio now and put sod there, too, temporarily.) Then next spring, reevaluate the plan. It’s pretty easy to remove sod, maybe you could even use it elsewhere, and you’ll have a better feel for the area. Plus, you don’t have to spend the $$$$ right now for full landscaping! Win-win.

kiki
1 month ago

ooohhhhh, this is so lovely!! You’ll have covered outdoor space somewhere else right? I can’t remember for sure. Question about Yardzen, do they help you think through drainage too? I’m looking into using them for our patio / side yard, but (as you know) drainage is SO IMPORTANT here in the PNW. Curious if that’s part of the “package” or if we should make sure to consider that separately in our planning. SO EXCITED to see this come together!!

Amy
1 month ago
Reply to  kiki

We just received our first Yardzen designs. While I understand that the process it iterative, they really missed the mark. I don’t know if they offer drainage recommendations. Based on what I’ve received from them thus far, I would have someone come to your home. We did that prior to working on our design. I included a specific trees/shrubs/plants request list that wasn’t used- and I did my research before submitting to make sure they were appropriate for the area/planting zone. In their design, there were full sun plants placed in north facing, wooded, super shady areas in the yard. We’ll see how the revisions go, but at this point I’m pretty disappointed.

Suzanne
1 month ago

Personally, I love the simplicity of steel edging the pathway, especially if it’s more affordable. Oh, and I love pea gravel for a path.

As for the covering on the landing, we had a similar problem at our back door, and we added a custom canvas awning. It protects us from the rain while we are unlocking our door, but I probably wouldn’t keep shoes out there for long as it can still get damp from side spray. I’m in Northern California, so not as much rain as Portland, but it’s been up for over ten years and looks great.

Finally, regarding a table that seats 8, maybe consider a large square that seats 2 on each side. It has the positive attributes of a circular table that everyone is facing each other, but is a special type of rectangle. I can’t wait to see how it progresses!

Suzanne
1 month ago
Reply to  Suzanne

And I want to add that my house is a 1912 Craftsman, so the awning fits with the character of the home. Other neighbors have them for sun protection over windows, too. So definitely old house friendly.

Eleanor
1 month ago

Seems like the border garden beds (beds by the walkway, between house and gravel path) are undersized. Please check mature sizes of specified plants and check if there is enough space. Generally, you want mature plants to be at least a foot from the house siding.

Mich
1 month ago
Reply to  Eleanor

Yes! There were so many comments about this after the first plan but it seems Emily has ignored them. Also, your trees will BLOCK your windows and lose all the natural light you are in short supply of already. Please rethink the functionality of this landscaping plan…
I am also on team “the walkway makes no sense if it doesn’t actually keep you dry.” The shed overhang looks terrible – don’t do that!

Sheila
1 month ago

Emily/team, email me! My family runs the oldest brick manufacturing business in the PNW and we can get you want you want for your patio with no waste. It’s our specialty 🙂 I’d be happy to work something out for you!

🥰 Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Sheila

💥EMILY!!!!! DO THIS!!!!💥

1 month ago

It’s going to be beautiful! Go with the lowest maintenance you can. We had five acres in Wilsonville and nothing is ever, ever done. I’d be worried about the gravel washing away and getting uneven as the rain disrupts it – something else to maintain.

Lill
1 month ago

Remember how you hated the fireplace in the mountain house but worked with it? It ended up so gorgeous that you put it on the cover of your book. It seems like you have the same thing going on with the patio. Why not work with what is there: keep the flagstone, rip out the patched-in concrete bits, and add more flagstone. Plant between the stones with something aromatic like creeping thyme. It would have a rural and relaxed vibe that just isn’t there in the current plans. Sorry to say it, but that expanse of hard brick is pretty but feels like it belongs at a mall or hospital.

StephanieZ
1 month ago
Reply to  Lill

I love flagstone with ground cover. So much more natural looking and feeling. My tiny front yard is flagstone with dwarf mondo between, but I also love creeping thyme, clover, etc.

Michelle
1 month ago

It seems odd that the covered walkway entrance from the patio encroaches on the patio. Why not begin the covered walkway at the at the edge of the patio?

1 month ago

I really like the change in the roofline in version two. It makes the walkway lovely.

Julie
1 month ago

Love the updates! Curious if you could put a small portico over your door way (grocercies, shoes, rain struggling with keys-might be nice to have a little covering!). I think whatever loose rock you end up with, even with edging, it won’t stay “straight and crisp” forever. 😉 Kids, people, animals so you still might get that loose look you want without all the ‘spillage’ into the surrounding landscape. Looks so great already in the renderings!

