Monday, May 11, 2015

Remodel Phase 523…The Backyard

The Back Yard. Even though not many months are spent outside in the Seattle area, when it is nice outside spaces are fully utilized and maximized. Our backyard used to be a super small concrete slab with an awkward tree in the middle of a too big lawn with a few steps up to an ugly eye sore of a chain link fence where we let our dog hang out during the day and we grew a little vegetable garden.

Before the remodel

All of this got tore up for the remodel. The slab and part of the lawn became our new bedroom and bathroom and the rest of the lower level became a big fat dusty and muddy uneven mess.

Beginning of construction

Foundation walls for the master bed and bath

The stairs up to the dog run were taken out, so it became difficult to even use the dog run and the garden space. Ok, yes this sounds slightly pathetic and you can call us lazy, but that big dirt ramp was a huge mental road block! Especially as I was 40 weeks pregnant and then with a little newborn!

Photo taken on a good day (a.k.a. not wet and rainy)

Making progress with laying some gravel
I think this ramp was a more permanent a whole year!

Total disaster zone! The temporary fence was a pathetic attempt to let the dog out without waking the baby.

Finally, we got our act together last spring and totally made our backyard functional again, all in a matter of two months! The hubster built and stained a deck, built a huge retaining wall with stairs (yeah! No more muddy hillside to the dog run!), chopped down a ton of old scraggly trees and bushes, chopped them into bark, spread the bark, and built a beautiful wood fence to enclose our entire backyard!

deck building...looks like he's loving it!
View of the progress from our new master bedroom

New stairs on a much more typical rainy Seattle day
new retaining wall since we had such a weird landscape leftover from the remodel

finishing the CMU retaining wall with a couple helpers

Deconstructing the old ugly chain link fence and taking down the super overgrown trees and bushes

The tree removal that caused an uproar with the neighbors! Oops!

The awesome new fence that my hubby knocked out in a long weekend!

Such progress! Now the kid and dog can roam the yard freely!

And finally tilling the old lawn to make way for the new 
 The deck is a huge improvement from the temporary ramp Phil had constructed from four or five two by fours out the back door for a full year or more. Now we just step out the back door and don't even need to jump down into dirt. It also allows us to use the French doors from our master bedroom. The fence finally allows Micah and Charlie to be let out the back door without a worry (ok, well that goes more for the dog than the toddler…)! The retaining wall and stairs created this separate, but cohesive sense to the yard. Before the dog run part used to feel way far away, but now that we have real stairs and the chain link is gone, it feels like it all goes together. The hike up the hill is no longer a hike. 

And the look with the seeded and grown out new lawn!

Got to enjoy the new lawn at Easter time this year
This summer we have big plans for our backyard. Susan has already started dialing in a garden along the perimeter of the grass. We want to do a shade garden in front of our bedroom window.  

Now for planting flowers in along the fence. Good thing we have free labor in this worker!

Now if we can just figure out where to put the fire pit now that the lawn is there...!

The two huge projects will be building the lower level of the deck and building a play structure for Micah. We also have plans to do some hardscape on the little patch of weeds by the garage for grilling and bar activity. The last undecided area is our fire pit. We are thinking about a built in propane pit that can sit right on the lower deck or be in a gravel area right next to the deck. These are the fun decisions! Do any of you have experience with DIY fire pits? Recommendations? Thoughts? Have you seen a space in your house or yard transform so drastically in a relatively short matter of time? I love before and after photos, so please share!

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