I’ve shown quite a few shots/videos of our lot, so you are probably some-what familiar with our layout.  As I’m sure many new home builders are aware, flat land is hard to come by!  Our land is no exception.  That’s why we decided to do a walkout basement and have windows across the back wall of the basement.  One of the biggest challenges with the land is that we want to avoid giant hills if at all possible, but that is easier said than done, particularly since we would like some room to store things or sit under the future deck. 

The Back Of The House

Because we want storage under the deck, we can’t have a really quick taper of the backfill on the back basement wall under the deck.  So, we end up with a ledge that sticks out from the back wall, and then a very steep hill down to the normal yard grade.  As I’m typing this I’m realizing how hard to explain it is, and how equally hard it must be to understand!  So, here’re some illustrations:


As you can see from the image above, we will have a deck off the 1st floor.  We would really like to have some storage or a play area for the kids under the deck.  Because it will only be about 5-6 feet of standing room under it, our initial patio idea won’t be feasible. The bigger issue isn’t shown in this picture, but is shown below:


As you can see, we can certainly have a flat, playable, storable area under the future deck, but we will have a very steep, tall wall to deal with.  Our last home had a giant wall that needed mulched and weeded constantly.  Granted it was much larger than this one, because it was across our back yard, but nonetheless, I told myself I would deal with having to maintain a wall again.  Because of the proximity of the hill to our house, letting it grow in with whatever weeds decide to pop up isn’t an option.

OK, So What ARE the Options?

My wife and I have talked about a couple of options, but it’s so hard to make a decision without seeing the numbers associated with each, as well as the final look we’ll have.  Very frustrating!

Option 1 – 2 Tiered with Steps

The first option is to have 2 tiers of ground, with steps down the center to the back yard.  The 1st tier would go from the back wall of the house to edge of the deck or a little before the edge of the deck.  This tier would be the play area for the girls or a storage area.  There would be steps down the center to the 2nd Tier.  The 2nd tier would have rounded flower beds on either side, contained by pavers.  We could even do 2 tiers ON the 2nd tier of rounded flower beds.  Again, steps would go down the center of the 2nd tier and take you to the back yard.  Here’s my attempt at graphically simulating what I’m talking about:



Option 2 – Huge Deck with Tapered Bank and Patio

With this option, the deck is significantly deeper.  The example above shows approximately a 12 foot depth from the house towards the steps.  Option 2 would nearly double that, making an absolutely enormous deck.  The bonus here is that we could technically have the living space under the deck that we wanted.  To do that the fill along the back would have to be removed, and relocated to another area.  I think it could easily go over on the side of our driveway, which would reduce the massive slope we have now.  See my illustrations below:




Option 3 – Who Knows!

I’m sure we’ll come up with another option in the next few days, but these are the 2 sticking out to me.

The Driveway

I’m very happy with how the driveway has come together.  We’re going to have some bonus parking on the side and we’ve locked in a place for my large shed.  Having the shed sitting on an extension to the driveway will be very convenient for snowblowing, plowing, and mowing.

The challenge we have is that due to the slope in the back, the driveway had to be built up pretty high to line up with the garage entrance.  That leaves us with quite a large drop off on the side of the driveway and behind the garage.  See pics below":
The Shed will sit at the end of this driveway extension, giving us room to park in front as well.

This is to the right of the shot above.  In the middle of the pic above, right after the driveway line is a tall drop-off.

This is to the right of the shot above.  To the right, you can see the entrance to the garage.  strait ahead is another steep hill that goes down to the back of the house and yard.

This shot is the slope right after the end of the driveway.  You can see the height of the grade by looking at my friend, relative to the top of the back foundation wall.  It’s pretty steep.

OK, So What’s the Plan Here?

Great questions!  When I know, I’ll let you know!  I;m more concerned about the back of the house right now.  Once that’s figured out, I’ll worry about this part.