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View Full Version : new backyard need help plz. (a lot of photos enclosed)


diyrick
06-18-2006, 04:17 AM
This is my first landscaping project and I really appreciate any advice or instructions on what should be done as my next step? Iíd moved into my new house last year with an unfinished backyard ( as shown in photos ).

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/Backyark%20project2006/0226200619.jpg

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/Backyark%20project2006/0226200618.jpg

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/Backyark%20project2006/0226200613.jpg


The entire backyard looked horrible, it was significantly uneven, and was covered with weeds/sparse grass.

The first steps were:

1.Used 5 gallons of Round Up weed killer and sprayed the whole entire yard. Waited one week later until weed were completely dead.
2.Borrowed my friendís roll tiller machine to loosen up about 8 to 10 inches of soil, and dumped it into the slopes of the hill on the side of the yard to bring up some height to the slope.(a lot of work) Now the ground is flatted and even.

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/Backyark%20project2006/0612200607.jpg

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/Backyark%20project2006/0612200609.jpg

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/Backyark%20project2006/0616200606.jpg

3.Using a garden rake, I even the ground surface as shown from photos below.

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/Backyark%20project2006/0616200601.jpg

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/Backyark%20project2006/0616200602.jpg

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/Backyark%20project2006/0616200603.jpg

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/Backyark%20project2006/0616200604.jpg

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/Backyark%20project2006/0616200605.jpg

Now, my questions is:

1.As you can see in the photos, what should I do next?
2.The photo below (before level the ground), I believe is the drainage swales created by the homebuilder. I had leveled that area now as you can see from the next photo . Do I need to install drainage pipes in that area?

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/Backyark%20project2006/0226200609.jpg

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/Backyark%20project2006/0616200603.jpg

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/Backyark%20project2006/0616200601.jpg

3.I was testing the drainage in that area by digging a hole roughly 20 inch deep and filling the hole with water. Let the water drain. If by 24 hrs later, all the water were gone, would I still need to install drainage pipes? (It seemed like the water level was down one inch by every 1 hr.)

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/Backyark%20project2006/0617200607.jpg

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/Backyark%20project2006/0617200609.jpg

I really need advice or instructions on what should be done as my next step? Thanks for your time in reading. Feel free to drop me your inputs,
ideas, and suggestions. I look forward to hearing from you!

Rick

tylermckee
06-18-2006, 04:32 AM
Make sure you have good drainage away from your house which it looks like you do. where that swale used to run, you probably want to create another shallow swale, maybe use it in your landscape as a dry creek bed or something to hide it. That swale looks like it was directing all the run off from your neighbor above you, and seeing as how you live in portlant, that could be a LOT of water at times, you really dont want to end up with a swamp of a yard. Where you made your cut along the fence line, you will probably want to put in a small retaining wall, doent look like there is much holding those fence posts, as i know now days most builders hardly bury their posts.
What are you wanting to do with the back yard? just plant some seed/lay some sod? if so, it looks like your soil has a lot of clay in it judging by the last couple pics of your test hole. If thats the case it would be ideal to bring in 4-6" of some good top soil, but that could be a lot of work cause it doesnt look like you can get any kind of truck or equipment back there.

sheshovel
06-18-2006, 05:01 AM
It looks to me like you actually graded the soil towards the home and filled in the drainage area.So YES you should put a french drain in the lowest part of that area.Instead of leaving that sharp cut along the fence you need to slope that down gradually.
You have left yourself with too sharp of a cut there. Or a short retaining wall as mentioned.
You will also need a french drain all along the bottom of that bank off the side of the deck, making sure the drain has a pitch to drain properly.
I think a nice paver or flagstone patio on a gravel and sand base would be great along the back of the house off the wood deck and going to the end of the house then, extending out in a freeform semi circular patio past the wood deck a few feet.
This would triple your entertaining/outdoor living area, increase your property value, use up dead space and be functional and beautiful.
That slope down from the side of the house looks pretty steep for grass, I suggest a good ground cover ,but there are lots of ways you can go with that. Tree's would help save energy by shading the house in summer and ya just need to have trees anyway.
I can do some suggestions right on your pic if I have time tomorrow to show you tree placements ect. there are good places for planting beds along the edge of the suggested patio aand other areas.
I don't know if you like to maintain flower beds or the amount of time you have to care for your garden so can't make a suggestion on how much plant material to use. You should rake out all those clods and debri in that pile of soil on the hill and rake it out all along there. Will get back to you later.