Erin
1 month ago

Where you at Rusty? Just checking in…
xoxo

🥰 Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Erin

Oh, I’m here.
Thank you so much, Erin.😘xx
Had a booster and going through it.

Erin
1 month ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

take care-we missed you this morning!

Julia
1 month ago

Thanks for this respite, I needed it. This is absolutely gorgeous, and can’t wait to see the progress. About our weird weather here in western Oregon, I always laugh at the stereotype of it being perpetually gray and rainy. Come summertime we switch into a dry Mediterranean type climate, and I for one would love an occasional rain shower.

Betsy
1 month ago

Not everything has to be done at once. I understand it may be an eyesore. But I think you may want to hold off on this area for a while. Live in the house first, and really see how you think this area should function best for your family. WIll help with figuring out what is best for the area, and also help with spreading out the outpouring of money all at once. Or do the patio and walkway now. Plantings later. It must be exhausting for you.

SLG
1 month ago

Emily, I’m speaking as someone who is in a similar situation to yours: gut renovating an entire house and racing to make it livable, while ALSO trying to figure out the grounds after (a) needing to remove a whole bunch of trees for safety and lighting reasons and (b) having to replace the whole septic field, which ripped up the existing yard and is such a boring way to spend money! Here is my thought based on my experience: your intuition is right. It is time to PAUSE on the outdoors. Nothing about your outdoor plans is going to expire or run out of time. Talk to one of the many companies that specializes in native lawns and use their recommended seed to create a lawn that will be good for the environment and solve your mud-pit problem (this is what I wish I had done). Then, take one summer to use that existing (and adorable, btw) flagstone patio and see what works for you and what you want after you actually live in it. After giving myself some time to exist in the outdoor space around my home, I had a WHOLE different sense of what the space needed… Read more »

Kate
1 month ago
Reply to  SLG

Yes, completely agree with all your points. Do NOT rush this.

Here in Portland, talk to Pro Time for Eco Lawn and lawn alternatives

https://ptlawnseed.com/collections/eco-and-alternative-lawns

Amy Boulle
1 month ago
Reply to  Kate

I was just coming to recommend PT Seeds too! Hoping to use one of their bends this fall to reseed our backyard!

🥰 Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  SLG

Yesss!!!!

Donna
1 month ago

Emily,
I just moved from a similar property where we raised our family. I will tell you that I think the design you are contemplating is a lot of work to maintain. Planters need feeding and watering, gravel needs weeding and raking, borders need fertilizing and mulching, and then there is the lawn! This may be what you are looking for, and if so, go for it. We finally gave in to mother earth and started naturalizing our plants and hardscaping. I see you’re heading there with the ferns, but the rest seems so pristine, and like others have commented, it also reminds me of a commercial space 🙁 You have the skilz, so maybe you are seeing something in the plan that I can’t. I trust that if you trust your instincts, as you always do, you will come up with something smashing.

Roberta Davis
1 month ago

It certainly will be glorious!

Kristin
1 month ago

As others have mentioned, I think the plan to demo part of the walkway and keep the rests isn’t a great compromise. If you need a covered walkway there, having the last few yards of it uncovered really defeats the purpose – you’re going to end up wet or you’re going to have to put on a raincoat, grab and umbrella, etc., in which case you could go the whole way without the covered path. If you don’t need a covered walkway, then you’d have a much more useable yard if you took out the rest of it, too. I totally get the desire to not spend money unnecessarily and to have everything ready to go when you move in, but I think if you’re not sure exactly what you want, better to pause then spend money on a plan that turns out to be less-than-idea, but you feel stuck with it because of what you’ve invested so far. Personally, I think having a covered walkway between the two buildings is a great idea, and before proceeding with anything I’d find a way to rework it so that it goes all the way from house to house. If that means… Read more »

Sarah
1 month ago

And there is exterior lighting power placement to think about. Exterior light fixture post? Sconces, path lights etc 😁

Ellie
1 month ago

I think the patio area looks very disconnected from the house in these renderings. I‘m not familiar with basements as we don’t really have them where I live so not sure if this would work but could you build raised beds against the house? The wall parts could double as additional seating. This would bring the planted areas up higher so they can be seen from indoors and would reduce the gap between the bottom of the windows and the patio.

