We are almost to the end of “The Summer We Tried to Break Dave”. We decided at the start of this summer (really late Spring) that we were going to attempt a major do-it-yourself backyard transformation. When I say DIY – I don’t mean build an outdoor sofa out of pallets or plant new vegetable beds. I mean rent a skid steer, buy 21 tons of decomposed granite and construct a curved rock wall. We’re maybe halfway done and FINALLY the yard is looking like a yard and we haven’t even put any plants in yet.
For a very long time our backyard looked dreadful. And when I say dreadful I mean that at first it looked like a new motor-cross course and then it looked like a used car lot. Right now it’s looking like a yard that is “coming along”! It’s something you could point to and say: “You see, it will look great someday,” and the person that you say this to won’t look at you like you’re insane. This is a big step.
I thought it would be fun to show you some photos of the progress. We have more to do, but at least we’re to the point where to an outsider, it looks like progress. Almost like when a pregnant woman starts to look clearly pregnant when prior to that she just looked heavy.
I started painting the gazebo a dark graphite color recently. I’m not finished, but at least it’s not completely “Park Ranger Brown” anymore. On the advice of a landscape architect friend who has been cheerleading, designing on the fly and coaching us through the painful backyard renovation (Hi Joyce!), we took out some railing and lattice on the old gazebo and will put in a new step. The gazebo is a strange shape and it’s positioned oddly. However, it shades our fish pond so we decided to keep it for now and just cover it with charcoal paint. I spray painted the metal glider a baby blue and I think I like it now. We strung up cafe lights on this upper area because I’m a big believer that string lights can make anything look good. We also re-sided just a portion of the house for reasons that I don’t remember. This is also something we haven’t finished; we’re waiting on special order long pieces. I’d like to order a new black and white striped awning for the house (it faces west) but I haven’t done that yet.
My landscape architect friend, who lives in Baltimore, will be out here in a few weeks for perennial plant purchasing and planting! We’re going all native and/or drought tolerant plants and I’m excited to add a little western flair to the yard with things like Rabbitbrush and Yucca. She would want me to tell you that this backyard is not exactly as she envisioned and that any mistakes are all ours. Trust me – they are plentiful. When she told us to lay the edging in a straight line and then saw our version of a straight line, she revised the plan to curves!
I’m looking forward to seeing it with plants. At the moment though, I’m just happy that it’s finally looking like a habitable space. I’m also encouraged that it will be below 90 degrees this weekend. If you’re struggling with your space not looking perfect immediately, I hope this post helps you. When you have a budget and you have to do it yourself, things take longer. It’s not worth killing yourself over – just enjoy your moments of accomplishment and try to forget your to do list. It’s there, it will wait for you.