Archive for the ‘New Terrace’ Category

Sunny Flâneur

The picture above was taken quite a long time ago, but I just haven’t gotten around to posting about a rather significant development in the garden. Sometime ago, the Flâneur Husband voiced a desire to pull down the roof over the covered terrace in front of the house. Basically it was poorly constructed and didn’t really handle heavy snow or rain very well; heavy snow would make it sag by an inch so the terrace door from the house would be blocked, and heavy rain would run back towards the house as the incline of the roof was too shallow.

Dismantling roof

So one weekend we got started on the project, with moral support from a friend, seen perched on a ladder in the picture above. Basically it was just a matter of pulling down the roof and the roof beams and leaving the posts and top board all around the terrace to create a pergola or arbour, though with no roof.

View from the roof

Having removed the roof means several things. First of all the house is no longer structurally compromised by a poor addition to it, and obviously that’s the main benefit. However, removing the translucent roof over the terrace also means we get more light into the house – and we get a view of the sky when sitting in the sofa, rather than having the top of the view cut off. And finally we now have a much sunnier terrace, the problem corner to the North-East of the terrace is not as soggy, and generally we have a nicer transition from house to garden.


In pictures the difference is not that visible, really; there’s still the frame of the terrace to breack up the length of the façade and make the house appear somewhat larger, and there’s still the low wooden fence around the terrace that means you won’t accidentally push your chair back a bit too far and find yourself toppling backwards into the garden.

We already have several climbers around the terrace – 6 clematis, a rampant honeysuckle and some perennial sweet peas – but we plan to continue planting more so eventually the terrace will become more private. A partial and removable fabric awning of sorts is also being considered so it will be possible to create some shade – and shelter from the dew on summer nights.

This change is really for the better; I shall miss having a covered outdoor space, but we can always add that at another point – and probably in a different location where it won’t darken the house so much or create structural issues for the house.

Sunny Flâneur

So I repeat the first photo. See how lovely it is to have the sky up there?

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New Project

My husband wrote last night that he was considering tearing down the covered terrace.

At present it is perhaps the most dominant feature of the house as it faces the largest part of the lawn. If we remove it, the house will regain more of its original look; cleaner, but also potentially more boring.

I’m torn in two over this. On one hand I know that the present covering is a poor construction, partly because it adds stress to the house itself and partly because at least one of the posts is subsiding. Also, of course, the shallow incline of the roof caused it to sag by nearly an inch during the heavy snow last winter, expressing both just how shallow the incline is, how poor the construction is and how much additional stress it transfers to the house itself during heavy snow.

On the other hand I love having the covered terrace where the temperature in the late summer evenings is almost 5 degrees Celsius higher than outside and no dew falls.

As it is, though, the current covering will need to be pulled down eventually, if not next year then in 5 years max. So would I want it rebuilt? Perhaps, perhaps not. However, if my husband wants to take it down early, I’ll gladly go along with it and embrace the opportunities it gives.

The covered terrace is facing North-West, so during summer it has a beautiful evening light. If torn down, we’d certainly want to create an open terrace there, but we would be freed from the restraints of the present layout. In my head a new terrace would be smaller, but surrounded by wide borders of – fragrant? – flowers.

The sitting room – with the dining recess – overlooks the present terrace, so clearly a new terrace layout would need to be partly designed to look good through the windows. I could imagine borders with loads of white flowers that would be visible, even after dusk when you’ve retired inside.

It excites me to imagine what we could do if we replace the covered terrace. I love the way it creates a blank canvas for us to create a space that is entirely ours. And I love the way that by removing something so important to the look of the house and replacing it with something of our own invention, we’d be putting our own indelible stamp on the house.

I can imagine raised beds at either end of the new terrace, painted the same colour as the house to create a sense of unity, and a wide border between the terrace and the lawn. Perhaps we could retain the clematises around the present terrace by adding narrow tepees for them to ramble through?

For now this is all just fantasy, but we will spend the winter looking into our options and possible plans for this VERY important part of the garden. There’s definitely potential for an amazing new garden space, even if it would mean that the garden would have another year of looking all rough and newly-hewn…

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