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The back is not her best asset

By on Mar 2, 2014 in Back Porch, Deck and Patio, Design, Exterior Elevations, First Floor, Landscaping, Plans, Renovation | 0 comments

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The rear of our home was just not attractive.  At some point, the original back and side porches were enclosed when it was converted to a duplex.  It was converted back to single family prior to our purchase, but there are still some of the odd additions from it’s duplex years.

backyard early Feb 2014

Before we chopped the backyard in late 2013 to prepare for the tree that had to come down on the side yard, we had a beautiful back yard.

garden old

It nicely camouflaged the rear of the house.


We didn’t really have green thumbs, but inherited a beautiful English style garden from the previous owners.  It bloomed for us every season.  We really had fun with it in our early years here, but you really had to love gardening to be out there regularly to properly keep it up.  The upkeep just became too much of a burden to us with the combination of having a child – and letting our landscaper go during the lean recession years.

middle garden

I’ve learned in this renovation – like in life – that it’s all about compromise and keeping an open mind.  Had I been asked a couple of years ago if I would give up this garden –  I would have never imagined doing so. While it was magnificent during the few months in Spring, it just wasn’t our priority and got messy and overgrown.

rear garden

These photos were taken in 2006, when I was pregnant with Addison.  This was the last Spring our garden looked like this.

view from above 2.26

This is what the back yard looked like a couple of weeks ago in mid February.

Back2Now for the plans.


The process of planning was an interesting one for us.  For any of you that know Jonathan, he’s capable of pretty much anything.  His nickname amongst some of our neighborhood friends is “The Onion”.  There have been many a new story or talent that he has unveiled, just like peeling off a layer of an onion.  A layer of the onion came off big-time when we were planning this renovation!


We were using the original plans we had drawn by an architect in 2003 when we started this process.  We quickly realized that there were a lot of things we still needed to flush out, and that there would be a lot of back and forth with the current architect. Leave it to Jonathan to learn the layman’s version of AutoCAD over a weekend!


Voilà – this is the result.  I say this everyday, but Jonathan is definitely a keeper and was well worth the wait!


We really wanted to be mindful of the integrity of the architecture and did not want  it to scream new addition.  We love our old home, but are not purists by any means.  Keeping all of the good, old character and charm, while updating modern features for our lifestyle has been our priority all along.


This is so exciting for us.  We love to entertain and this has created so much space outside for just that.  Off the kitchen/lounge there is a large screened porch that leads to a covered porch with a tiered deck.  There is plenty of comfortable seating between these spaces – and on the stairs.


As for the garden  we are keeping it simple.  We’ve kept the beautiful hydrangea snowball in front of Addison’s playhouse.  We are looking forward to a big grassy backyard and maybe some roses along the picket fence.

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