The Yard Again

So as the lack of a follow-up post to The Before and After – Yard should signal I did not finish, or even get close to completing the project. Our lack of planning crept through the summer and eventually we gave up putting it off for another year.  This year would be different. So with the help of some very talented friends and family, yes one happens to be a Master Gardner, and the fact that I finally acquiesced that I may not be able to install a sprinkler system myself, we have made progress.

I found myself not realizing the details in the planning of a yard, where would we like all the hose bibs to go, which way the garden beds should be placed to maximize the sun, did we need electrical run to any part of the yard, stepping stone, how mush border did we want along the fence and house and so forth and so on. It was all things I never considered, my yard growing up was a huge rectangle with a garden along the back and some fruit trees we planted. I don’t recall there being sketches or a discussion of the drip system for the plants, so I was taken back by my lack of planning for this endeavor.

While we have made some quick decisions and are still making some I think it is coming along nicely.



This is the yard when we purchased the home. The Astroturf was put there as a selling feature, its true purpose was to keep all the weeds as bay. We have since removed the deck off the house, taken out a few of the fruit trees, and replaced the patio. DSC_0391

The back corner of the yard


Step one was removing the weeds.

More weeds to remove. It was amazing just having a uniform yard, even if it was just dirt, made it seem so much bigger. DSC_0047_2

We marked the start of the garden beds.

On the side yard, by the garden, we decided on bark. I will pause here so everyone can appreciate the bark. The bark conversation, all on my husband’s side, was an epic conversation so I want to make sure it gets the appreciation it deserves. DSC_0053_2


The sod has gone down and we are hopeful it makes it. Next steps garden and planting!


Before and After – Yard

So after all the work and the clouds of dust finally settled over everything we owned. We have a new patio and driveway. They are both lovely and completely level. And better yet they are done in just enough time for the kick off of summer and a huge party.

The downside of the project is we had the driveway and patio done, not the landscaping and completion of the yard. So we are now faced with the somewhat uphill battle of the remainder of the back. The Monet lawn we had going, comprised of some grass but a lot of weeds that from far away when mowed looked like a lawn have all but been killed off by the countless wheel barrel trips and heavy machinery. So more to come on that.

Here are the before and after pictures. I love how it all turned out.



Things I learned this week

The patio/driveway replacement is in full swing now. I am happy to report it is moving faster than expected, which is so exciting. I have learned a few more things this week.

  1. There is a lot of dust generated by this type of work.
  2. We have several different type of pipes in our yard: Sprinkler pipes to non-working sprinklers, drip irrigation tubes that went to old fountains, pipes that lead no where and just end, and the best ones are the pipes that just disappear into another part of the yard. A mystery for a later time. I wish I had more pictures of the backyard pipes but demo went fast.IMG_4465
  3. Did I mention that everything was covered in dust.
  4. I now know how to shut down the water for our house.
  5. It takes my father in law 7 minutes to get to my house when I call in a panic, see #4.
  6. Expect the unexpected at our house. Although, a lesson I learned when we renovated the house I was gently reminded by that around 2 yesterday afternoon.
  7. There is 20 tons of material coming out and going in for the project.

Here is the stone we picked, Belgard Positano. I love the colors and texture to them. Can’t wait to share the finished product.



Let’s get started

So we have had weeks of no activity on the house and then all of a sudden last week we took a huge step forward. I have discovered although my education was amazing what I should have gone into was masonry. Because as someone who has never had to replace a driveway or patio, I found myself saying things like, “How much could this cost?” The answer was not what I had expected to say the least. But as you can see from the pictures the driveway had become a hazard and the backyard is cracking apart, so we need to do something. And as I was told by everyone who came to give us a quote, “It really adds value to your home.” So I am repeating that mantra to myself as we start Demo Day.


So we spent this weekend ‘cleaning’ up the yard and putting things aside to start demo today. I am both excited at the prospect of a yard and driveway that I can walk on without tripping and scared of what we will find. Since we are only 30 minutes in and have already found a problem I am sure it will be an interesting few weeks.


