Yardzen Review: Is It Really Possible To Design A Beautiful Yard Remotely?

We purchased this home for the property. The vibe. The area. It was magical, and the potential was really easy to visualise. We had plans to rework the home first, then deal with the yard in section 2 or 3, however some areas are getting fast-tracked in order that we are able to spend time on the market this summer season and fall (and since the development and rain turned it into an absolute mud pit and ruined the hardscape/panorama, so, yeah…). I’ve determined to prioritize the “kitchen patio,” with the hopes of having fun with it by midsummer. However my mind area is tapped out with the renovation/river home/e-book/weblog, so I reached out to Yardzen to see if partnering on this smaller space can be a great match for them — and albeit, I used to be very curious if a digital design would even work for a big property with extra of a standard vibe like ours. However they had been excited to dive in, and I actually can’t wait to indicate you what it’s going to seem like. Be ready to be blown away. Let’s begin again nearly 3 years in the past — that’s proper, a yr BEFORE the pandemic, after we first fell in love with the property.

This patio space is true outdoors the kitchen, and it will get the one afternoon/night shade on the property, thus it’s possible the place we’ll grill and eat dinner whereas the youngsters are enjoying within the yard. The again porch in the summertime will get sizzling, horizontal, western daylight (we’re planting a number of timber to fight this), making it much less fulfilling to sit back…we expect. Arduous to know till you reside there. There’ll possible be two lengthy picnic tables underneath the oak tree by the someday-redone sports activities court docket, for larger teams, however that is extra for us and presumably one other household to take pleasure in. It’s a candy little space that feels charming and intimate.

My largest doubts and questions on working with a digital panorama design staff had been:

  1. Can Yardzen do a extra conventional/lived-in look? We wished a extra customized/particular hardscape plan. Will they get the vibe?
    – Reply: You’ll see for your self under. 🙂
  2. Will Yardzen know what crops are native to and can thrive within the PNW?
    – Reply: Sure. Their design staff has quite a lot of regional information because of their on-staff horticulturalists and their plant database. Additionally they have native contractors all through america who assist with plant choice.
  3.  What occurs after you might have the plan? How do you execute it?
    – Reply: You are able to do it your self or rent your personal staff, however Yardzen additionally has a extremely huge community of vetted contractors all through america who will set up their designs (together with ours — which I’ll let you know about after we end the venture, with a hopefully glowing suggestion).
  4. Can Yardzen do a full property? As an illustration, would they do the complete 3 acres?
    – Reply: They actually specialise in practical out of doors areas for entrance yards and backyards. For the homestead/farm a part of our property, we’ve employed Studio Campo to assist determine the meadowscaping, the paddock, and so forth., with extra native hands-on to the design.

So, I’ll convey you alongside the method of working with Yardzen, a step-by-step of the way you’d get your imaginative and prescient (and the main points) throughout by means of a digital platform.


The measurements had been simple. I used to be scared that I used to be going to want fancy website measurements, however I did all of it with a measuring tape. I used my iPhone for images.


I took the quiz, and it was FAR extra enjoyable than I had predicted. I assumed that I must know quite a lot of technical stuff, however it was extra about selecting footage that I favored — landscaped backyards, design parts, kinds of crops, and so forth. It was really actually enjoyable. It will get much less enjoyable once you discuss price range (per standard), and you ought to be ready for the truth that panorama design is dearer than you assume it’s going to be (largely because of the time and labor concerned). However they’ve a publish that can assist you perceive the fee. Right here’s an concept of what the quiz seems like:

These are actually the identical questions somebody in particular person would ask as properly. It’s like a mode diagnostic — which you recognize I really like. So I submitted the whole lot, and after a number of weeks, we received the primary model, and we couldn’t imagine it. There have been issues we wished to vary, however our degree of pleasure was excessive simply seeing Model #1, which I’m going to indicate you right this moment.


This rendering completely blew us away — I nearly cried. It was a much-needed dopamine hit throughout a really lengthy renovation (that we’re grateful for however…OOF). To see this visible, to know that sometime we’re going to have the ability to benefit from the stunning model of this residence that we’re placing a lot laborious work and sources into…was overwhelming in one of the best ways. I nearly cried considering our mud pit was sometime going to seem like the Yardzen renderings. Thanks, Kevin (Yardzen’s Design Director).