sheshovel
06-18-2006, 06:23 PM
Well I did a few quick ideas for you with the info I had I would also suggest a Automatic Irrigation system if your going to install sod in the top level areas. Thease are just the basics but if you do them it should keep you busy awhile back there.
Oh and for the patio, you will need to excavate out to make room to get your base in. Hope this helps you a little.
Sorry my writeing got messed up when I resized

dcondon
06-18-2006, 06:52 PM
Well I did a few quick ideas for you with the info I had I would also suggest a Automatic Irrigation system if your going to install sod in the top level areas. Thease are just the basics but if you do them it should keep you busy awhile back there.
Oh and for the patio, you will need to excavate out to make room to get your base in. Hope this helps you a little.
Sorry my writeing got messed up when I resized

Nice work you came up with sheshovel!!!!:cool2: :cool2:

diyrick
06-18-2006, 10:34 PM
It is a great, resourceful site. Thanks for all your suggestions. Specially, the nice work that sheshovel came up.
Below, you will see the specification to what Iím planning to do (some of them are based on Sheshovelís suggestions)

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/Backyark%20project2006/0616200601copy.jpg

I think the 4 inches deck along the walkway is the most economical approach (I could be wrong) for that area. Perhaps, I might build an awning or patio roofing over the deck if necessary.

Thanks again and hope to hear more suggestion from all of you.

sheshovel
06-19-2006, 11:19 AM
OK WAIT! Question #1- Why in the world would you use up good space in your backyard with ugly concrete walkways,splitting up the area with them like that? Not visually pleasing at all and a waste of good living space .
#2-What is your logic behind putting a wood deck where it won't be used? What are you going to do, invite your extra guests to sit on the side there separate from the guests or family that are on the back deck?
The whole idea with building a deck is to increase the family living space by using it as an extension of the home, in harmony and with convenience of use. Not to cover over a drainage area so the water will run under it and then you don't have to dig a ditch and install a simple drain. I have no idea why you would even consider doing that.
If you ask me..and I do do this for a living and have for a long time..your back deck is way too small for the house. A lower level patio area that leads right off the deck stairs is called for here.
If your gonna do it..do it where you will use it.
Your cement walkways are a waste of what good level area you have and are ugly and unnecessarily expensive.Breaking up the visual flow and increasing your work when mowing and edging.
Your better off with pathways of colored gravel and stepping stones.
AND where are your tree's? Trees increase the value of your property,save on energy bills by creating shade, are beautiful to look at..tree's make a landscape thats all there is to it.
Sorry if I sound harsh,I don't mean to be so critical..it is after all your backyard landscape. But I think you need to rethink your whole plan and be a bit more creative and economical with your space.

sheshovel
06-19-2006, 11:23 AM
Nice work you came up with sheshovel!!!!:cool2: :cool2:

Thanks dcondon but those were very basic simple ideas. You want real nice design work from me ya gotta pay me for it!@

sheshovel
06-19-2006, 11:25 AM
..............................................................

