Backyard Progress

And for a deviation from my most recent posts on mommyhood, here’s an update on our backyard!

For the past year and a half, we’ve wanted to do something with our backyard but haven’t gotten much further than the occasional weeding. Man, those weeds get OUT OF CONTROL quickly! People kept asking us, “Any progress in the backyard?” and unfortunately, we had nothing to report until now.

I honestly wasn’t that bothered by our backyard until we got our puppy Zoe. Now that Zoe’s here, I’m in the backyard multiple times a day to let her out to go to the bathroom and I had to face the reality of what our backyard looked like and it wasn’t pretty. We were already planning to replace our fence and work on the backyard this summer but being in the backyard every day really lit a fire under our toosh. Not to mention, we want it to be a fun play area for Zoe (and Claire! when she’s old enough) and it wasn’t so fun.

I can now proudly report that we have a new fence and it’s beautiful!! It feels like we have a real backyard now and I love how much more private it is. And, we finally have a new patio too. You have no idea how exciting this is to me. When the fence was finished, I squealed in excitement. No joke. Isn’t it amazing what you get excited about when you become a homeowner? My teenage self would have rolled my eyes at my reaction.

We have a very general plan for how we want our backyard to be but we’ll iron out the specifics as we go along. Right now, we are planning to have a table and grill on the main patio area. The circular area is going to have a firepit and chairs. At first, we were going to do a built-in firepit but then we decided it would be best to get a movable one so if we have parties (maybe Claire’s first birthday??), we can put the firepit away and add an extra table in that area for people to eat and relax. We’ll see! We also want a grassy area and some nice plants. CJ is also thinking about making the table for the back patio and I’m sooooo excited for that!! It’s going to be beautiful. That’s pretty much all we have planned for now.


Our very very rough idea of what we want. It’s not really to scale but you can tell that we have plenty of space to work with. Ignore the step, we decided against adding one as the new patio will be raised higher than the old one.

We did get a plan made by a landscape designer last year but it’s kind of gone out the window due to the drought. The plants in that design are not drought resistant and we’d rather not use much more water than we are right now.

Here are a few before and “current state” photos. I won’t say after since it’s a work in progress but holy moly is it a huge difference!!

Backyard August 9 2014


The concrete was ripped out and then they did the framing of the shape of the patio.

Backyard August 21 2014

We then had rebar laid inside of the framing.



And then the beautiful concrete was laid and stamped! The new patio is higher up which means there’s less of a drop from the back door onto the patio. It’s so much better for us and will be for little Claire when she starts walking. Zoe likes having less of a jump now too.


Backyard as of Sept 22

The above photo is what our backyard looked like today! What a world of difference a new fence and patio can make. You can’t tell from the photo but our backyard is sort of a u-shape (you can see that in the drawing I did above) so we have a lot more backyard to work with still.

We actually enjoy going in the backyard now though! And the new patio is so much bigger which makes the yard feel bigger because we can now take more advantage of the space we have.

Stay tuned for more updates! We’ll be taking the backyard in stages but we’ll keep you updated along the way.

Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is very important for a house. I loved watching that TV show when I was in high school. It was so fun to see the before and after and it was amazing to see how much of a difference some paint and landscaping could make. First impressions are everything, and we wanted to make sure that the first time people see our house, it’s something we can be proud of.

CJ has done an amazing job working on the yard over these past few months. We had a ton of weeds, unwanted bushes, extra bricks, and other items preventing our yard from looking as beautiful as it could be. Thankfully, he was able to get our front yard to a blank slate so we could hire a landscaper to install irrigation and plant sod.

What’s most surprising to me, when I look at the progress, is what the house looked like before we bought it. If you look our house up on Google maps, this is what you would see:


I can assure you, our house looks nothing like that today! It’s amazing how big of a difference repainting a house (done before it was put on the market), removing a million juniper bushes, and giving it the love and attention it needed can make. One of our neighbors told us the original owner used to be a “seaman” and, because he was gone for months on end, he wanted a yard that was really low maintenance. I can understand wanting a low maintenance yard but, if I were him, I would have chosen something that looked a little less out of control.

Our house looked like this when we bought it, a bit better but I’ve never been a fan of hedges. We have a ton of spiders so the most frustrating part was walking in between the hedges and into a dozen spiderwebs. Yuck. Plus, we had a ton of bark dust when we first bought the house but that was gone pretty quickly when the monster tree shed all its leaves and we tried to rake/blow away the leaves. That was one of the main reasons why we wanted grass – because we knew that would survive the constant raking of leaves that we will be doing each fall.


As I mentioned in a recent post, we had plans made up for our front and back yard. Once we knew what we wanted done, we called up a few landscapers in the area to get an estimate on how much it would cost to add the irrigation and the lawn. It’s amazing how much of a price difference there was! We ended up going with my parents gardener because he gave us a price that was hard to refuse and we knew we could trust him since he’s been working on my parent’s yard for over 10 years. Relationships are everything.

Our house before the irrigation and grass

Our house before the irrigation and grass

It took our gardener 3 days to do the whole job!

Tiny Tree

RIP Little Tree

Front Yard Under Construction

Our front yard under construction! Getting the irrigation installed.


Dirt dug for irrigation

It was pretty amazing that they could work so quickly and do such a high quality job. We can’t wait to plant the flowers and bushes which will really pull everything together. We’ll probably do that during the last week in August.

Our new front yard with the grass!

Our new front yard with the grass!

Our gardeners and CJ also removed some bushes on the left side of the house that were taking over the neighbor’s yard. Because it completely opened up the entrance to the backyard, CJ built a pretty snazzy makeshift fence. We’ll post on how he made it soon! It was his first woodworking project and we’re pretty proud of how it turned out.

For the full effect, here’s the before and after! Can you believe it’s the same house!?!? Just wait until we have the flowers and bushes!

Front yard before/after