kaz2

Help needed please with front entrance.

kaz2
7 years ago
I love getting ideas off Houzz and learning off what people say, so thanks.
I'm suck on a few things, mainly on what I should do in my garden.
At the front we have a path that goes across in front of the house we need to decide how we should fill the gap in, I'm stuck.
I had thought I'd submerge the big round pots (with some other plants in them not sure yet) Into either stones or a dark bark to set off the house. or do I plant it out?

I love the idea someone else gave me about putting floating steps between the two. So we have added the three chunks of wood

Question : Do I let the wood go grey and possibly put a darker wood chip around it. But would that cause the wood to rot.

Or do I paint the wooden steps with a dark brown stain and put river stones around it which will help with drainage?

Also do I keep it simple or plant it all out?

Thanks for your time : )

Comments (39)

  • PRO
    Sean Crowley Custom Carpentry
    7 years ago
    I like the wood elements. You call them ''floating steps''. this makes me think of water, so river stones (4'' or larger) surrounding them seems appropriate. This would also help with drainage around the wood timbers. I would give the wood a preservative below the stones and let it weather naturally on top. Does water have a place to drain on the right? Looks like water will "pool" here otherwise. also, what is on the bottom of the timbers. Looks like something moisture could get trapped in....
    kaz2 thanked Sean Crowley Custom Carpentry
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  • kaz2
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    Thanks. Good question about the height I wasn't sure. I was wondering about having them a little higher so the wood stands out and that it's a feature and not a path. But maybe they should be lower.??? But then only the top will show as I was going to fill the space right up to the top of the concrete. Thanks for your response It helps me maybe I should have them level.
  • kaz2
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    Thanks Sean, The green is a copper preservative we put on the wood because they can get wet and yes water does pool here that's why I tried to raise them a little on the fine stones.
    I should have put in a drain before the concrete was put down silly me.
  • kaz2
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    Thanks I was leaning toward the river stone. but questioning my ideas
  • rosecottagehome
    7 years ago
    Very cool " Floating Steps". I agree with adding some river rock and a planting of assorted ornamental grasses, Yuka, Aloe and Cactus. Your potted orange trees would look nice on either corner of your patio area.
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    kaz2 thanked rosecottagehome
  • kaz2
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    Thank you rosecottagehome I never thought of those plants ???? you have me thinking as I was going to put the plants that are in the pots into the ground since they have been in them for over 10 years. I'm sorry I probably should have mentioned I'm in New Zealand, I haven't seen much in the way of cactus around maybe some sort of palms/ ferns??? I have some Yukas in pots around the back of the house. Thanks for the ideas.
  • PRO
    Sean Crowley Custom Carpentry
    7 years ago
    I like the timbers to sit higher than the river stones. the more they project, the heftier they will look. I think they could be slightly higher than the concrete (just an inch or so). Why not cut the timbers so they can sit on a patio block at each end, and have some airspace under them?? Also, the river stones don't need to come to the top level of the concrete do they? why not leave the stones 3'' shy of the top of concrete and 4'' shy of the top of timbers. think of the stones as a ''water line'' and the concrete and wood as ''land''......
    kaz2 thanked Sean Crowley Custom Carpentry
  • mcbriec
    7 years ago
    Love the cat! Given the verdant view beyond I think some planting is warranted so the steps relate to the broader perspective.
    kaz2 thanked mcbriec
  • sunnydrew
    7 years ago
    I like the idea of surrounding with river rocks. Just be careful about the height of the timbers and the spacing. You want it to be easy to walk across. think of who may be out there. You don't want anyone to trip or "fall off" one of those.
    kaz2 thanked sunnydrew
  • kaz2
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    Ops I might have to dig deeper I think you are right the floating idea is what was in mind at first but I was worried the steps would move so I went for solid blocks. I should have asked here first before buying them.
    I also was thinking the steps might help with the flow through the front door. We have a water feature that probably is a little OTT. I was thinking of having a skinny path of the same river stones leading to it. This is what you see from the front door which is to the fight of the previously posted photos.
  • kaz2
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    Thank you mcbriec the cat loves getting into my photos Isn't that called photo bombing?? or does she need to be closer lol.
    and thanks Ikdrew. It sounds positive to the river stone. Silly as it's weighing on my mind because I was unsure but this is helping give me direction.
  • orangecamera
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago
    I feel like it would be a great place for a zen water garden. Is it too late to put in a drain pipe? Since you already have what looks like a walkway to a door, I would LOVE to see this new area filled in with river stones and water. Stones just at the bottom, and a few inches of water on the top. The wooden steps would be like "islands" to walk across. Use some sort of pump to keep the water moving a bit. Will koi live in your area?