diyrick
06-19-2006, 05:45 PM
OK WAIT! Question #1- Why in the world would you use up good space in your backyard with ugly concrete walkways,splitting up the area with them like that? Not visually pleasing at all and a waste of good living space .
#2-What is your logic behind putting a wood deck where it won't be used? What are you going to do, invite your extra guests to sit on the side there separate from the guests or family that are on the back deck?
The whole idea with building a deck is to increase the family living space by using it as an extension of the home, in harmony and with convenience of use. Not to cover over a drainage area so the water will run under it and then you don't have to dig a ditch and install a simple drain. I have no idea why you would even consider doing that.
If you ask me..and I do do this for a living and have for a long time..your back deck is way too small for the house. A lower level patio area that leads right off the deck stairs is called for here.
If your gonna do it..do it where you will use it.
Your cement walkways are a waste of what good level area you have and are ugly and unnecessarily expensive.Breaking up the visual flow and increasing your work when mowing and edging.
Your better off with pathways of colored gravel and stepping stones.
AND where are your tree's? Trees increase the value of your property,save on energy bills by creating shade, are beautiful to look at..tree's make a landscape thats all there is to it.
Sorry if I sound harsh,I don't mean to be so critical..it is after all your backyard landscape. But I think you need to rethink your whole plan and be a bit more creative and economical with your space.


Your suggestions sounds very practical and I can always come up with plan B or C..... I am totally new to landscaping so I really appreciate your ideas, they're efficacious for me.

After reviewing all the advices and suggestions, Iíve decided to not split the walk path, instead go with the idea of the stepping stones to the back door (plz see the new plan B photos) and yes, there will be trees planted along the fence (I love tree too). Thereís much work that needs to be done and Iím still in the process of taking it one step at a time.

The reason for the side deck is because I planned on using that space for storage (like a tools, skate ramp ,toys...... ). Also, I think the side yard area is big enough to be used as my workstation as well. It will still be easily accessible through that gate. So, in prevention of moss/slick ground Iíve considered building a roof to keep the side yard area dry thus no moss build up. If wood deck isnít advisable for the ground covering, would cementing that whole side space be a better alternative? Would it also be less expensive?

I definitely need to install some sort of drainage solution along the side yard area, Iím still trying to figure out if I should do French drain or regular drainage pipe? I just learned that a French drain is a drain with no pipe. So, Please continue give me any suggestion and I really appreciate if you or anyone can tell me more about how to install drain system along the fence? should I install the drain system behind or in front of the retaining wall. Thanks again for any help.

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/planb2.jpg

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/planb.jpg

sheshovel
06-20-2006, 02:01 AM
Ok now your getting the idea! What I mean when I say French drain is a ditch dug along the lowest part of the area and an inch or so of large drain rock along the bottom og the ditch..then landscape weedcloth laid over that with enough overlapping to cover the pipe once it's laid in...then a 4" PVC drain pipe with holes in the top and the top part of the sides installed along the length of the ditch holes up and the solid part down.then the land fabric pulled over the top of the pipe and then covered with large drain rock.
This makes it so any surface water heads towards the ditch because it is lower than grade. The water goes into the ditch into the rock and thru the land fabric into the holes that are all along the drain pipe then it runs along the bottom of the pipe and out.
You can also use a solid drain line but then you will need to install T's in it and grates. You will need to grade the areas to direct water into the grate tops .Have to protect the grates from being covered with dirt and debri by putting circles of drain rock around each one and you will need them about every10' or 15' all along the line.
The first drain is your best bet because it will drain large areas at a time. Don't plant a tree any closer tha4' from a fence.

sheshovel
06-20-2006, 02:21 AM
here's a lousy drawing but you'll get the idea

sheshovel
06-20-2006, 02:37 AM
what happened it dident post? Well any way they sell 4" PVC drainline with holes in it at any Plumbing supply or HomeDepot ,places like that. You wont be able to buy one long piece cuz you can only carry so long in a normal truck that means you will need couplings and glue sections together to make the length you need.
You need a place to direct the water once it leaves your property. Check your county codes to see if it requires you to direct it into a street drainor what. I know laws here prevent a person from purposly directing water onto a neighbors land or something like that.

Sandgropher
06-20-2006, 02:40 AM
here's a lousy drawing but you'll get the idea

I think its a good drawing, that invisible inks good stuff, you cant see the flaws :)

diyrick
06-21-2006, 12:38 AM
[/IMG]what happened it dident post? Well any way they sell 4" PVC drainline with holes in it at any Plumbing supply or HomeDepot ,places like that. You wont be able to buy one long piece cuz you can only carry so long in a normal truck that means you will need couplings and glue sections together to make the length you need.
You need a place to direct the water once it leaves your property. Check your county codes to see if it requires you to direct it into a street drainor what. I know laws here prevent a person from purposly directing water onto a neighbors land or something like that.


