Back Porch / Gate

Current Project!  Our backyard, accessible from our kitchen,  is technically not a yard.  In fact it’s a covered porch of sorts.  But it’s not really a porch either.  It’s a covered area with steps going down to our alley.  And we’re working on making it an AWESOME covered area.

Steps involved:

– remove the old 100 year old massive fence that is on it’s last leg, and remove the inward swinging gate that locks with a sliding bolt (inaccessible from the alley, and gets stuck ALL THE TIME)

– remove the old wood steps

– remove the old slab that tends to collect water and sort of slopes towards the house (bad)

– remove the boarded up windows into the space (2)

– pour a new slab that slopes away from the house, towards the alley

– add a new column with a stucco enclosure to help support the steel span of the covered area. The steel supports our closet above and the deck above that, but is resting on a sliver of masonry and that makes us nervous since the house has shown signs of previous settlement.  The new column will definitely improve the situation.

-install new, tighter stairs that will give more space  for storing trash cans, bikes, etc.

– install a new fence & sliding gate.  This is the most exciting part because the gate is 5′ wide and will slide open on a track.  This will give us total access to the precious little area we have back here.  There will also be a keyed lock so we can avoid the dreaded drop off (we turn down the alley in the car and whoever is passenger gets the task of walking down the block to the house, running thru the house and unlocking the back gate from inside the porch, while the driver cruises towards the house down the alley).    Plus we can unload our groceries and bags from weekend trips without scraping past trash bins – hooray!  This is luxury in our eyes.

–  install a planter on top of the new sliding gate.  This is going to improve our herb garden by 100%, as well as add a bit of height and visual screen from the kitchen to the alley and vice versa.

–  install a new dryer vent.  Currently the vent goes thru a boarded up window in the basement, directly into our covered area.  This gets the entire back area damp and smelling like dryer sheets (granted there are worse smells, but still not ideal).  The new vent will go under the new steps and vent directly into the alley instead, taking the hot steamy smelliness with it.

– install a new basement window.  We actually already bought the window in 2010(?) in anticipation of this project.  The window will bring some natural northern light into the laundry area of the basement  but also slides open to allow for any incidental loading of wood directly from the alley into the basement.

– install a new stained glass window in place of the boarded up bow window.  This is not technically part of the back porch project, but it will definitely improve the view back there.  Window is going in end of June!




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