Wed. May 29th, 2024

Our backyard fence was probably installed 25 to 30 years ago. The wood is weathered, the posts are loose and it doesn’t follow the property line.

Our backyard has basically been neglected for the past 8 years, as we’ve worked to rebuild the inside of our house. We’ve done a few improvements, including removing most of the gravel and replacing it with grass, building a new planter box and building a new deck off of our kitchen, but I was never really happy with it.

The biggest road block in doing anything was the fact that our garage needed to be rebuilt and anything we did was only ever a temporary fix until we did a proper re-build of the garage.

The garage itself is in bad shape; the roof is collapsing from years of water damage, the structure is in poor shape and a family of racoons moved in and took over years ago. We haven’t been inside our garage in years because the structure has moved so much that our garage door can’t be opened anymore. We’re not even sure what’s still in there. And to top it off, it’s an incredibly tight space that’s even narrower than it should be because the neighbour’s garage is on our property. All of these challenges made us not want to deal with it.

In early winter 2022 we decided it was time to make a plan, as we were worried that our elderly neighbours would pass away and new owners would be less likely to deal with the property line issue. Well, those neighbours did pass, but luckily the new owners were quite reasonable. We suggested building a semi-detached garage and using their existing exterior wall for our new wall. This solution meant that they could keep their garage in its place but we could gain a few extra inches from not having to build a new wall ourselves. And whatever inches they were encroaching probably was about the same as we were saving from using their wall.

We hired an architect to do the design of the garage and came up with a few options.

Although the carport idea was interesting and would save us a few more inches, we really wanted a covered garage, so we explored that idea further. We landed on a fairly modern-looking garage with a canopy in front to mirror the deck on the back of our house.

We submitted our permit drawings and got our permit approved a few months later.

Our new neighbours then began a complete gut job on the house next door, including removing their garage roof to make way for some construction equipment. After a few discussions with them, we coordinated building our garages at the same time, using their contractor. With a build date in place, it was time for me to figure out what the rest of the backyard would look like so I could redo everything at the same time.

I came up with a few options for what the backyard could look like:

After quite a bit of discussion around how we would use the space and what makes the most sense, we landed on a final design.

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