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Old 06-26-2012, 07:26 PM
Location: Reston
560 posts, read 1,068,192 times
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Originally Posted by dizzybint View Post
been reading about these and saw some photos and they are stunning... Ive a small backyard where grass doesnt take well at all so now its mainly slabs , mulch and a big tree... and garden shed... now I want the tree cut down as far too big and roots are going under the house... Ive seen this concrete done in some front lawns and it looks so nice with just planter sitting here and there. so much easier , are there drawbacks to having this done...

The main drawback that I can think of would be that so much concrete might deter some buyers if you ever want to sell your house. Some people like to have a little bit of greenery. If grass won’t grow, then maybe some dwarf mondo grass or hostas? A smaller flowering tree? The other thing that might be a drawback could be (if everyone in the area did this) then rain wouldn’t percolate into the ground and this could possibly cause flooding. Might not be an issue in your area.
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Old 06-27-2012, 11:11 AM
3,750 posts, read 10,206,509 times
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Some of the better paver companies make permeable pavers ... they allow water to pass through, minimizing the hardscape effect ...

Of course, they cost a bit more.
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Old 06-27-2012, 03:07 PM
2,063 posts, read 6,242,715 times
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With Glasgow being in a zone 9 you would have no difficulty keeping some greenery going. I suspect that part of the problem with the grass might be the shade of the tree. Once it has been removed the grass will certainly grow better. If you have your heart set on a courtyard garden it should not be hard to put in but most of those lovely pictures you see are of designed gardens and designers are not cheap.

Some of the things that have to be considered is the direction of the sun, some places in the courtyard will be quite sunny and some places quite shady. Drainage and the direction of waterflow from roof to where ever it leaves the property will have to be taken into consideration. The more paving the more the concern for what to do with water when it rains. This shows where water stands and moss grows as a result:

Pervious pavers, the ones Briolat mentioned, have become more common. They allow water to flow through and low growing plant materials like grasses and herbs (Luvmycat's thyme is one) to grow. Not everyone knows how to work with them so you would need expert planning, advice and/or landscapers to instal them as part of the makeover.

Of course you could catch rain water and turn it into a water feature like the following:

You can make a simple design of crossed walkways meeting at a central urn filled with plants and 4 plots of grass. It's modern and old all in one, should drain as well as what you have now and give you the option of creating 4 flower beds should you want to change in the future. Or you can use a combination of paving and stone to allow drainage somewhat like this:

What softens this look are the plants growing around the edges as well as the potted ones in the middle.

An ultra modern design you could easily imitate would be large slabs alternating with well mulched and amended ground holding a single plant or shrub like this:

A paved over courtyard needn't be drab or dull but it requires as much work as a standard garden would in the same space to keep it looking its best. I hope that's given you some of what you were looking for.

Last edited by J&Em; 06-27-2012 at 03:09 PM.. Reason: picture not showing
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Old 06-27-2012, 06:49 PM
Location: Prospect, KY
5,288 posts, read 17,488,273 times
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Before we retired to Kentucky almost 4 years ago, we lived in Southern California - owned our last home there for almost 25 years. Our backyard was small (lots are small near the beach) and the the whole back yard consisted of concrete and brick including 2 terraces. There were drains in several areas that allowed water to drain through an underground pipe out to the street. We could seat 25 people for dinner and we did lots of entertaining back there. As you can see lots of potted palms, camelias, citrus and flowers softened the hardscape.

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Old 06-27-2012, 07:15 PM
Location: Kenmore, WA
7,359 posts, read 6,216,841 times
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Originally Posted by dizzybint View Post
Ive seen this concrete done in some front lawns and it looks so nice with just planter sitting here and there. so much easier , are there drawbacks to having this done...
To each their own, but other than to provide a walkway, I would rather have life evolving in my outdoor areas. We have a concrete patio that is nasty. The original owners must've used a cut-rate contractor, and it slope toward the house.

It's impossible to keep clean and dry, so we always have nasty black gunk on it. The concrete must be poor quality, because when we pressure wash it, it seems to wash off a top layer and the surface is uneven. I keep telling DH I want to hammer it up, or at least resurface (and re-slope) it, but he always puts it off.

Whine and complain. (Sorry.)
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Old 08-08-2012, 07:39 AM
Location: Glasgow Scotland
14,507 posts, read 11,481,746 times
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Oh dear.. I have slabbing done just now in two areas but its eneven next to the path down to the bins and dangerous for kids out playing and why I wanted a flat area.. grass doesnt do well out there either, as I think the workmen had tipped all the leftover concrete into my garden years ago when it was being built.. Id love a nice lawn and just a narrow slabbed path down to the bottom..
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