Hardscaping plans

Now that the scaffolding is down, I am watching people move around outside and I’m getting a strong sense of the spaces around the house. And after so much gardening and weeding the past couple of weeks, I am certain that I do not want to weed every inch of the property. So around the buildings, I looking at options for hardscaping.

I can already tell that there are several “rooms” outside. These are places that have natural gathering power, or where I see them a specific purpose or use. I made a sketch that probably only I can understand:

The fun for me will be to design each of these spaces to make them fit to use, easy maintenance, durable, and solving some of the problems like soggy spots, while not overwhelming the simple beauty of the house.

I have access to some materials already – tiles, large stone pavers, other rocks, dirt – and I will use them. Some things will be a harder to source. My preference for the parking spaces is grass pavers and I don’t think I’ve ever seen them in Japan.

Outside the big glass door from the dining room, I envision a dining patio on the ground below the engawa deck. It will need to be more flat and easy to move furniture around, and farm equipment may need to traverse the space occasionally. And since the “stage” on the east side will need similar properties, maybe they can match. Something like one of these, perhaps?

The space at the top of the driveway is the approach to the front door and in front of the barn. This presents an interesting challenge. It is where we all naturally pause every time we walk onto the property. It’s a circulation area, a place to decide where to move to next rather than being a place to hang out. I want it to connect the drive, house and barn and I want it to feel welcoming and look beautiful. It’s hard not to be extra here with design, but I do like these ideas and their interesting shapes:

And that’s not all – the west side of the house wants a garden/path; we have a drip line under the roof where the rain water sheds and needs to be directed; and on the east side near the barn, I dream of a firepit with seating.

Check back in a decade and see what actually gets created. 🙂

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Mediatinker, Kristen McQuillin, is an American-born resident of Japan since 1998. This blog chronicles her life, projects, thoughts, and small adventures.