Off Center crowdsourcing: landscaping edition

So what do you do to keep your sanity when you’re a generally impatient person who has spent a month in “hurry up and wait” mode?

*Waiting on the framing and window guys to get started, waiting on final demo & brick work, waiting on electrical bids, waiting on HVAC guys to call us back (no one is crazy enough to want this HVAC job!)…*

You work on landscaping plans!

Never mind that landscaping literally the last thing we’ll do…that it may be a year before we get to it…that – when we do get to it – the budget will probably be so shot we can only afford a bucket full of grass seed…

It’s fun to dream about summer nights on the patio, or fall evenings gathered around the fire pit…NOT worrying about things like framers and electrical bids and who’s going to do the HVAC work on the house…while the kids play in the yard.

Joe and I have spent a couple of weeks poring over the five beautiful landscaping concepts designed for us by George Hayes at Sticks and Stones Outdoor Living and Landscape Co. We’ve got some pretty clear ideas about what we want, which elements we like and which ones we don’t, and the big changes we want to make to our favorite concept.

But before we send our final feedback to George, we thought we’d share the plans to see if any of our Off Center followers have ideas we haven’t thought of or lessons learned from their own outdoor renovations.

As always, just click on one of the pics below to open a slideshow and enlarge the images.

At first glance, they are a little overwhelming. The drawings aren’t all oriented the same way, but I did orient the images the same way (front of the house on bottom) and they are well-labeled. So you can generally find the house with the front porch and garage in back. The misshapen circles are trees. Each design incorporates parking, walkways, and planting beds. And each concept has a patio with tables/chairs, an outdoor kitchen (usually with a bar island and grill island), and a fire pit. Some have a garden.*

Keep in mind that we’re working on a “master plan” here that will likely be phased in over a few years or more. It’s likely we won’t have the budget to do everything at once and may not want to anyway since our family and needs will continue to change over the next 10-15 years. We have to think not only about what we need right now (a place for our grill and table and a space for the kids to play) but also what we may want 10 years from now (an outdoor kitchen and pretty plants).

So what do you think? What do you love? What would you change? What are the “need to have” versus “nice to have” elements? What do you wish you would have thought of when you planned your outdoor space?

And also…can you talk Joe into adding a pool to the long-term plan? Because he won’t budge on that one…

*Post edited with an updated design description for my friend Lindsay, who was worried at first that we were putting big beach umbrellas all over our yard.