Friday, June 17, 2011

Backyard makeover (part 1)

We purchased our home two years ago and have made a lot of changes indoors and in the front yard.  The backyard however has been rather neglected.  Let me show you what I mean…

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Pictures 1 & 2 show you the area where the previous owners had a swing set and a sandbox. We have piled stone pavers in the sand box for now. Picture 3 is of a water fountain.  Picture 4 is of a sad overgrown weed patch in the back corner of the yard.  Picture 5 shows an area next to the house.  Picture 6 shows our side yard where we have killed all the weeds and need to add something nice to look at.  The grass is in pretty sad shape, but it will have to wait. 

We are starting on the areas shown in pictures 1 and 2.  We removed 3 trees from this area, removed some of the platform and acquired stone pavers from a neighbor who was taking them out of his yard.  Our children are all teenagers now, so we want an area that they can have friends over and “hang out”.  As a friend of mine said, “The backyard is growing up.”  We decided on a fire pit.  In our city, the fire code states that a fire pit must be 25 feet from a structure, up to 36 inches wide and have a water source close by.  We purchased a 36 inch fire ring from a local store and 28 retaining wall bricks to place around it.  We had to have one of our bricks cut to make them fit on the top row.  We dug down a little bit and lined the bottom with bricks so that we can use our dutch oven in that area as well. 

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Our friend was cutting our last brick with his tile saw when this picture was taken.  My son and his friends gave it a test run and had fun roasting marshmallows.  Tomorrow we are beginning the task of adding a layer of sand and then placing the pavers into this area.  It will be a lot of work, but we are excited to see the results.  Here are a few things we have learned so far…

1. Take a look at what you have and be creative in making the most of it.  This gravel area didn’t seem like it was of any use to us.  With a little creativity and a lot of hard work, it will be a nice gathering place for our family and friends.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask if someone is getting rid of a material you could use.  We saw the large pile of pavers and asked if they were going in or out.  The owner was happy to have us haul them off for him and we have free building materials.

3. Look for inspiration in the yards of your friends.  We have a friend who has a fire pit in their backyard.  It was nice to get some instructions from someone who has already completed a similar project.

4. Always check the city codes and zoning for your area.  By doing this, we knew where we could place our fire pit.

I will update with part 2 when we have finished this area.  Until then…

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  1. Very nice fire pit.
    I think you should take that brick fountain out. It is in a funny place. How about a boughten one in the square of dirt on the back of the house, with some nice flowers that grow well in the shade? Maybe a few fairies back there too.
    Do you still have the zip line?
    It was so fun playing badmitton in the backyard with the kids.
    By the way, I wonder where that boy in the black shirt, got all his curly hair from? I have a feeling he will have children someday with what he calls a big problem.
    Love you all and miss you. MOM

  2. I love how it turned out. I was just thinking that it would be fun to have a fire pit in the backyard. Well done-hope camp was fun!