Sunday, January 29, 2012

How I Plan to Improve My Backyard

As those of you who have been following me for a while know, I have a love-hate relationship with our yard. I have plans to change this to a LOVE relationship.

We decided when we first moved to not do anything with the yard in order to see what all came up and how everything turned out. That worked pretty since the previous owner did a great job of selecting flowers that bloom all Spring through Fall. It also made me realize that gardening and yards are a lot of time, work and energy.

This biggest things I don't like about the yard:
-Not enough grass
-The deck needs to be replaced
-Too many stupid plants

Here is a relatively accurate drawing of the backyard. I was awake at 7:00am yesterday thinking about the yard and so I went outside and measured everything. I was quite productive for that early and being only 18 degrees out!

This last week I have especially had the yard on my mind. I think I am just so ready to be done with Winter and when I think of Summer I think of getting to sit of my deck and enjoy the afternoons and evenings. Dylan and I have had a couple discussions on what we might want to do.

I also spent some time this last week working on my Outdoor Life board on Pinterest.

Here is some of my favorite inspiration:

All of my searching made me really want a nice clean lawn, a beautiful deck and a nice, cozy fireplace so I can enjoy my yard for a longer period.

Here is what I came up with:


Main dreams for the deck:
-I want it to be composite deck material.
-I need a place for people to sit and chat when we have groups over and a place for Dylan and I to cuddle on warm quiet evenings.
-I would love to have a built in grill. That would really allow for more space for preparation and serving and look really nice.
-I want the stairs to go the other direction, down onto the patio, so that we can easily transport food from the deck to the patio, where the table is.

What I have changed to our yard to incorporate my dreams :
-Built if of composite material so that it is easier to maintain
-Made the deck larger to accommodate a little larger sitting area and the built in grill/kitchen.
-I added a built in sectional couch to accommodate more people.
-The built in kitchen is right by the door to the kitchen to make it easy to use, but with enough space to easily walk.
-The stairs would go right to the end of the patio so you can step down to go eat, sit by the fire or the kids/dogs can go down to go play in the yard easily.


Main dreams for the patio:
-I didn't really realize I wanted a fire place until I started looking for inspiration. Dylan has previously talked about adding a brick oven for pizza/cooking.
-Do something with the "lower concrete" space
-Add a new/larger table

What I have changed to our yard to incorporate my dreams:
-Added a fireplace to the far right. This will allow people to move their chairs over to be closer if needed. It also makes a clean divider from the path alongside the house.
-New outdoor dining set made of stone tiles (the only kind of outdoor table Dylan and I agree on) that seats six people (in case my sister is ever in town and her and my parents come over)
-It's not in the drawing, but we are thinking of adding a built in shelf/table above the "lower concrete" that would be used to help serve food or could be used to help with gardening stuff.


Main dreams for the garden:
-Mainly to be able to use it. Right now the dogs would dig it up.

What I have changed to our yard to incorporate our dreams ("Our" because I have no desire to garden!):
-Build a fence around the garden. I initially envisioned white picket style, but maybe just brown. It would be about 3 feet from the garden box.
-Dylan wants more plants so I would add flower boxes around the fence for him to plant flowers or herbs.


Main dreams for the grass:
-More of it!
-Less lumpy, more level

What I have changed to our yard to incorporate my dreams:
-I have taken out the rocks on the right side of the yard as well as the plants and the two flower/plant gardens by the garden and the tree
-By changing the deck we will also have more grass space available since the stairs will be moved (even with expanding the deck, we still gain about 4' on that left side.
-In terms of lumps, leveling... Dylan would like it more level. I think that our yard is too small to be much of a sports field for our kids or to have a play set, so I don't think it matters too much. We'll see on this one.

That is the plan! As to when the plan will take effect... I know we will add the fence to the garden and take out the rocks and add more grass to that side this year. The deck will be the biggest ticket item, but that will not happen this year for sure (unless I win the $5,000 Home Depot survey that you get on your receipt, lol).

I feel excited to have a plan for the back yard! I am sure it will change before I even get to all of it, but I am glad I gathered such great ideas together!


  1. I love your ideas. We have a huge back porch with a fireplace (and a tv over it for my hubby), but I want to expand and put a raised patio at the base of it and get our grill and smoker out there. I love the built in grill, but we could either have paid $thousands or accepted a nice $900 grill for free from my husband's company... so next house. I can't wait to see some befores and afters as well as progress pictures!

    1. Certainly can't argue with a free grill! Ours was free as well from my Grandpa, but not quite as fancy as we would like. I never thought about putting a TV out there, but our yard isn't quite that big and no need to encourage my husband to watch more TV. Thanks for the comment!


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