    If you can't do a water garden, what about using gravel or smaller river rocks, and raking them? Or make a dry river bed? Your potted plants could even take the place of what is usually larger rocks in a zen garden....

    If the timbers aren't already installed, they should not be perfectly lined up if you're going to go zen with it.

    (cross posted with you, I see you already have a water feature...)

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    kaz2 thanked orangecamera
  • kaz2
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago
    Interesting you say they should not be lined up I took that photo a few minutes before posting it. I took them just for this purpose so the blocks are just sitting there at the moment.
    I can move them. Thanks for the photo ideas Do you think they shouldn't be in a line? Should they be off set? I'll post another photo of the front so you can see where the path goes.
  • kaz2
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    Those Koi a beautiful looking fish but funny enough we are not allowed them, they are considered a pest in Australia and New Zealand apparently they can really damage our water ways. : /
  • orangecamera
    7 years ago
    hi kaz,
    Here's a picture to show you what I had in mind when I said not to put the blocks in a completely straight line. That's interesting about not being allowed to keep koi there. I found lots of pictures of koi sculptures online.... (I know, I'm going overboard!) :)
    kaz2 thanked orangecamera
  • kaz2
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    oh Sculptures might be ok, it's just the live ones. lol. Thanks for the photo I'll push them around and take photos to see how they look. That's another thing I learnt here on Houzz, is to take pictures and then look at them. It seems to give me a better picture of how it all looks.
    I did this with a wall I have multiple pictures on and found two of them were out . I didn't notice it in real life. lol.
  • kaz2
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    At least I know it's definitely river stone that I'm using, that seems to stand out.
  • nwduck
    7 years ago
    Nice idea, for sure! I'm not an expert on drainage by any stretch, but I think it would be worth your while to install a slotted drainpipe (French drain) along the left edge (of your first photo) that connects into the drainage/downspout line I see there at the house. You would need to grade the underlying slope so it slants lower to the left, (allowing water to run to the hidden pipe) and infill with rock accordingly. That could help with potential standing water and better preserve your beautiful wood floating steps. Wood+standing water=bad.
    kaz2 thanked nwduck
  • kaz2
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    Thank you nmduck. Ok I'll definitely look into draining it somehow. Your idea is a great one and had me excited but then I realised we are on tank water : ( and it'll drain into our water supply. But it was a good thought and thank you as it means I will definitely need to sort out draining before I go any further.
  • nwduck
    7 years ago
    kaz2: Do you use the rainwater from your roof going into your tank? If your downspouts (from the roof) drain rainwater into that system, would there be a big difference if water from a rather patio-like area drained into it? Is there a filter system of some sort? I think it is certainly worth asking someone smarter than me about that! :)
    kaz2 thanked nwduck
  • touchadream
    7 years ago
    Do you have horsetail in New Zealand, because it would be cool-looking to plant among the river stones and it likes wet feet. (Equisetum, I think).
    kaz2 thanked touchadream
  • kaz2
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    Yes the rain water is the only source of water for the house ie drinking water. At the moment the cats seem to think the small stones by the blocks of wood are another form of litter box. : ( I can't wait to get bigger stones in there. But you have got me thinking that I need a drain and if I can run a pipe or tunnel under the path.
  • Dixie Holder
    7 years ago
    I agree with river rock and maybe even add a few bags of Mexican Beach Rocks (usually sold at Lowes or Home Depot) Just add a few bags for interest because they are much more expensive then regular river rock. They have interesting blue and turquoise colors in them which would be pretty with the color of your house. Also agree with staining the wood. It's a good idea for longevity of wood and gives it a more finished look. Driftwood is a nice gray stain color used a lot in the south. P.S. Love the floating steps. They look super custom and unique. Great job!
    kaz2 thanked Dixie Holder
  • nwduck
    7 years ago
    Oh boy. Cat-poo drinking water. Not sure I'd be wanting that either!
    kaz2 thanked nwduck
  • kaz2
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    Thanks touchadream it's interesting what I can learn here as I've never heard of it before. So I just goggled it and it says...Horsetail species are natives
    nearly everywhere, the few exceptions being Australia, New Zealand, and Antarctica. : ( funny we must be weird here. lol
