Yard Improvement Ideas

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Front Yard

Front Yard

I hate my grass. Due to lack of light it gets soggy & mossy. Grass in on the north side of the house. I want something with minimal (almost no) maintenance. I'm thinking of using brown rocks to give illusion of bark chips, mixed with lighter colored rocks and flat stones. There is a flagstone section that I previously replace that works well for me.


Deck

Deck west
Deck east
Deck planks

I power washed my wood deck last year and didn't bother to apply a protector. The deck appears weathered and needs some attention. There is a hot tub on one corner. There is a natural gas BBQ which can easily be moved. High winds in the winter make it awkward to leave out patio furniture, as well as making hot-tubbing very cold. During the summer the direct sunlight can get very hot and can have an uncomfortable glare. I currently use an umbrella system because I don't want to obstruct the view of the sky during 4th of July events, but I'm open to other suggestions to provide temporary shading.

Deck dimensions are roughly 15 ft by 36 ft. There are no stairs at this level, access is only thru the house sliding glass door.

Glass railings are something I've been looking at. The main reason is they provide a wind screen. The eastern two panels may need to be 5 feet tall, the rest can probably be 3ft high with a railing cap. My understanding is that the glass rail mounting is different that a traditional railing. A traditional railing has cutouts in the deck surface boards. The glass railing mounts are bolted thru holes in the deck boards. As a result some deck boards will likely need to be patched or replaced to provide a quality installation.

Back Yard

Back porch stairs
Gravel stairs to front yard
Back Yard under deck

The back yard is quite steep and mostly unusable. There is a flat section under the deck. There is a set of stairs leading from the basement sliding glass door to the flat spot under the deck. A set of gravel stairs leads from the backyard up to the front of the house. There is a fence surrounding the entire back yard. A large retaining wall separates me from my backyard neighbor, it has a large rock drain system on my side of the property that likely can't be altered.

I'd like a proper set of stairs & railing leading down the side of my house from the front to back yard. I'd like the wooden stairs from my basement to the backyard replaced (or modified) with something wider and more appealing. I'd like all the ground surfaces to be low maintenance (likely concrete or stone). I'd also like a natural gas fire pit for entertaining. I would want safety lighting on a timer/sensor as well as brighter area lighting that I can control. Some built in seating around the fire pit would be ideal. The fire pit should have flat edge surfaces for drinks & plates. The fire pit seating area should accommodate at least eight people, twelve would be better. I think a terrace with retaining wall and stairs would be a huge improvement.

What about an underdeck rain shield so I can keep the under deck area dry.