WHAT WE LOVED: The number of the crops alongside this wall and the way it actually softened the area.
OUR NOTES: I feel I mentioned that I really like purple in some unspecified time in the future, however I actually simply meant the deep, darkish purple leaves of some shrubs, not purple flowers. I additionally wished a extra delicate tree on the nook (I cherished the opposite one on the far finish) with much less dense leaves.

WHAT WE LOVED: I cherished the blossoming tree within the nook.
OUR NOTES: We need to nix having dust round the home within the patio space and have extra space for us to grill. Since we don’t know the place the barbecue goes to stay, we wish extra flexibility. Moreover, with all of the rain and having a white home, it’s beneficial to have as a lot hardscape as potential alongside the edges of the home. We additionally need fewer potted crops, simply to maintain it easier and cleaner (however I can see us including extra).

WHAT WE LOVED: We cherished the thought of the extra random brick sample with blended supplies (some aged, some reclaimed). It was impressed by a photograph we confirmed them that we’re OBSESSED WITH of Ulla Johnson’s yard (see under).


design by elizabeth roberts and peter marino | by way of architectural digest

As soon as once more I discovered myself obsessive about a inventive design threat that another person took and wished to do our model of it, but additionally as soon as once more, I’m taking flight. Once we noticed the brick sample specified by the renderings, we realized that it was too up to date for this home, and we really need one thing much more traditional (e.g., herringbone or a basket weave). We’re going to play with borders, however mixing supplies and doing a random sample felt improper to us after seeing it. After all, you must notice that renderings don’t present age and the feel of supplies in addition to in actual life (which is why it’s essential order and all the time reference actual samples of supplies).


WHAT WE LOVED: The anchoring blossoming tree, the easy grasses, and the ferns — the entire vibe feels pure, easy, and unfussy.
OUR NOTES: Properly, after seeing the rendering, it’s turning into more and more essential to determine the pathway/stairs/roofline awkwardness scenario. I assumed that Yardzen might design the patio whereas we determine it out, however it’s affecting the design an excessive amount of. Basically the kitchen home windows (and cabinetry) had been designed with the door moved over, and we didn’t actually catch that by shifting it, it might not line up with the steps and the coated pathway. In the meantime, the unique overhang was rotted, so it was demo’d months in the past for security. Then we realized that by placing up a brand new overhang, we had been going to lose quite a lot of mild within the kitchen — and that’s an enormous “no thanks” from us. So the query then turned, “The place ought to the steps cease?” Can we need to have a touchdown on the best? It’s loads.

Right here it’s IRL:

This doorway/pathway subject wasn’t Yardzen’s drawback, actually. We (ARCIFORM and I) have to deal with it from an inside/exterior perspective. We’ve since give you a a lot easier answer that I’ll present you subsequent week. However I wished to flag that and clarify it, in case you had been questioning what was happening — it’s awkward, and we’re on it.

WHAT WE LOVED: The combo of the pebble with the brick border, with the herringbone.
OUR NOTES: We’re frightened in regards to the tripping hazard of the brick in opposition to the garden so are going to set that down into the soil or flip the brick.


WHAT WE LOVE: The combo of the ferns and the climbers. It will be SO DREAMY.
OUR NOTES: Swap to a pink flower as an alternative of white (so long as they’re inexperienced year-round). 🙂


The explanation that we’re switching from the brick to a pea gravel path alongside the home is as a result of the gravel ingredient/materials might be used all through the property – in each patio areas and pathways (and bigger gravel for the two-lane driveway). We love the herringbone aged brick for the kitchen patio. It’s going to be so traditional, elevated, and lovely. However we’re not utilizing it in every single place as a result of A. It’s costly each in supplies and labor and B. We love the extra rustic/informal vibe of the pea gravel (particularly as The explanation that we’re switching from the brick to a pea gravel path alongside the home is as a result of the gravel ingredient/materials might be used all through the property, in each patio areas and pathways (and bigger gravel for the two-lane driveway). We love the herringbone aged brick for the kitchen patio. It’s going to be so traditional, elevated, and lovely. However we’re not utilizing it in every single place as a result of a) it’s costly, each in supplies and labor, and b) we love the extra rustic/informal vibe of the pea gravel (particularly as we get nearer to the alpacas and chickens). It’s really easy to take this property to the following degree and make it like a elaborate property, however the expertise that we wish for our household is extra informal and farm-y (which inserts our price range higher). So we’ll get monetary savings and get the vibe that we wish.

