Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

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psteinx
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Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

Post by psteinx » Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:16 pm

So, our back/side yard has various areas - sloped, flat, grassy, wooded, etc. Not a lot of flat(ish) and grassy, but some.

We also have a ~25' x ~35' area that is sort of carved into a slope, defined by a retaining wall. So it's fairly flat (not perfectly so, though). In this area, we've had a wooden playset for the kids. But the kids have now basically outgrown it (ages 12, 16, 18), and in any case, the playset has rotted, gotten shabby, etc.

Right now it's got wood chips, and despite just redoing it last year (I think) with that weed-block fabric and fresh wood chips, I've been fighting weeds on it this year.

Anyways, I'd like to repurpose this area - get rid of the playset.

But I'm not sure what to do with the area, if/when the playset goes.

It's moderately shaded - by woods/trees, a neighbor's ~6 foot fence, an elevated deck, etc. It gets a decent amount of sun still, but not TOO much. Call it ~50% sun, in Missouri (4 season climate).

We already have some veggie garden beds - more than I want really. I never succeeded in generating a lot of interest in these from the kids. My wife avoids dirt and worms, and I muddle along with generally unsuccessful crops.

Our sitting area is on the elevated deck. Don't REALLY need another one at ground level, though could theoretically do this.

Had a low end firepit (basically just some pavers and ballast and such) in the grassy part of the yard - the pavers got broken and I've disposed - I COULD have a more elaborate fire pit built with seating, but not sure usage would correspond to cost.

Could do a garden like area of decorative plants (rather than veggies), demanding less care, but would still need SOME care, and in general this is not really my forte.

Could do something active with the space. Kinda small for volleyball/badminton, AND the falloffs and such from the retaining wall (about 3 feet, at most) wouldn't be great for high level activity. Could do something lower end like bocce, shuffleboard, or maybe outdoor table tennis or the like. (Are the table tennis sets that would hold up to outdoor exposure and last ~10+ years still looking reasonably good?)

Open to other thoughts and suggestions...

[EDITED the size somewhat...]
Last edited by psteinx on Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.

btenny
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Re: Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

Post by btenny » Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:31 pm

I love water features of all types. A pond or small stream and pool or a fish pond would add lots of character and look great. All kinds of people here in Tahoe have them as do my neighbors in Arizona. See below for some examples. The key is you already have the slope so you just add some plastic and some rocks up the slope and add water.

https://www.pinterest.com/explore/pond-landscaping/
https://www.google.com/search?q=ponds+f ... LpDOY0rm_M:

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Meg77
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Re: Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

Post by Meg77 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 4:05 pm

I was thinking fire pit before I got to the part of your post talking about that. Depending on your kids' ages and whether they still live there it could be fun to have an area to lounge and/or roast marshmallows, etc. Or just a second seating area to banish the kids to when the adults want to chat in the "real" seating area.

Nothing wrong with some nice grass and a wide open space though. Kids can play football or run around, dad can do some yoga or morning stretching if the urge strikes.
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Watty
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Re: Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

Post by Watty » Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:32 pm

Meg77 wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 4:05 pm
Nothing wrong with some nice grass and a wide open space though.
+1

Our house is nice but not real fancy but we have a huge back yard and kids will figure out all sorts of ways to use it without having to set up something special for them to pay with.

When my son got married he asked if they could have the wedding in our back yard They had a set budget for the wedding and they were free to use any money that was left over for whatever they wanted. By saving money on the wedding they were able to use that money to help with a downpayment on a house. I never saw the details since that part of the wedding was handled by the bride's family but the main expenses were just some equipment rentals and food that was brought in by a caterer so the total cost was probably only a few thousand dollars and there were about 120 people there.

They didn't want a real formal wedding and it turned out really nice and more like a big party than a typical wedding which was what they wanted.
psteinx wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:16 pm
Could do something active with the space. Kinda small for volleyball/badminton, AND the falloffs and such from the retaining wall (about 3 feet, at most) wouldn't be great for high level activity. reasonably good?)
Tetherball would be an option.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:37 pm

12, 16, 18? Skateboard park.
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AlwaysBeClimbing
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Re: Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

Post by AlwaysBeClimbing » Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:23 pm

That's a nice sized plot of dirt. Maybe there's someone ( 4H kid or somesuch) who could take over managing the plot and share with you whatever crop they grow.

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CaliJim
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Re: Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

Post by CaliJim » Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:37 pm

Shade structure and patio area that doubles as an outdoor gym including: Pull up bar, rings (for practicing muscle ups), dip station, bench
Planters around the perimeter.
Fountain/water feature for some soothing vibes.

Weight loss, health, equanimity, and longevity... here we come!
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Saving$
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Re: Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

Post by Saving$ » Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:21 pm

I'd love to have a space like that
- croquet game
- cornhole board
If you build it they will come...

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CaliJim
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Re: Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

Post by CaliJim » Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:31 pm

Of you could build a nice quiet green space to sit.....


Song of the Grass-Roof Hermitage By Shitou Xiqian (700-790)

"I've built a grass hut where there's nothing of value.
After eating, I relax and enjoy a nap.
When it was completed, fresh weeds appeared.
Now it's been lived in - covered by weeds.

The person in the hut lives here calmly,
Not stuck to inside, outside, or in between.
Places worldly people live, he doesn't live.
Realms worldly people love, he doesn't love.

Though the hut is small, it includes the entire world.
In ten square feet, an old man illumines forms and their nature.
.
..."
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mouses
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Re: Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

Post by mouses » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:08 am

Plant things that are good for wildlife.