    Before I had thought I'd be able to have the plant pots lowered into the ground and hope that would suck the water up but after reading all the comments about the wood rotting even with the preservative on it (it's only on the bottom and the wood does have splits in it, (which are on the bottom)) I think I'll need drainage which is a shame. Because it does fill up and the wood looks like it'll be too high if I put it on the raised stone bed
  • nwduck
    7 years ago
    OK, another thought. If you don't drain the area, perhaps you could look into treating the wood that would be wet with some sort of marine product, e.g. varnish or preservatives they use on boats. That might do it.
    kaz2 thanked nwduck
  • kaz2
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    Yes thanks nwduck I'll definitely look into that. as it sounds a lot easier than a drain, if I can get away with it. I might have to got to the hardware store/s tomorrow to see what is available. Also I might have to ring up the boat building yards and see if they don't mind giving me some advice..
  • kaz2
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    Thanks Seagardens I just looked up the Mexican Beach Rocks http://www.pondandgardenwholesalers.com/servlet/the-Mexican-Beach-Pebbles/Categories
    Boy they do have a lot of colours. Love the contrasting colours.
    I'll have to see what is available,
    It sounds like I need to see if I need drainage.
    Then if I colour the wood I think that green preservative actually fades if so I might have a choice. If I stain the wood brown or another colour? then lock the wood in place (this will take weeks lol Sorry I'm not fast at this, need more days off work)
    Then I might be able to see what colour river stone, it's good to see there maybe a choice. You guys are all helping thank you.
  • rosecottagehome
    7 years ago
    kaz2 Be sure to post your finished project. It is going to look fab!
    kaz2 thanked rosecottagehome
  • kaz2
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    Thank you
  • kaz2
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    Thanks Everyone so far we have dug down deeper and added a lot of scoria (thinking about drainage etc.). The wooden steps are now only about 6 cm above the concrete and we hope to have the river stone in tomorrow Yippee!!! thanks for your help.
  • orangecamera
    7 years ago
    Ooooh, you're moving along! Post pictures please :)
    kaz2 thanked orangecamera
  • kaz2
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago
    Thanks Orangecamera. It's still a work in progress and mud everywhere Sorry we did look at having the steps' off set' but it didn't seem to go with only three steps and a small area. And about the zen well the cats are doing that for us much to our disappointment (it's still like a litter box to them). We went to the garden supply place still not knowing what kind of stones we were getting. We stood in front of all the bins (there where many). We even looked at mixing some. The grey stones had a bin more the size we wanted but we ended up getting the golden fleck. It was a little smaller, which was a shame, the bigger ones were so mixed in their grading it looked too messy. So this is what we finished up with. It was seagardens that got me thinking away from grey and nwduck mentioning the drainage. So this has really helped. Also everyone seem to think the wooden steps needed to go a lot lower. Next it's figuring out where the large river stones should go
  • kaz2
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago
    It's hard to know what colour the stones are as the are very dusty but when wet they are browner. We did this because there is golden bits through the schist stone and in the tiles leading through the front door. Plus it means we don't necessary have to do stones through that whole area. I'm also hoping the stones will still be a little lower after they settle.

    We also did it in mind with the water feature that you see when you walk in the front door.
    we have little black Mondo plants that will go up the side of the path to the WF
    It's not finished as we need to figure out the plants now for the front.
  • nwduck
    7 years ago
    Looks quite nice! As soon as the stone dust settles off them, it will look just like you imagined. Am still minorly freaked out about cats in area where water run off goes into your tank. :) I'm not a pet owner, but shouldn't there be a dust or spray you could put down like Cat Poo Begone? Love your water feature.
    kaz2 thanked nwduck
  • kaz2
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    Thanks nwbuck that down pipe does not have a hole at the bottom (it's all sealed), so water from that area should not be able to get into the tanks. I admit that would be ewwww!!!! And yes I think there is something we can sprinkle in the area.
  • nwduck
    7 years ago
    Yea!
    kaz2 thanked nwduck
  • PRO
    Michael Norpell's Wall To Wall
    5 years ago

    I would soften the space with some native ornamental grasses or sedums. Both of these type of plants would not require much watering and super low maintenance. Here is a similar project I recently completed.Twin Oaks Project

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