Our poor yard is in need of major curb appeal and we are going to attempt this on our own. Don’t get any ideas, Mike and I will NOT be the next ‘Do It Yourself’ couple however, after dealing with a year-long renovation involving way too many incompetent hired contractors, we’ve decided to try this ourselves – hey, we may be as incompetent, but at least we’re free!
We have big plans, and by stating this ‘publicly’ there is now more pressure to follow through. Because these plans are SO BIG, I will focus on the backyard first. Most of this process will be trial and error, so it’s better to start in the back. Plus, barbeque season is fast-approaching and we need to get on this ASAP.
Here’s a bit of history… We moved in five years ago and since then, our backyard has been through a lot.
YEAR 1: When we arrived it was winter and things didn’t look too bad. The yard was 80% fenced in, however all of the sides were mismatched, rusted, chipped and in need of desperate repair. When spring arrived and the snow melted, we quickly discovered a lot of the trees were unhealthy and shading too much of the yard and house. This being said, we held off on any major work for the year.
YEAR 2: David was born and mother-paranoia kicked in. Even though he couldn’t even crawl, I convinced Mike we needed to be fully fenced in. We removed most of the trees to make space for our own fence and were smart enough to hire professionals to get it done.
YEAR 3: We decided to build a shed. It quickly became apparent that we needed outdoor storage for bikes and garden supplies. It still remains a household debate on who came up with the amazing design, however Mike gets all the props for construction. He also added windows to the design after a late-night score from the neighbour’s garbage pile (they were formally fridge shelves). The summer was also spent adding a few flower beds and a raised vegetable garden.
YEAR 4: Renovations started and we lost our backyard for the year.
YEAR 5: Our yard is now ready for some serious TLC. Game on.
Long term… Yes please.
The thing about being an urban dweller is, regardless of how much you love your neighbours; it is still nice to have a bit of privacy. With this in mind, we decided to have the contractors build a small deck off the back, wide enough for garden doors with a wrap-around staircase. Our intention being, we’d eat and lounge at ground level. Our back yard is spacious enough, and with lots of public parks close by, there is less need for full grassage (is this a word, spell check seems to think so). Plus, less grass means less mowing so we are going to create a stone patio that will come out 4 feet from the stairs and run the full width of the yard. This will give us a great space for a dining set and the barbeque. Mike is then stepping it up a notch and planning a stone barbeque built-in. He figures it will look great, plus we can connect the barbeque directly to our propane tank.
We selected a grey flagstone and have begun digging. First, we need to go down to a depth of 6-12″. Then, smooth and even out the grade with a landscaping rake. After that, further level and compact the surface then add and tamp 1″ layers of gravel until there is a firm 3″ thick compacted gravel base. Easy right? After all of this, the stones goes down and the joints are filled.
Once the backyard is done, the side walkway and front will be tackled. We have plans for that too, not to mention a bit of painting so hopefully this all comes together in time for a late fall / dead of winter / outdoor party! –xo-meg
Image 1: http://parkdaleave.blogspot.ca/search?updated-max=2011-07-04T19:55:00-04:00&max-results=3
Image 2: http://www.remodelista.com/posts/outdoors-townhouse-garden-round-up
Image 3: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/–E0ccNA9vUA/TwoLTY9dggI/AAAAAAAAOCs/wLokplYucYg/s1600/image_thumb%5B7%5D.jpg.jpg