You don't have to maintain it yourself. There seem to be more and more gardeners for hire. After I broke a few appendages, I found one who costs me about $150 a month to make my gardens a thing of beauty. Sure beats my being out there weeding.

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Kenkat
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Re: Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

Post by Kenkat » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:34 am

When I removed my playset, I just raked up the woodchips, spread them in a wooded area at the back of our property, and planted grass. I think my boys had as much fun cutting up the old playset with a Sawsall as they did on the playset.

michaeljc70
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Re: Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

Post by michaeljc70 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:11 am

btenny wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:31 pm
I love water features of all types. A pond or small stream and pool or a fish pond would add lots of character and look great. All kinds of people here in Tahoe have them as do my neighbors in Arizona. See below for some examples. The key is you already have the slope so you just add some plastic and some rocks up the slope and add water.

https://www.pinterest.com/explore/pond-landscaping/
https://www.google.com/search?q=ponds+f ... LpDOY0rm_M:
That's what I was thinking. I had a Koi pond for years and it looked great and brought a lot of relaxation/enjoyment.

mikepru
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Re: Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

Post by mikepru » Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:15 am

Bocce court

Doom&Gloom
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Re: Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

Post by Doom&Gloom » Thu Sep 07, 2017 3:36 pm

Sometimes a yard is just a yard.

Get rid of the playset if it is deteriorating and on its way to becoming an eyesore. Live with the open yard for a season or two; you may like it as is. If not, it will give you time to consider many options.

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JupiterJones
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Re: Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

Post by JupiterJones » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:11 pm

Stay on target...

psteinx
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Re: Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

Post by psteinx » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:51 pm

To be more clear, the contemplated space is slightly separated from the yard. If I dispose of the play set and convert it to grass, that's still the case.

i.e. Our lot is hilly/uneven. The space in question was basically set up for the playset. It's fairly level, but lined on ~85% of its perimeter by retaining blocks - cutting into the "yard" against the uphill side, and standing above the "yard" on the downhill side (i.e. a cut uphill, an elevated bit, with retaining wall, downhill).

So, if made grass, it would be a very odd patch of grass, and distinctly cut off, via retaining blocks/walls, for the most part, from the parts of the grassy yard it would otherwise adjoin...

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TxAg
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Re: Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

Post by TxAg » Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:10 pm

Make it attractive to wildlife. Water, bird feeder, blooming bushes/flowers, a few small trees....

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:00 pm

Is the area readily visible to people sitting on the deck? If so, then something along the lines of water feature with some low-maintenance plantings that provide ambiance when you're outside makes sense.
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bkweathe
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Re: Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

Post by bkweathe » Fri Sep 08, 2017 11:57 am

I agree w/ Mouses & TxAg: support your local wildlife - monarchs & other butterflies, bees, birds, etc.

Here are some sources of additional information:
http://grownative.org/
http://www.wildones.org/
http://stlwildones.org/
http://www.stlouisaudubon.org/conservat ... /index.php
https://mdc.mo.gov/conmag/2003/04/grow-native

For the environment, a monoculture of turf grass is barely better than concrete. If you need a surface to play on, it's great. Otherwise, it's just a status symbol.

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nickjoy
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Re: Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

Post by nickjoy » Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:41 pm

Horseshoes

You can always make a little fire pit or anything inbetween. You just can't use'em both at the same time.

Dottie57
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Re: Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

Post by Dottie57 » Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:54 pm

I would love a small garden which attracts bees and butterflies. Doesn't have to take up lots a room, but you get interesting plants and flowers.

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badbreath
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Re: Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

Post by badbreath » Fri Sep 08, 2017 6:43 pm

Helicopter landing pad
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Shackleton
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Re: Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

Post by Shackleton » Sat Sep 09, 2017 8:13 am

badbreath wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2017 6:43 pm
Helicopter landing pad
Drone landing pad! Kids that age would enjoy it. The neighbors maybe not as much.
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mega317
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Re: Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

Post by mega317 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:13 pm

Dottie57 wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:54 pm
I would love a small garden which attracts bees...
Wow this sounds to me like a nightmare. What is the benefit?

Dottie57
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Re: Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

Post by Dottie57 » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:43 am

mega317 wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:13 pm
Dottie57 wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:54 pm
I would love a small garden which attracts bees...
Wow this sounds to me like a nightmare. What is the benefit?
Bees won't bother you if they can get enough of what they need from surrounding plants.

Bees are important for our food supply. I would like to help sustain them.

Bee gardens also attract Butterflies. A garden which attracts both is usually quite lovely to look at.

itstoomuch
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Re: Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

Post by itstoomuch » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:50 am

Start small.
A resting area for frogs. The next year encourage duck decoys. Then a gathering place for gnomes. Now I am at a fall migration stop for migration pink flamingos, I think they may over winter.
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bkweathe
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Re: Ideas to use a large flat space in yard

Post by bkweathe » Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:44 pm

Dottie57 wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:43 am
mega317 wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:13 pm
Dottie57 wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:54 pm
I would love a small garden which attracts bees...
Wow this sounds to me like a nightmare. What is the benefit?
Bees won't bother you if they can get enough of what they need from surrounding plants.

Bees are important for our food supply. I would like to help sustain them.

Bee gardens also attract Butterflies. A garden which attracts both is usually quite lovely to look at.
+1

Yes! Please see the sites & pages I mentioned above. Landscaping with native plants provides a lot of benefits to our environment.

A garden that attracts bees & butterflies will also attract birds & other interesting wildlife.

Brad

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