Group 6 2 minutes Read

the 2011 projects

Lauren Zerbey

What, did you think we’d take a break or something?

That’s right, it’s time to move back outside! We’re still not done with our 2010 projects, but our minds have wandered to the impending days of summer and the ragged piece of land that is our yard. Until now, the yard has been a low priority project, but we’re now ready to give chezerbey the curb appeal that she deserves. In addition to some major landscaping and hardscaping in the front yard, another project we’re anxious to tackle is a new backyard deck.

The backyard has mainly served as a lumber yard and staging area, but all that’s about to change. We’re fortunate to have a decent size yard (by Seattle standards anyway) and it’s time to start enjoying it. So, during a recent bout of barn door procrastination, we tossed around a few ideas and modeled them in SketchUp. We’re going to wait a few months before we start any construction, so the design is bound to change and evolve, but this is what we’re thinking at the moment: 

At a minimum, we need a way to get from our back door down to the yard (the construction ramp is finally gone and our old back porch steps are serving as a temporary solution). We also want a deck. Our backyard is currently a barren tangle of weeds and concrete (plus one very unfortunate garage/carport combo), so a deck would provide a slightly elevated place to hang out and serve as a less abrupt transition from indoors to out.

We both imagined a terrace type deck without handrails or guardrails, but this was a tricky assignment since there is a healthy vertical drop from door to ground. Fortunately, we came up with a solution that achieves this goal while still being safe. Basically, by treating the deck as one very oversized stair landing, we’ve eliminated any areas that are more than 3 risers or more than 30″ off the ground. Zerbey’s = 1, Seattle Residential Code = 0!

For protection from the rain (yeah, we grill in the rain here) we’ll build some sort of overhead awning. Right now we’re thinking about a cedar and steel assembly with corrugated polycarbonate glazing as a roof (which will keep us dry but won’t block the sun from coming into the kitchen). Aesthetically, the back yard is carte blanche to do something more modern without feeling like it’s tacked on to a 1910 house. We also want to keep it simple and reduce costs as much as possible.

At the end of the awning would be a steel channel gutter with a steel rain cable at the left end, directing rainwater down into a corten steel raised planter.

See the dude at the grill? That’s Kyle. Right now our grill lives in the depths of the carport so giving it a proper home is definitely a priority. We’ve also talked about doing more of a built-in along this wall, something with an integral grill, countertop and storage space.

The deck and awning are the easy part for us. We still have a long way to go in the planning and design phase for the landscaping, pavers, etc. But hey, we have a new street tree!

A big thanks to all who gave their recommendations on what species to get – with your encouragement, we took a risk and went with the Persian Ironwood! (Or at least I hope that’s what they planted.)

The 2011 project has not been entirely hashed out, but right now we’re planning to at least do the front yard and the deck and awning in the back. And of course we’ll post about the plans and ideas as they develop. It’s been a long time since we had a summer that wasn’t laden with house projects so taking on something smaller (and more importantly, something that can stop and start easily) sounds pretty freakin’ fantastic.