Proper now we’re specializing in the world across the kitchen and the coated path, however I’m positive we’ll plant alongside the opposite older home as properly.


WHAT WE LOVED: The intimacy and sense of a room that they created with the crops. The vibe is SO GOOD.
OUR NOTES: Fewer potted crops, simply to maintain it cleaner and easier. So as an alternative, we pitched them some window packing containers — a glance we’ve each cherished however by no means had earlier than (in addition to on the fortress playhouse), though we’re nervous about them staying maintained when it’s sizzling in the summertime. Yardzen thinks it might be a stunning place to place an herb backyard, which we agree with, so keep tuned on that.

OUR NOTES: Extra traditional furnishings — fascinated by this desk or this desk, and these chairs or these chairs (however we’d go rectangular – nonetheless TBD).


In case you might be questioning the place the barbecue goes and why we didn’t plumb it for pure fuel, listed here are our ideas:

1. A barbecue in opposition to a home would possible stain the white exterior partitions.a
2. We expect within the record of priorities an enormous out of doors kitchen isn’t essential, when the kitchen is true there (can be totally different if it had been a hike to get the ketchup).
3. By not plumbing, we are able to float a barbecue within the patio (in order to not soot up the partitions), after which we’ve got flexibility on the place to place it. I didn’t need Yardzen to design round a floating barbecue, so we left it off.

We determined to not hard-plumb it in, since we don’t know the place it’s going to go and likewise as a result of we’re limiting our pure fuel consumption. So we’ll proceed to make use of a propane barbecue till the electrical ones begin getting higher (they’re slowly coming, y’all). Principally we simply need flexibility for now and to economize by not constructing an enormous out of doors kitchen that we’d not use or want. Now, as soon as we stay within the property, we’d discover that we wish an outside coated kitchen someplace close to the sports activities court docket, and in order that could be one thing we think about, however with out residing there and figuring out what we’ll actually use (versus what’s simply enjoyable/fancy to have), we’re not pulling any triggers.


WHAT WE LOVED: I favored the “random” heights of the plantings alongside the south facet of the home (the outside wall) with a pleasant up and down cadence.
OUR NOTES: We’d love extra medium shrubs to interrupt up the white and soften the traces of the massive home windows (that are so dreamy).

I can’t let you know how happy we had been with Model #1 of the design. Seeing the Yardzen renderings actually solidified some concepts and challenged others — each an essential a part of the design course of. The entire expertise has been an absolute complete pleasure and a enjoyable aid from ready for drywall to dry.


My Yardzen designer is ending up implementing our notes into the ultimate spherical of renderings, and our panorama contractor is ending up one other job earlier than they leap on ours. We’re working with an area design/construct staff that has labored with Yardzen loads, and as soon as we’ve got the ultimate plan, it’s going to get carried out.

As you may see, the Yardzen staff did an unimaginable job on Model #1. I’m very excited to see and publish publish #2. In order a recap, here’s what they’re tweaking:

1. An answer to the off-center coated pathway and stairs (we’ve already despatched them our concepts now that we figured all of it out).
2. A extra traditional brick sample for the patio ground. One thing timeless, however nonetheless particular.
3. Fewer potted crops, including window packing containers as an alternative.
4. Tweak the variability, shade, and elegance of the timber and crops alongside the facet of the home.

The most important takeaway for me is figuring out the worth of getting a Yardzen designer take over the inventive course of, utilizing their design experience to create an correct visualization for us — FROM AFAR. It may possibly so clearly assist any shopper, and it provides you the arrogance that what you might be doing is the best factor (or not). And largely, it will possibly add a burst of hope and pleasure into what is commonly an costly and laborious renovation course of. Really seeing the potential in renderings, not simply making an attempt to think about it, is magical. I can’t WAIT to see and present you the ultimate model.

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