Of Course

Weeks and weeks ago I planted bulbs in the front. It was going to be a kick off to the new yard. After weeks and weeks, nothing. Not a single one of them sprouted. So I gave up and  broke down and went to buy some plants.

So I rolled up my sleeves to finally get the front yard going. But of course I found this.


And of course not just one but 4 of the 5 bulbs I had planted.

So now we have a bit of a mixed bag in the front but hey it is something. Onto the next thing.


Little Progress – Yard Update

My husband keeps having to remind me that we are making some progress. For me the emphasis is on the “some”. Apparently, I am not independently wealthy nor is the yard my full time job so I have to take baby steps with this one.

One big win was the project that not one wanted to do. It has been on a to do list for let’s see, 2 YEARS! We have a crawl space under the back of our house where I am 100% sure the rats from NIMH are living. There was a very poorly done cover on it when we bought the house and we should have replaced it then. But, we didn’t have a saw, it was raining, we had a baby, you name it. But this weekend we borrowed a saw and cut a new door. Excuse the paint job as we just wanted to get it sealed before it rained agin which it did that day. I am sure in two more years I will paint it for real. So now NIMH will have to do their experiements under the house.


I marked the yard for the raised beds we are going to put in and the shade garden on the side of the house.

Ironically, for the pictures the garden is in the shade and the shade garden is in full sun. Might have to rethink the locations.

And out of shear frustration I dug one of the bulbs up in the front yard. It has new growth on  it so I replanted it. Note to self next time just buy the plants.

Yard Update

The back and front yard projects have been put on rain delay.


  • The bulbs that we planted in the front have yet to even sprout.
  • We managed to fill in the holes in the backyard  that were created when we removed the deck off the back of the house. My daughter, while my husband filled in the holes, managed to plant giant sunflower seeds in the holes.
  • The sunflowers, of course, are now sprouting and will be 7 feet tall shortly.

Hopefully this weekend we can get back out and start some of the projects.

Backyard – Starting Point

The Backyard is overwhelming. I am just going to start there. I had a cold dose of reality this weekend that we are looking at a multi-year project to get where we really want to be. We are very lucky to have an amazing friend who not only makes the most amazing salad and gives the best hugs but also happens to be a master gardener. She came over this weekend to help us build a plan of attack, provide suggestions on everything yard related and provide real encouragement. We now have an amazing starting point.

But to know where we are going I thought I would show you where we are starting.

The theme of the yard was sheds, fountains, astro turf, trees and stuff.

When we bought the house there was a small strip of cheap turf laid over bark which was added as a selling feature.


Sheds, sheds and more sheds.

Plus, our trees are an amazing fruit called Green Sicilian Nectarines. Minus is that ALL the trees are the same. We had 5 of the same tree in the yard.

The stuff speaks for itself. We have since cleared out quite a few things

We have since cleared quite a few things out. Here is where we are starting from. from far away it almost looks like all the random grasses and weeds make a lawn.

Front Yard – Project One

The thought of all the work that will be going into the front and backyard is overwhelming so I thought it best to start with a small project. A quick win would be just what we needed to spur us onto the larger projects to come.
In a discussion with my husband it turns out we both hated the ‘bush plant things’ in the front yard. So why not start there? We started with cutting down the smaller of the plants but were quickly derailed but what can only be described as THE WORLDS BIGGEST SPIDER. My husband thought it best to try and get it off the wall it had clearly claimed as its own so we could continue to work but after the spider reared at us we said fair is fair and moved, temporarily, onto the other side of the bed.

The good thing is that most of the plants were mostly dead so they came out easily. The bad thing is that the roots are prolific and put up a fight.

Our yard gets a ton of sun so we looked for something that could tolerate full sun. So bulbs are planted but it is yet to be seen if they will “impress family and friends.” One project down.