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A Small Yard Flush with Amenities

Urban Yard at The Seattle Box

Making the absolute most out of a small urban lot.

These days, there are a lot of common amenities that people add to their wishlists for upgrading an urban yard: a fire pit, a private garden, privacy from neighbors, somewhere to grow fresh herbs, an outdoor cooking area, a dog run, a hot tub, a play area for the kids, space for a party, outdoor dining, somewhere sunny, somewhere shady, you name it. Often, there also needs to be a driveway and parking area somewhere, too.

This project was no exception, but presented an additional challenge: all the items on the list, plus it’s on a small urban lot, measuring in at under 4,000 SF.

Every square inch mattered, and it takes an architect’s meticulous attention to detail to run all the numbers to score every bit of build-out allowed by the zoning code. The key to the yard is a series of low decks forming a series of outdoor rooms. (One small, but hugely important, point that makes all the difference: these decks must be no more than 18" above the gently sloping front yard to comply with the code.)

This series of outdoor rooms mirror the functional purposes we associate with interior spaces: a place to cook, a place to dine, a place to sit around the fire, a place with a view, a place with shelter.

Space is at a premium in urban areas like Seattle, and this project has been an amazing experiment in proving that even tiny lots can have great outdoor spaces.

Would You Like to Learn More About This Project?
Here’s the longer version of the story of how this yard came to be, and here is a closer look at some of the details that really help it shine.

Or, Curious About the Inside of This House?
The architecture and interior design that transformed the interior of this home is also a B&V project, the Seattle Box Remodel.

Lighting in the trees. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Perforated metal lanterns hang on wood fence. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Wood banquette at corner. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Paper lanterns hang in a tree over the driveway. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Wood slat fence over a concrete base. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Corten steel planters with a wood deck. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Paver details along a meandering garden path. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

A stone garden path with large accent boulders. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

A paver path cuts through the garden to the guest cottage. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Large planter on stairs steps up with each riser. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Garden path ends at a gate to the driveway. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

A gate at the both ends of the driveway means the car is hidden from view in the garden. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Grilling area with a work surface. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Front gate with cut steel pattern. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Cut steel pattern in front gate. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Ferns in garden. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Lush green ferns with natural pavers. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Maiden hair ferns. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Planters on the deck. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Lush green plants. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Leaves over wood deck background. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Fern fronds against a rock. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Bamboo along a fence. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Metal railing attaches to concrete wall. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Boys play on the deck by the fire pit. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Fence with horizontal wood planks wrapping corner. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Gas fire pit with seating. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Gas fire pit in yard with comfortable seating. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Outdoor living room. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Radial pattern in garden path. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Large outdoor couch and sitting area with fire pit. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Outdoor dining area with banquette seating. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Outdoor dining area viewed from above. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Outdoor breakfast nook off kitchen. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Wood banquette meets corten steel planter. – Urban Yard at The Seattle Box – Board & Vellum
Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

Urban Yard at the Seattle Box

Photo by Derek Reeves.

B&V Project Team
Jeff Pelletier, AIA, CPHCPrincipal

Notes & Credits
Concept design by Scot Eckley and Board & Vellum.
Planting and garden design by Withey Price.
General contracting by Manos Construction.
Custom entry gate, custom planters, and railings by Architectural Elements.
Driveway gates by Automated Gates & Equipment.
Lighting and irrigation by Soundview Landscape & Irrigation.
Photography by Derek Reeves.

Want to learn more?

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Portfolio

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