Or do something similar to your LA home and have a terrace at the same level as the house, from which you step down into the rest of the garden.

Either way, I personally would focus on making sure that the indoors and outdoors are better connected so that you can see and enjoy the garden through all your beautiful windows when the weather doesn’t suit to go outdoors.

Janis
1 month ago

This will look so beautiful. Do you intend to hire a gardener to help with the maintenance of your gardens. I love the plans but I see alot of maintenance here.

Jennifer
1 month ago

I agree with the others suggesting that the short side of the covered walkway be rebuilt to line up with the new kitchen door. I can’t imagine a simple roofline can’t be designed to transition from the walkway to the house. Here’s perhaps not the simplest idea — an arch. (Do you have arches anywhere in the new design?) I propose an arched roofline perpendicular to the walkway to transition between the covered walkway and main house. Look at the “Version One” picture directly below the “New Railings + Landing” section title — the arch would be in line with the uncovered walkway from the driveway. It might only be 2/3 of an arch because the house side is higher than the walkway, but could be charming both from the driveway and the patio sides.
As a fellow PNW-er, with a detached garage and minimal overhang at our entry door, I concur that it’s not an unlivable situation. But it’s not pleasant either.

Tara
1 month ago

This all looks so beautiful! I love the brick and think pea gravel is a nice contrast. May I suggest that you consider putting more space between the house and the plantings? You’ll want that to keep your brick sort of clean and also to make it easier to power wash later. Also, this would enable a course of gravel near the house instead of dirt.

Deb
1 month ago

I agree with the people who said for Emily to go with her gut and just pause for now . During the first year she lives there she can take Sunday rides into areas and see houses that have landscapes she loves and decide what is best for her space and the level of time she wants to do maintenance. Also plants can be expensive from big commercial nurseries. I have no idea about places to get plants in the PNW but in my area we have several family run nurseries where plants are a good deal cheaper and healthier than big commercial places that bring in their plants from other areas. After living there a year and seeing other homes and visiting local nurseries she may find that she locates plantings that make her happy that are cheaper and much easier to maintain.
Also I am on team awning!

mouseface
1 month ago
Reply to  Deb

This is a great plan! As Emily said the secret of decor is time, and that is certainly true for gardens
I’m on year 2 in my house and my biggest shopping spots are the local plant sales from garden clubs and the 2$ perennial lady off the side of the road. ( LOVE HER) . The result is a garden of adorable, diverse, pollinator supporting native plants that thrive in my crappy soil . However understand the urge to get plants in the ground, its like a nesting instinct ! I think Emily got a deal with Yardzen? So she is not on a DIY budget or timeframe ?

andrea
1 month ago

the area below the band that goes around the house (that looks like it’s about 2′ from the ground) needs to be painted a dark natural color to ground the house and so it recedes; it’s not really a feature…. plus it would keep the house looking cleaner. also, the porch is too small and too white!! white steps?! if you end up doing the brick patio, the steps need to be the same!
i too don’t understand the reason for the covered walkway to nowhere….

1 month ago

Appreciate your thoughtfulness in your first paragraph. I’m not surprised at all and appreciate you. As a mom of four young kids I really enjoyed a moment of looking at these beautiful renderings after this week – thank you.

Christy
1 month ago

It’s crazy how real the mock-ups look! It’s going to be beautiful.

1 month ago

The renderings are very beautiful, but I am not sure why it is so important to have a covered passage for a one minute walk but at the same time have a patio for staying outdoors for hours if there is so much rain in Portland. I don´t think this patio will get a lot of use. Any kind of covered porch would be much more useful than a patio. It always is, but it is even more useful where there ia a lot of rain. It is very difficult to keep a patio clean, anything covered is much easier to clean and keep tidy. I also think it is important to consider how well the floor will stand rain and mud. Some floors are much better than others looking relatively clean when they are dirty . When I renovated my house, after the initial decision about the style and color, a vaguely terracota style as my house is something like spanish colonial, I tried more than 15 samples for evaluating how the looked under different lights, how they would stand being dirty, how easy they were to clean, how slippey they were when wet etc… This aspect was one… Read more »

Mary
1 month ago

Hmm, seems odd that an architect couldn’t rework a continuation of the covered walkway to the new kitchen door. The arial view appears to show a bit of room to work with between the skylights and the roof area above the door. Definitely time to hit the pause button, but I imagine their related sponsorships are a factor in that decision.

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