Summertime and We've Been Living Too Easy

Tomorrow is the first day of summer and somehow my yard still looks like this:

Before: This deck could use some love
Before: A basic grassy yard
Before: the very back of the yard that faces the alley

Let’s all let out a collective, “Meehhhhhh...” (Or if you're from Manhattan, "Greeeeeen!") Good. Glad we got that out of our system. It's not Pinterest-worthy but I'm incredibly grateful to have a comfortable outdoor space I can call my own. And even more so because we've actually come a long way already...

When we moved in

Before: Back yard on move in day was all weeds

Eight months ago

Before: Backyard after digging up the concrete and weeds

We did a heckuva lotta weeding and we dug up the cracked concrete pathway (Eli did 99.999% of it and I did enough for this photo op):

Before: GIF of Chloe slamming concrete

That picture at the top of the post is lookin' pretty now. But if it's not good enough for Pinterest, it's not good enough for me! (I'm kidding) After spending the longest winter ever on snow arrest, I thought for sure E & I would leap into action with shovel and garden hoe in hand the moment the ground thawed. We had what seemed like an eternity to fantasize about all the spring projects we'd tackle and by this time our totally ’meh’ yard would be a tropical oasis for hosting the bomb-est summer soirees. Like so:

Big plans for the Little House's back yard include a pergola with retractable shade and a paver pathway

Tell me you wouldn’t love to eat shish kabobs and sip Mai Thais in that yard. You would.

And the back yard would look more like the sketch on the right, with the fence extended to the edge of our property line (currently collecting graffiti) and the steps you saw leading to the alley would instead lead to a private parking spot and trash can hiding area. The shed would hold our bikes and tools (so guests can rest easy without an army of power drills and saws staring at them):

Before: the back yard before getting fancy
Plans for the back yard include installing a paver path, creating a parking spot and building a tool shed.

Maybe right now you’re saying, “But Chloe, it was unrealistic to think you could make that huge transformation in one season!” And to that I would say — THANK YOU! (for cutting me slack) – but also, we coulda done it had E & I been home at the same time for more than a few days during the last three months. We were traveling like it was our job! (mostly, it was) Alas, we finally got the nerve to tell our schedules to Simma dow' now, and we're home for the foreseeable future. (So you burglars better scram!) 

Our to-do list is nothing to thumb your nose at. Luckily we missed all those 75-degree days with the gentle breezes and morning showers, so we can really relish working outside in the mega-heat, humidity and mosquitos.  Womp womp.

Backyard To-Do List

  • Tear up the cracked concrete pathway
  • Level the yard
  • Plant grass
  • Buy outdoor furniture
  • Stain the deck – we had to wait a year for the weather-treated wood to do its thang
  • Wash that mossiness off the fence and stain to match the deck
  • Build a pergola
  • Figure out how to make a retractable shade for said pergola
  • Replace light fixture for something more modern with a motion sensor
  • Paint the back door
  • Install paver pathway
  • Make flower beds
  • Build a vertical herb garden
  • Build or buy a cedar shed
  • Expand our outdoor sofa with additional sections (AKA stalk Craigslist for a mega deal)
  • Paint a mural and/or outdoor movie screen on my neighbor's cinder block wall (if he's OK with that, of course!!)
  • PHASE 2: Get a permit to do the construction necessary for a parking spot
  • PHASE 2: Remove the tree in the back (this was a really tough call)
  • PHASE 2: Get quotes and hire a contractor to dig out the parking spot
  • PHASE 2: Move fence to the back edge of our property line
  • PHASE 2: Build a shorter fence between the parking and the yard for safety (4 foot drop on the other side)

Did I miss anything? OH YEAH. Invite all our friends over for the bomb-est summer soiree! Think we can do it? What outdoor projects do y'all have going on? Please tell me I'm not the only one who missed prime-time gardening season.