This summer we have worked on some temporary projects in our backyard. I say temporary because we have much bigger long term plans back there, but these smaller projects should satisfy us until we get all of our dollars saved up.
The biggest project that we knocked out (and by "we" I totally mean "Matt") is a small paver patio that we put in just past our brick patio. It's relatively small compared to most patios but it didn't feel small when we were manually loading up 80 pavers onto a cart at Home Depot, then into the truck bed, and then unloading them at home (again, that "we" totally means "Matt"). I wasn't able to take in-progress pictures because my job was to keep the two kids happy, so you'll have to talk to him if you want a tutorial. We did kill the grass and weeds in this corner ahead of time, then he did some leveling out and sand spreading before laying out the pavers. I really wanted to do a more intricate pattern but it would've required us to cut pavers and that just wasn't going to happen. He was nice enough to arrange them several different ways until I decided on a pattern I liked. The black edging helps hold the pavers in tight and the grass has already grown up to it so it's not so noticeable.. Then he used a sand specifically made for this kind of project to fill in the gaps - it hardened and dried after being misted with the water hose.
So what was the point of adding a patio off of a patio? Glad you asked. The sole purpose of this was so that we could finally move Matt's grill around to the backyard. For almost two years, it's sat in our garage and he's had to pull it out onto the driveway every time he wants to grill - something he loves to do. Putting it out here gives it a more permanent home and is closer to the kitchen for all his trips back and forth. As you can see from the picture below, we couldn't put it on the already existing patio because it's covered.
And now that the new (somewhat temporary) patio is done, I'm sure a new grill and grill cover are on Matt's Christmas list. :)
The next project on the list was one that I really wanted: some proper edging for my flower garden. The pictures below of Katie Wynn checking the tulips were taken last spring. You can see how there was no real defining edge between the flower bed and the grass. Well, unless you call the line of weeds and moss that grew there a defining edge...
So back to the store we went. We debated building up a wall or making a pathway, but we reminded ourselves that this wasn't a forever project. We grabbed enough to have two pavers the full length of the bed and arranged them with one standing up and one laying down, kinda creating an L shape.
I love the way it looks. I also love that the moss and weeds are mostly gone and the grass is growing right up to the edging. It just looks so much better!
I took all of these pictures a while back - maybe even a whole month ago? Here is how my zinnias looked then...
...and here are updated pictures that I took last night. We have so many blooms and they're so big! Seriously, if anyone local needs an arrangement, bring over a vase and fill it up. I have more than I can keep up with!
The final project for the patio is one that my mom did for us. She painted us two canvases to hang on the brick wall - one about Gardens and one that has Porch Rules. Perfect! While she did most of the grunt work, it did take us a while to get masonry nails and actually get them hung. Hammering into mortar is kinda nerve-racking!
Here's a panned out view of the patio. I wish I had thought to take an updated picture of this too because our flower pots are looking great!
Here's the current view of our backyard as we see it when we're sitting on the back patio (something we really enjoy doing when it's not miserably hot and the mosquitoes aren't out to get us so, you know, like twenty nights a year).
And here's the World's Worst Photoshop Rendering of what our backyard would look like in a perfect world if and when we can ever afford to do what we'd like to to it. We would extend the brick patio out further so that it matches the current one and we could add an outdoor table with the grill. The tree would have to go because we'd be putting in a custom pool (those blue squiggles are waves). And contrary to what this picture depicts, it would probably be bigger than the patio. The green blobs represent the landscaping we'd add around the pool and since we'd have to cut down one tree, we'd plant more along the fence for shade and added privacy. And yes, that tree on the far left is flipping you off.
Oh, and what's not pictured in the drawing is that the existing covered patio would be screened in. So long, pesky mosquitoes!
We have more big plans for the rest of the exterior of our house, but it'll be a while before we can check any of them off our list. Who knew brick and concrete could be so dang expensive!? For now, we're just gonna enjoy our nice little paver patio and perfectly edged flower bed. Nothing like a little sweat equity to make you appreciate it even more, right?