Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain

BTO Service Yard (Part 1) – Windows & Grilles or Outdoor Blinds?

BTO service yard


Windows and Grilles


I wonder why HDB doesn’t install windows for BTO service yard. Wouldn’t the service yard feel naked? As a result, it’s common to find owners putting up windows and grilles at the service yard for these reasons:

  • Grilles provide additional space to hang your clothes or hang broom, mop and dustpan with hooks,
  • Prevent burglars from climbing in or children from climbing out,
  • Allow privacy and not peering eyes,
  • Prevent birds from flying in and out with your food or stuff,
  • Block the wind from blowing out your cooking fire, and
  • Block the rain from splashing in.
  • Almost everyone is installing them.

BTO Service Yard

Image credit: www.designsponge.com/2011/07/diy-project-faux-french-windows.html

I was also very set on doing windows and grilles for the service yard because of the above reasons. However, my husband and I mulled over it and in the end decided to install outdoor blinds instead. Here are our thoughts:

  • Windows Blockage: For some reason (prob HDB ruling), windows at most service yards are the sliding type.
    • Hence, even when windows are open, they will block a part of the retractable clothes rack from the sun and wind. I love to bake my clothes in hot sun.
    • Also, I am the lazy kind. So after a while, I would very likely just leave the windows open. That’s what happen to the ones at our rented place. 😛
    • Lastly, we have a nice view from our service yard, and so we didn’t want to block it.
  • Burglars? I don’t think HDB will design the service yard to be burglar friendly. From what I observed, there’s usually no ledge outside for the burglar to step on if he was to climb from the corridor to the service yard. And since we are going to stay at a relatively high floor, I don’t think a burglar would risk his life for HDB stuff. Even if he were to make it to the service yard, the bi-fold door to the kitchen might be locked.
  • Privacy? Our service yard doesn’t face the corridor or neighbouring block. Hence no issues.
  • Birds? Cooking fire? Close the bi-fold door and side windows that divide the service yard and kitchen. This will easily prevent strong winds or birds from entering  into the kitchen.
  • Rain? We can’t have the best of everything. I think balconies also experience the same rain problem, but you don’t see people putting windows and grilles to block their balcony view. And our service yard’s view is pretty good. 🙂 Thus, we reckon outdoor blinds will suffice to block off manageable rain and wind. And we will get a waterproof cover to protect the washing machine in case if there’s torrential rain/wind. For the clothes getting wet in torrential rain, it’s back to an old school problem of when we hang clothes out on bamboo poles.

Image credit: www.kahhuat.com.sg/products/blinds

  • Grilles: We realised that some units choose to install grilles and not windows. Grilles is a good idea if you have many stuff to hang or you’re really worried about burglars. This is an option for us, but since we are not likely to install grilles for the whole house, it doesn’t make economical sense to install just for the service yard. Also, without grilles, it will be easier to hang clothes without hindrance.
  • Children? We decided wait till the child is old enough to walk/crawl before considering installing grilles/windows. In the mean time, we get to enjoy the view, “lighten” our renovation cost and not risk the wear and tear of the grilles until we actually need them. So when the time comes, we will have brand new grilles instead of old ones. Then again, I grew up in a house with no window grilles.

Tip 1: If you’re really interested on the grilles, you’ll need to get an installation permit. Also, check the HDB guide for the types of grille patterns allowed, though limited. Here’s a useful reference: www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/living-in-an-hdb-flat/renovation/window-works

Tip 2: For some projects, HDB might allow you to install only grilles and not windows.


Outdoor Blinds


There are various kinds of blinds available, but the blinds for service yard should be able to withstand weather elements. There are not many user reviews or recent talk about blinds for service yard. From the little I gathered, for outdoor purposes, there is the option of bamboo blinds (pic below) and outdoor roller blinds (pic above).

Image credit: littlewinniesworld.blogspot.sg/2013/02/path-to-hdb-tai-tai-curtains-blinds

For now, we are more inclined to install outdoor roller blinds over the bamboo ones for our service yard. It’s aesthetically nicer and easier to roll up and down. Also, bamboo blinds doesn’t seem to last as long as roller blinds and seems harder to maintain and clean.

So what’s your decision? Or do you have experience to share about windows and grilles or blinds? Share with us in the comments section below. 🙂