Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Backyard Before and After

Brian and I decided to forgo the usual Christmas gift exchange, and to instead get each other something we both desperately wanted and needed: SOD.  Aren't we the most romantic couple ever?  #welcometohomeownership.

If you recall from our house tour, our backyard was a jungle when we moved in.  The house was a rental property for over 10 years, so the backyard was a no mow, no maintenance area, which is great for people with no animals or time to care for a yard, but not so great for us.

We started by removing the lower half of the deck and planter, which you can see in the top picture.  We kept the upper half of the deck for now so that we have some place to put our fire pit and outdoor furniture.  We also cleared out all the plants, weeds, roots, and leaves, transplanting some that we wanted to save, and trashing the rest.

After what felt like 400 bags of yard trash, we were left with this:

The yard looked so much larger now that it was open, and the space was instantly more useable and inviting.  As you can tell by the piles of wood and debris along the fence, we still had a lot of work to do before we were ready for sod.

Brian and I worked during our days off for the holidays, and after about a week of raking and leveling, we finally declared the preparation done.  We wanted to make sure that all the roots, weeds, and plant debris were clear before we laid our new sod to give the grass the best possible chance to establish and grow.  We also used the metal rake and "aerated" the soil ourselves so the new roots would have enough oxygen.  We're certainly not experts in the sod-laying industry, but we wanted to make sure our money didn't go to waste, so we followed every recommendation we found through research, which certainly takes more time and effort, but will hopefully pay off in the end.

After calling around and getting pricing from several companies, we hit the jackpot with a recommended company who not only offered the lowest prices, but could deliver the sod the next day.  24 hours later and we were ready for some sod laying.

It was not intentional, but I was in Tampa the day of the delivery, so Brian was on his own for this project.  He tried to stagger the pieces a bit so we wouldn't have grid-like seams, and after an almost full day of laying, we were about 90% done.  

On Saturday we laid the final pieces, and Mrs. H and I spread some mulch and set out some planters in the perimeter along the fence.

We don't have an irrigation system, and didn't think it would be worth the money because our yard is so small, so we are being diligent about turning the sprinkler on every morning for about 20 minutes or so.  We try to do as much as we can on our own, but neither of us feel confident enough to treat and protect our new investment from insects and diseases, so we've hired a company to fertilize and treat our lawn every other month, at least for the first year while it gets established.

This was only phase 1 of many in the backyard.  We still have plans to fill in the perimeter a bit more with some colorful plants, hang some fun colorful things along the fence, install a canopy over the deck, put a shed in the back corner in lieu of a garage, plant an herb and vegetable garden, install a stone walkway, and lay a decking for a grill area by the AC unit.  We still have so much we'd like to do, but for now we're just enjoying the new backyard.  It's such a drastic change from what we started with, right?

xoxo- L.o.L. :)


  1. What a huge difference!! Looks great!! I REALLY hope to see it in person this year! :)