title. Backyard Heights
location. Tyne and Wear
The Brief : Following alterations to the rear of this property, the back door ended up exiting some 60cm above the ground so the clients needed a means of getting to it safely. The shape and orientation of the yard also meant that a long strip of it ended up in shade for the vast majority of the day. A new rear window had been created but it solely looked onto the back of the garage doors and the back alleyways beyond.
The customer was keen to be able to use the space for peaceful reflection, socialising with family, storage of bins whilst also providing access to the newly elevated back door and for access in and out of the garage. They had numerous plants in pots and wanted the space to not feel too overdone in its makeover, so that it still had a backyard style feel to the space. The customer also did not want the present surface disturbed (block setts) as it may be in the case in the future that the space may be needed to installing an electric charger for a vehicle as the property had no drive of its own.
The suggestion to the client was that we install a raised deck level with base of the kitchen door. This would then be taken out across the width of the narrow space. 'Raised' planters would be installed but because of the raised nature of the decking, they would be sunken below. We could not attach anything to the neighbour's wall, therefore in effect, the decking was designed as a self-supporting structure.
The clients agreed with the use of composite decking; although more expensive it is made up of recycled plastic and saw dust. The colour is guaranteed for 10 years+ and the maintenance is as simple as occasionally hosing it down.
At the end of decking it was planned to insert a rill, and tint the water black so that light reflected off it and added patterns to the surrounding walls. It was also intended for lighting to be included throughout to aid access at night, but also to help create warmth and a social feel to the space.
The steps up to the new level also act as informal seats for social gatherings. You can also see that effect that I was looking to achieve with the raised beds actually just looking like borders. In one of the pictures you will also notice the dog bath with handy hot and cold water. It is suspended within the decking and simply drains into existing drains. It is an old feeder trough.
This image shows the end of the backyard in construction. The idea is that this structure hides the garage doors and provides some visual interest for the clients when looking out of their kitchen. The area behind can then also provide space for bins and other storage.