Another Garden Walk year has passed and this year was really something. The things people do with their backyards in this city are amazing and we got some really good ideas from some of the things we saw. I didn’t have the good camera, we are still waiting to get a new one since losing it but the old Nikon took some pretty decent pictures today.
Our 4th of July ended up being a a day of production instead of cooking out, shooting fireworks, or drinking heavily. I think we were both OK with that seeing as it was a mid week holiday and the day off from work wasn’t very satisfying. We have been working hard on the sun room and the back yard, both coming along nicely.
I’ve been laying pavers for a patio in the back which is pretty brutal when its 90 degrees. I have to admit, its exhausting, but I love it. The hard part will be the cutting once I start rounding it and doing curves. I could take the easy way out, but then we are left with a square patio that doesn’t look all that great. When it comes down to it, a square patio means that you didn’t want to go the extra mile to create something a little more appealing to the eyes. It will be challenging, but it should look awesome.
Once we had the sliding glass door installed and put up the wooden stairs, I laid down fresh soil and planted some shade grass. In just over a week, the grass had fully grown in and was bright green. It made a world of difference. Once more time went by and the grass got a little stronger, we started digging out the beds so that Nicole could spend the day planting and we could start to establish our gardens.
Its amazing the amount of work we have gotten done in just a few weeks with limited time to spend it. The backyard has become an obsession of mine now because it literally looked like a dump, and now its starting to show glimpses of what it could become. The sun room transformation has been great as well. Nicole’s eye for decorating is really something, its amazing what a few new things can do to a room.
This weekend was big in terms of production. Nicole and I set out to “start” the fence, but ended up going balls out and finished almost all of it. There is just a small section on the other side of the yard to complete but the majority, the large side, is now finished. We had never really done anything like this, so it was a totally fresh experience. I have to say, it went as smooth as it could have possibly gone. I started putting the posts in, while Nicole blasted the concrete blocks with a sledge hammer that were remaining from the original patio walkway that came with the house. It was super thick so this was the only way. The rest of the process was pretty easy. We didn’t have to use a post digger, home depot sells these 3 foot spikes that the beams set into and then you bolt them in place. They are heavy duty and sort of expensive, but they made things pretty easy and we only needed a few. We used 2×4’s to go across the fence. I saw a guy at Home Depot who was also getting fence supplies, he suggested using them over anything else for the strongest, best quality build. Putting the actual fence portion up was not really the challenging part. The hardest part was creating the gate door. I was able to YouTube a video that Lowes had created about how to build a gate. It gave me some really good pointers and suggested that you build the gate right onto the fence, then once its built, you saw off the extensions that were holding the gate to the fence. I still had some issues and needed to shave down the door a bit to get it to comfortably close. In the end, gate came out nice, and its super heavy. Phase 1 of our back yard transformation is now just about complete!
So if you have been reading my blog, you probably know from past posts, that our backyard is really awful. Its small, it doesn’t get much sun, and its unattractive and muddy. With all of those things going for us, it’s still our project for the summer and should make for a great before and after picture.
Nicole started finding pictures of small backyards online. Its amazing what people come up with for small spaces. Some of the pictures could possible be out of our range, maybe not, but we will easily be able to create something awesome. I think we are still going to shoot for a style similar to what we saw in San Francisco last summer, with some of the ideas that we have seen from these pictures.
Well, we had to start somewhere. We have big plans for our backyard this summer but right now it’s in awful shape. We have to change the pitch because the water currently rolls towards the house, and we are planning on fencing it in and covering it in old red brick.
Step #1: Remove the rusty yellow clothes line.
Simple enough right. Not exactly. I anticipated a concrete base buried in the dirt, but nothing like what we ended up pulling out. This baby was almost 3 feet long engulfed in a sloppy wet mush. It was awful. Nicole and I took turns digging around this massive pain in the ass, occasionally rocking it back and forth in hopes of loosening it. Eventually I ran out of patience and pulled down on the pole as hard as I could, and of course it bent. It seemed like it was going to be impossible for the two of us to remove this. So I thought to myself, “What would ‘Breaking Bad’s Heisenberg do?” That’s right, he would create a way to solve his problem using science! In my case, physics. I wedged some bricks under the bent pole and pulled down on the one end which lifted the massive concrete base. I had Nicole come over and stand on the end while I pulled it out of the hole using my legs so that I wouldn’t rupture my intestines. After about 2.5 hours, we got it out of the ground.
Next up is that gross shrub, although I’ll save that for next weekend as I am sure it will be equally as awful to remove.