Sunday, July 10, 2011

Inspired by Summer BBQs

The backyard is more than just a place to hold outdoor furniture. For us, it's the occasional office, dinner table, meeting place and tournament grounds. We love to entertain and during the summer, you'll find us in the backyard most days. Luckily for us, we moved into a house with a clean and green space to enjoy.


During one of our unusual California rain storms this year, the fence between our house and that of our neighbor's took a nasty fall. Along with our neighbor, we decided to replace the fence and also remove our non-working, gas-powered hot tub (que disco music).



These two small steps energized our backyard renovation and we began the process of our first home renovation ... pray for us!

First to go was the "boardwalk", a cute deck that helped men with gold chains and women with blue eyeliner pop in and out of that hot tub. Although we didn't use it for hot tubbing, it was convenient for an extra food table. Once J removed this relic, we posted the free wood on craigslist and gave most of the material away to someone building a tree house for his kids (more on that later).





The second project brought us to our knees, literally. On a sunny Saturday, we pulled out all of the ivy around the parameter of the yard and brought down the struggling trees. When finished, we had a very large pile of green. Unfortunately, this material doesn't sell so easily on craigslist. We paid a tree service to remove the tree stumps and have the pile of leaves and branches taken away.



Our final DIY project did not include me, whatsoever. The thick concrete slab needed a lot of strength, patience and borrowed tools. So I sat back on this one and let J take control and he did a fabulous job!!



From here we needed professional help. According to the inspection report when we purchased the house just over one year ago, the backyard needed to be regraded so that water flows away from the house. J did a heavy load of research and found someone that was 1) financially reasonable, 2) fast and 3) experienced. Within 48 hours, the crew had started on our backyard.

One of my requests was to reuse some of the broken up concrete by creating a garden box on the side of the house and a circular area behind the house where the shade from the large tree isn't very inviting for grass.


With a clean slate, the work took nine days.





This moss rock wall reminds me of material you might find in an old English estate, and the replacement tree makes me feel better about the massacre that we were responsible for with the elimination of so many trees from our backyard.


We really wanted a circular design somewhere so that we can eventually enjoy a firepit when the temperature drops.




And the yard is still a nice distance to enjoy a round of cornhole on the grass.


Now we have an incredibly enjoyable backyard to invite family and friends over for BBQs, a glass of wine and to write my blog entries!