Lack of Privacy. One yard blends into the next to form a giant green space accessible to everyone in the surrounding area (Figure 1-17). The real challenge of most backyards is to combine the numerous functional requirements with aesthetic considerations. Vegetable Gardens. Figure 1-25
Vegetable gardens tend to be placed in far corners of backyards where they are eyesores and remote from a water source. Lack of Separation. To support these activities, backyards normally contain such elements as lawn furniture, barbeque grills, sandboxes, swing sets, swimming pools, cords of firewood, air conditioners, metal storage sheds, and so on. Figure 1-23
Some outdoor living and entertaining spaces are devoid of unique character and personality. Figure 1-22
Some outdoor living and entertaining spaces lack consideration for sun and wind. Another reason for the discomfort of many exterior living and entertaining spaces is that they are not located or designed with climate in mind. Like front entry walks, many exterior terraces are devoid of any personality or character. People will not use outdoor spaces where sun, wind, and precipitation have not been properly considered. many are too small (Figure 1-20). Some back doors exit onto a concrete stoop that is smaller in scale than the front-door stoop. The activity that goes on in one’s backyard becomes the visual business of surrounding neighbors. 7. 2. The function of the backyard, on the typical residential site, is to accommodate a number of activities including (1) outdoor living and entertaining, (2) recreation, and (3) utilitarian activities, such as gardening and storage. There is generally a common character to the front yards of homes in a given neighborhood owing to similar size of the homes, similar setbacks, and similar lot sizes. When located on the west side of a house, terraces tend to be very hot during summer afternoons, particularly when not adequately shaded. Although this may be enough area for several chairs, a small table, and a lounge chair, it is hardly adequate for entertaining several guests. Although different and sometimes even incompatible, all these activities and elements are commonly placed in relatively close proximity to one another in the backyard. This tends to discourage use of the backyard for people who enjoy privacy. These sheds are usually different in style and character from the house and consequently can be eyesores. It is placed some distance from the nearest water source yet still close enough to the house to be seen as a brown patch of bare earth in the nongrowing season (Figure 1-25). In the western part of the United States, backyards are apt to be totally enclosed by walls or fences (Figure 1—18). The backyard doesn’t have to be only an engineered organization of sitting, recreation, and gardening spaces. The outdoor living and entertaining space, if it exists at all, is often established by a terrace. Figure 1-17
Many backyard areas blend in with each other to form an anonymous open space. One problem is that
Backyards that are completely open to each other are apt to create unsightly views and visual chaos. They are cold, impersonal spaces that are uninviting to use for any length of time. They are open and exposed to the view of the surrounding neighbors. As a result, there is little sense of identity or privacy. However, they are often uncomfortable to use because they commonly
Many outdoor living and entertaining spaces lack spatial enclosure and visual separation from neighbors. Lack of Appealing Character. The backyards in many newly developed neighborhoods are open and ill-defined areas. When located on the north side of the house, outdoor terraces are apt to be cool and damp much of the time, as well as exposed to cold winter wind (Figure 1—22). Consequently, many homeowners erect metal or wood storage sheds in their backyards to take care of extra belongings. Sometimes alleyways are located behind these backyards for access to garages located at the back end of the property. 3. For many, it is a drab experience to sit on a concrete slab with nothing to look at except an open expanse of lawn or the backs of the neighbors’ houses (Figure 1—23). A vegetable garden is often stuck in one of the back corners of the yard. Following are typical conditions of the backyard:
1. Unsightly Storage Sheds. Let us take a closer look at the backyard and examine its specific qualities more critically. Harsh Microclimates. Dissimilar Visual Character. This can create the same problem as illustrated in Figure 1—9. 10. 9. 6.