Last April my husband and I moved into our new construction home. We were able to hand-pick our lot and customize many things about our house and it was a really fun (and sometimes stressful) process. Because we wanted to avoid the builder clear-cutting our lot we asked them to only clear the absolute minimum of our half acre lot that was necessary for building the house. We thought better to have too many trees left than not enough!! Oh if we had only known the work in store for us- you can see how close to the porch the tree line is in this picture (the cleared area in the background is our neighbor's yard.)
The house backs up to wetlands that will never be developed which I absolutely love, but I did not love the creatures of said wetlands being all up in my backyard. I have three little boys and the amount of snakes and other not so kid-friendly inhabitants made it a no-play zone at first.
The first step we had was clearing a lot of the brush and the trees that were not healthy. We rented some machinery and bought a chainsaw and my husband set to work. I thought I'd help but after the first snake sighting I thought I just better take the kids on inside and "supervise!" It was a crazy amount of work but my husband really came through and cleared out a lot of the junk. For the first time you could kindof see there was a yard there waiting to happen!
By July we were baking in the NC sun and decided to take the "plunge" (lol) and have a pool put in! It was a two month long process due to the weather not cooperating but it was completed in August and immediately afterwards we had a fence put up. We opted for a six foot wood privacy fence on the front and sides and black metal along the back to keep our wetlands view unobstructed. We also had the black fence put up around the pool area for obvious safety reasons. This was a huge leap for the yard-I could finally let the kids out to play without having to be right there with them which is HUGE for me getting things done on nice days! Unfortunately the heavy equipment used to put in the pool destroyed a lot of our side and backyards and the pool contractor did not do any grading around the pool leaving us with a bit of a weird situation in the surrounding areas.
As the weather cooled in the fall I seeded the yard with grass and hoped for the best! We also added in a tire swing and sandbox for the boys.
So that pretty much brings us up to this month. We had a lot of rain a few weeks ago and ended up with a large area of standing water in the backyard...perfect for 100 pound golden retrievers and little boys to romp in every. single. day. Yeah. No fun. We knew we needed to address that area of the yard and we were also left with this horribly graded clay area next to the pool that was way too hard to dig in let alone seed with grass. So two weeks ago we rented a rototiller and got to work!
We tilled the dirt by the pool and graded the area so that water would run away from the concrete surrounding the pool. We had to remove a lot of dirt to get the area level so that was all dumped over in the low lying areas. Then we moved our attention to the standing water. We dug a few trenches to let the water drain out of the yard (there is a very poorly graded drainage ditch just on the other side of our fence). Then we used the rototiller to till up a gardening area for me and grade some of the uneven areas of the yard that were causing the water to pool.
It was a big improvement! This past weekend we went even further though and ordered two pallets of sod, pallet of fill dirt, and rented a yard roller. Bright and early Saturday morning we laid sod in the area by the pool-what an instant gratification project!! Then we used the remainder of the sod to patch in the areas in the side yard that the construction equipment destroyed when building the pool.
Sunday was spent adding fill dirt to the low areas of the yard and rolling it to pack it. (I do admit that the kids and I got sick that day so really contributed nothing to this process-it was all my husband-I'm a lucky lady!) There are still some wet areas but the improvement is huge. We may need to add a little more dirt soon but unfortunately it looks like rain for the next week straight so I guess we'll see how the water drains and then decide.
We've come such a long way in the yard, it really is amazing to see the process laid out in pictures. Over the next few weeks I plan on adding a lot of finishing touches on the area:
-moving our current patio furniture to the pool area
-re-varnishing the patio furniture and covering the cushions and pillows in new material
-building an outdoor dining set for under the porch
-adding string lighting and possibly outdoor curtains to the patio
-purchasing a new grill
-building a barrier around the pool pump to hide it from view while still allowing access
-seeding more of the backyard and addressing weeds with out Homemade Weed Killer
Whew, it's a bit exhausting to list my to-do's but I'm excited to share some of those upcoming projects with you all!Hopefully I'll have some nice pretty "after" pictures in the next few weeks (and maybe the grass will even turn green soon!)
Have you started refreshing your outdoor areas yet this year? What's on your list?