Home Improvement,  Home Improvement Rambles

My Big Fat Backyard: Before & Plans (ORC Week 1)

After months of hard work, swearing, bruises, and a little bit (or a lot a bit) of crying, the inside of my house is finally presentable. After basically not letting anyone come over for the first 6 months of the year, David and I held a housewarming party and welcomed people into our home!

Yes, at last – the floor is installed, the walls are painted, and the ceiling fans are all finally on the ceiling and not the floor.

However, all of this inside work has given me the opportunity to sorely, and slightly intentionally, neglect my backyard. Don’t get me wrong – I love that I have such a huge space that Lola can run around in. But, sometimes the size of it is pretty daunting. I am also not much of a landscaper and have a pathetic green thumb, so for much of this summer the backyard has been nothing but overgrown grass.

Luckily, it’s that time of year again – time for the One Room Challenge!

One Room Challenge: My Big Fat Backyard - Goals & Garbage

If you recall, I participated in this challenge in the spring and transformed my Very Scary Sunroom. It was so challenging, but was just the push I needed to transform my incredibly depressing space. I have decided to join in again as a Fall Guest Participant, and I am excited for it to motivate me to shape up this space!

You might be thinking – hey wait a second. Does a backyard count as a room? Since it is usable space on my property, I am going to go ahead and say yes!

Also the extremely talented Brittany Merth did her backyard for the Spring ORC. It looked stunning and I totally look up to her. So if she says it’s okay – I am gonna say it’s okay! ­čśë

Below are my plans and some before photos. I can’t wait for this project and to bring you along on this journey. Stay tuned!

My Big Fat Backyard Plans:

  • Clean up my patio.
    I have a nice patio that was already here when I bought the house. However, it was covered in a thick layer of one million leaves. After our wet spring passed, I attempted to get rid of all of the leaves… But they left behind a nasty, dirt residue. Weeds are also poking through. I’d like to possibly power wash this area and Quickcrete what is needed.
  • Regrade my drive way.
    I don’t live out in the country, but for some reason a lot of people on my street have gravel driveways? Including me. I’d love to pour a driveway someday, but right now I do not have the $3K it’ll set me back. In the meantime, it is in desperate need of some new gravel.
  • Build a fire pit area.
    At the end of my drive way, there was once upon a time a garage. Sadly, it was beyond disrepair and the city required the seller tear it down before I could buy the house. Now I just have a driveway that leads to nothingness. I have zero intention of ever building a new garage here (instead, I eventually want to build a carport closer to my house). Rather than try and get rid of all of the gravel, I’d like to make into a social space.
  • Install some stepping stones.
    No one wants to walk barefoot over gravel! I’d like to lay some pavers along the regrade, to allow for easy walking.
  • Plant two or three trees.
    One of the saddest decisions I had to make when moving into my new home was to take down two huge trees. They were both beautiful, but also way too close to the house. So much so that the front yard tree had roots that grew into the foundation (which will be a repair for another day). What is weird is that my backyard is HUGE and the only two trees I had were close enough that if a storm knocked one down, it’d crush my entire 776 sq. foot house. So I vowed to plant some new trees in the fall (which is apparently when you are supposed to plant them) out in my backyard, faaaaaaar away from my roof and foundation.
  • Plant some perennials.
  • Make it all cute.
    Ideas: String up some lights? Build a table to sit by the fire pit? Create a bench out of cinder blocks? Hang up some cute pots? Gimme gimme gimme all your ideas.
  • Bonus: Build a box planter.┬á
    There’s a spot of just wood chips from where I took down one of the trees. I don’t think I will be able to reseed this for quite some time. Plus, David had mentioned he’d like to start growing some vegetables next year! I think this spot might be the perfect place for a box planter to start growing some veggies in the spring – I have also seen some really cool vertical planter inspiration!
  • Double Bonus: Paint the exterior window trim.
    The sun room backs up into the backyard, and it’s trim is peeling and looks terrible – plus is awful for the wood. I just got my gutters replaced, so I will see if this is financially viable for me right now!

Things I Will Probably Need:

  • Retaining Wall Blocks OR Assorted┬áLandscape Timber
  • Gravel Dust
  • Normal Gravel
  • Sand
  • Quickcrete Construction Adhesive
  • Trees (Any suggestions? I am thinking medium size… Dogwood? Red maple?)
  • Dog Friendly Perennials (Wildflowers?)
  • Gray Patio Stepping Stones
  • A Weed Wacker (No, I don’t have one…)
  • String Lights
  • String Light Poles
  • Various Assortment of Wood/Lumber for box planters
  • A Fire Pit
  • 2 Chairs

Before Photos:

(Photos all taken in an attempt to not show my home’s exterior… So sorry for the cropped pics ­čÖé )

One Room Challenge: My Big Fat Backyard - Goals & Garbage

One Room Challenge: My Big Fat Backyard - Goals & Garbage

One Room Challenge: My Big Fat Backyard - Goals & Garbage

One Room Challenge: My Big Fat Backyard - Goals & Garbage

One Room Challenge: My Big Fat Backyard - Goals & Garbage

One Room Challenge: My Big Fat Backyard - Goals & Garbage

One Room Challenge: My Big Fat Backyard - Goals & Garbage

Excited to have you along on this journey!


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