I don't see any attachment?

Anyway, Start digging this afternoon and I need your opinion.

Here is the photo of today works. As you can see the other side of the fence is the public walk path that already has drainage pre-built below the rock. Does it appear to be enough slopes for water to travel down and drain?

Will go to Home Depot tomorrow for some drain pipe. Should I use use perforated 2 hole 3" pipe?

Thanks again.

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/Backyark%20project2006/07-1.jpg

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/Backyark%20project2006/06-1.jpg

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/Backyark%20project2006/05-1.jpg

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/Backyark%20project2006/04-1.jpg

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/Backyark%20project2006/03-1.jpg

sheshovel
06-21-2006, 02:20 AM
Are you going to tie your drain into theirs on the other side of the fence? If so then you should use the same size as theirs and get a T to tie in with.
I like white PVC perforated drain line,I am not sure what you mean by 2 hole.This has holes all along the top and sides. You can use flexible line also but it has holes all the way around it. You want the water to move OUT of there not drain right back in.I could have sworn I explained it carefully to you.

sheshovel
06-21-2006, 02:21 AM
Yes deep enough

diyrick
06-21-2006, 02:59 AM
Yes deep enough

Hi sheshovel
Thanks for your fast responded.
I will find out about the PVC drain pipe tomorrow when I go to Home Depot.

I was thinking to fill this area with concrete and build a 4 inch curb on the side (next to the fence). Do you have a better idea to this? I'm just an amateur and am open to any suggestions that may save me money and time. Thanks!

Wow! Midnight now. have a good night.
http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/Backyark%20project2006/04-2.jpg

tylermckee
06-21-2006, 04:40 AM
about your perf pipe, you may as well just run the flexible ADS perf pipe, its a lot cheaper and its fast, and for what you are doing will work just fine. just roll it out into your ditch and backfill with washed drain rock. As i was taught, the water is gonna run through your drainrock for the most part, and will find its way into the pipe when it needs to. at the end of your ditch you can either connect your drain pipe into theirs, or just butt yours up close to theirs and backfill with washed drain rock, either way, its gonna drain.
If you want to pour concrete there, i would not even run your drain under it. IF, you can, give yourself ~2% of slope in the directions that i marked with red arrows, and at the end of the run set a small catch basin(the black square). Connect your catch basin into the end of your perf drain.

sheshovel
06-21-2006, 06:42 PM
Cement is fine as long as it is graded away from the house and the cut slightly it will send the water towards your drain. Unless your cement area is going to block surface water from the front coming thru the gate from draining Then you need a drain beggining with a top drain other side of fence under cement and along.PVC Perf is not expensive and won't crush..moves water better if you ask me.You are not going to get away with only dealing with the cut you made along the fence with that curb.You need to support and retain that cut all the way along it to the back fence.Or the cut will erode and expose the cement holding the posts up.This is not an option.Take the cement all the way to your front entry gate.

diyrick
06-24-2006, 01:41 AM
Hi sheshovel

I wish you live in my area so you can provide me the professional advice on the step by step process on my project. I am willing to pay for your consultation fee, considering that it is a fair price. :clapping:

After talked to few people in Home Depot. I thinks using the www.deckplans.com floating foundation to build a deck in the side yard area should be less expensive than cementing the whole side yard. So I come out with this new plan as you can see in below diagrams. I also plan to use treated wood to build a retaining wall in the other side of the slope.

Feel free to drop me your inputs, ideas, and suggestions. Thanks again for all your help.


http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/Backyark%20project2006/behinddeck.jpg

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/Backyark%20project2006/01-2.jpg

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/Backyark%20project2006/02-2.jpg

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e34/ricksk8/Backyark%20project2006/003.jpg

sheshovel
07-18-2006, 03:05 PM
That looks good..only why stop and restart the deck? Bring it all the way around the side..might as well.