The Great Landscape Challenge… And I Will Win!

By Nikki Tilley | September 15, 2022
Image by Kristin Mitchell
by Nikki Tilley
September 15, 2022

Everyone has challenges when it comes to their yards. Maybe it’s too much shade or a weedy lawn. Perhaps it’s too rocky or there’s not enough space. Mine? I have dry soil from living on a hill with trees that soak up much of the water that doesn’t run off. There are shady spots where I’d prefer more light and sunny areas where I’d like more shade. But the biggest challenges with landscaping my yard are a lack of privacy and not having a backyard patio. 

Making Space for a Backyard Patio

I really, really want a special place of my very own without the prying eyes of neighbors (no offense). Somewhere I can drink my morning coffee while donning my jammies. A comfy spot to lounge during the day as I write articles for work or watch critters in my wildlife garden. A safe haven to relax in the evening as the sun goes down. Just in front of the dining room window (which could one day be renovated into a sliding glass door) in the backyard would be perfect.

There’s nowhere else to really do this. The front stoop is just that”¦ a small concrete platform at the front entrance without any room for seating. We do have a carport, which is where my husband enjoys spending evenings after work or on weekends. It’s not for me though. Who wants to look at an old truck or the houses across the street? Thanks, but I’ll pass. I don’t know how he does it. I want a backyard patio instead. It’s an ongoing argument that I plan to win.

I know it can be done. There’s just enough room to create one, albeit no larger than an 8-foot by 12-foot area, but it’s doable. I can see it clearly in my mind. I’ve even sketched it out. 

This area is also the most level part of the landscape we have. The majority of our property is on a steep hill, but the backyard is pretty much flat. In fact, it’s where the greenhouse is located with garden beds all around. The main disagreement over making space for a backyard patio is the fact that my husband loves his grass and doesn’t want to part with it, whereas I have no problem tearing it out to add pavers and mulch. Half that space doesn’t really have much grass anyway since there’s a garden bed in part of it, which I’d be sacrificing for this project. That being said, I’m always willing to compromise. I could always keep some grass or a low-growing groundcover between the pavers. The only downside, as I’ve explained to him, is how we’d have to move the patio furniture to mow (grass).

He tries to counter my logical solutions by bringing up the issue of privacy, as if he’s the one that will be sitting out there. We live in a development where many of the houses are close to one another. This means easy viewing from the neighboring homes. But this, too, could be easily remedied with plants, and let’s be honest, they’d probably enjoy that view better. I’m thinking large planters and lattice trellising filled with flowers and attractive vines to serve as a makeshift fence or wall. This would create both the privacy we crave and a cozy little nook to add a small table and chairs.

We all have landscape challenges in some form or fashion. At the moment this one is mine. But as with all problems in the landscape, there are solutions. Eventually, I will have my backyard patio area. And when that happens, hubby can keep his carport”¦ the patio is gonna be all mine!

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