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The saga of a dumpy back yard – Part 1 – “Oof.. what a mess!”

This post will be the first in a series explaining the transformation of our back yard from complete dump.. to.. um.. something better than a dump but nothing fancy.  Paige and I have been working on transforming the yard for a little over 6 months (yeah I know.. we are slow) and the project has almost come to completion.

So here goes.. lets start out by describing the state of the yard when we began …

When Paige and I moved into our current home over 6  years ago we knew right away that the back yard needed attention. The previous owners of the home didn’t do much with the yard, but what they did do was done hastily and poorly.  There were quite a few things that were done in a “half assed” method, and there were things that you looked at and said to yourself  “what were they thinking?”.  (That being said, Paige and were were pretty grateful to even have a yard, even if it was pretty thrashed.)

One of the most prominent examples of “what were they thinking” was the retaining wall.  The retaining wall spanned the entire length of the backyard as well as the length of the side yard. The block structure of the wall was fine,  but the rock that the  previous owners placed onto the surface of the wall was a mess.  Rock was cemented to the wall in linear bands (instead of randomly placed in different sizes and positions) and was adhered to the wall without any adhesive added, which meant that the rocks would fall off easily. (if you even looked at them they would crumble).  They were going for an old school cobble stone type effect but what they ended up with was a “what kind of a drunken douchebag did this” effect.

There was also this funky “step” looking thing at the bottom of the wall that was primarily a cement blob with  rocks added. Oh yeah.. that wall was a beauty!

Although the rock install was about a 7.5 on the  WWTT scale (What Were They Thinking) , the mysterious masonry head embedded into the middle of the wall was a solid 9.0 on the WWTT scale.  The previous owners just kind of slapped it into the middle of the wall randomly. As a special bonus it was centered so that anyone inside our home would immediately see it when looking into the yard…. good times.

The side yard was also a dump. The previous owners just filled it with gravel and let weeds overtake it.. Yuck.

Speaking of the side yard… the fence along the side yard was completely thrashed. Literally 2 weeks after we moved into the house we had an insane wind event with wind speeds approaching 80 miles an hour.  Several of our neighbors had their windows blown in during this storm but we escaped with only fence damage. When I say fence damage I should really say comprehensive fence damage.  The fence along the entire length of our side yard was blown to the ground!  In true “Sanford and Son” fashion Paige and I propped the fence back up with two by fours for a “temporary” fix.  ( A temporary fix that lasted for several years).   Yeah I know.. pretty ghetto but it did the trick.

Oh yeah.. I almost forgot the fire pit. The previous homeowners built a crumbling rock firepit in the middle of the lawn and plumbed gas into the pit with rusty pipe that tapped into the side of the kitchen wall… smooth move! The idea was kind of cool but the execution was pathetic.

One more lovely bit of info to add… the previous owners had completely buried all of the drainage on our side the yard.  The drainage pipes had been filled with dirt and had been covered over in gravel and dirt. We of course were not aware of this until the first rain when our side yard filled with 5 or 6 inches of standing water and came less than 1/2 of and inch from flooding our entire bottom floor.

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