Drôle House Blog

Postcard 8

{Postcard 8} - "Is there another way to use my long driveway for storage?" - submitted by Aaron

{Postcard 8} - "Is there another way to use my long driveway for storage?" - submitted by Aaron

This design challenge hails from Halifax. Aaron demolished his 12'x22' delapidated garage this summer, but noticed how awesomely large his yard could be for his kids if he didn't rebuild it in the same place. He wonders if there is a way to rebuild something for storage and privacy while benefiting from a larger yard.

This design challenge includes:

  • an already demolished garage
  • an underused, 11 foot wide, ridiculously long driveway that is a pain to shovel in the winter
  • the need to maintain the access through the backyard for oil tank refilling
  • the need to store a snowblower, winter tires, bikes and a plethora of kid and yard equipment

Aaron is not concerned about keeping the garage for future resale, he'd rather have a bigger backyard and more accessible storage for the next decade.

Suggested solution:

In this schematic design, two smaller structures - joined by a gate - replace the garage. One is an 8'x8' shed, situated right adjacent to the wall of the house, between the side door and the first floor window. An overhang can be included in the shed's hipped roof to serve as a shelter for the side entrance (bonus!), as well as partially cover the walkway. Access doors to the shed can be on any of the three sides, depending on what needs storing. The second structure is a beefed-up fence to create privacy from neighbours and provide amble storage for yard tools and toys.

There are many benefits to re-imagining exterior storage space. 

Benefits include:

  1. By locating the shed further along the driveway, there is still room for two cars but cuts down on a 150 sqft worth of winter shoveling. Score!
  2. Two smaller structures (built at the same time over over a couple of summers perhaps), the square footage falls under 100 sqft (or 10sqm) which takes his build legally outside of building permit territory.
  3. Aaron and his family can properly enjoy the large tree in the corner where the garage used to be...a place to build a treehouse or patio perhaps?

What has your garage done for you lately?


Postcard 7

{How to separate sitting space from play space for kids?} - Submitted by James

{How to separate sitting space from play space for kids?} - Submitted by James

James' backyard, like most backyards, has two personalities. The grown-up needs for entertaining, hanging out and gardening can conflict with kids' independent play and the inevitable scattering of toys. James wants to enjoy his backyard, have more privacy from neighbours but still maintain a kids' play zone. 

This outdoor design challenge includes:

  • a zig-zag shaped backyard with lots of concrete
  • three active boys who love sports and need some hard surfaces to play
  • the need to maintain the access through the backyard to the basement apartment for tenant
  • allowing intimate dining and kids play to happen side by side

The first suggestion would be to take up all necessary concrete and replace with grass or vegetation to help define the visual separation of the adult zone (green zone) and kids zone (hard surfaces for playing sports). Using the garage as an anchor point, you can build a moveable partition wall that first slides out on a track and includes a rotating half (with multi-directional wheel at the base) that can be folded in both directions to create "rooms". Each side of the wall can be clad with different materials and have multiple functions. 

Configurations for the room can include enclosed dining, a room and screen for outdoor movies (adult side) as well as playing/climbing wall, drawing or writing surfaces, and a cabana/fort (kids side). The cladding materials can be subtle and interchangeable, or quite sturdy to endure boisterous play.  When the partition wall is tucked back into it's 'closed' position, the kids can have the run of the place.  

What functions would you add to an moveable outdoor room?



Sign up here to get free design help via a Drôle House POSTCARD!

Name *