This back yard is currently is fairly poor shape. We have just recently finished an addition to the house and front landscaping, and now we want to turn our attention to the back yard. My wife and I have three children (a 3 year old girl and twin boys that are 11 months old) and we would like for them to have a safe and fun place to play. We would also like the yard to be a place that we can all enjoy relaxing and being outdoors.
Currently, the yard is largely gravel as it serves as a part-time parking pad/driveway from the rear alley. What isn't gravel has little grass because of our dog (who is primarily an inside dog) must be chained when she goes outside because she has figured out how to climb over our fence. The chain/cable tears the grass up. The yard slopes gently from the house to the alley (I would estimate around 2-3 feet of fall over that area).
We are also likely going to be constructing a garage with an apartment on top in the next year or two. We do not need detailed designs for this accessory structure as that is an entirely different project. It can have a footprint no larger than 750 sq ft per zoning laws and there is a 10 ft setback from the alley. I mention that only because we need to have a designated area in which to place this structure in the future without tearing up a lot of landscaping or other features.
What we would like to see is the following:
-A new fence 6-8 feet tall that the dog cannot climb (smooth inner surface).
-A designated space that a 750 sq foot accessory building can be constructed in the future along the alley. Ideally it would be in the corner of the property.
-A deck coming from the red rear door. We would like to have this be a place to grill, sit and relax, and entertain friends. An interesting feature like a fire pit, build in benches, planter boxes, etc would be great! It does not need to be covered.
-Maintain access to the side of the house on the right (when looking at the rear of the house) where there is currently a gate.
-Durable plants, landscaping, and grass that can hold up to a dog and kids playing (maybe pavers at the base of stairs for example). We are in USDA hardiness zone 7a.
-A walkway from the back of the future accessory structure to the back of the house
-An area that is fairly open so that there is an area the kids can kick a soccer ball or run around without having to worry about landscaping. We would also like to have an area where a jungle gyms or swing could be placed.
-The white door and small "shed" on the back of the house serves as an entrance to the unfinished basement. We have access to the basement from inside our house as well, so it is infrequently used. I store the lawnmower in the basement, so I only go in and out every week or two in the warm months. It needs to be replaced or reconsidered entirely.
-We do not need access to the left side of the house when looking at the rear of the house. This area contains our HVAC units, and we can easily get to that area from the front when needed.