The weather is starting to change. We’re starting to trade in our shorts and flip-flops for pants and shoes. And there have been talks of putting the heat on… As summer ends (well, I guess it technically ended a few weeks ago), I wanted to look back on our backyard progress. By no means is our backyard “done,” but it has significantly changed over the last two years.
We bought our home in the winter and weren’t able to see what the backyard truly looked like until the spring. And boy, were we ever in for a surprise when spring arrived. The flower beds were overrun with weeds, the grass was all patchy, and when we opened the pool we found this:
The liner was faded and splitting in spots, the coping was damaged and the cement surrounding it was cracking. As someone who gets overwhelmed easily (I’m working on it!), I was extremely overwhelmed by the work that needed to be done. But we broke down the backyard into projects; listing the things we wanted to accomplish each year. During the first summer here, we (I mean Tyler, my Dad and my brother) tore out all of the cement surrounding the pool.
We also tore apart the old pool ourselves… always trying to save a buck!
And Tyler’s stepdad Mark and Uncle Dave, who once had a landscaping company, came down from Brantford and with the help of our dads and brothers installed a beautiful grey stamped concrete pool deck. It really was a weekend filled of back-breaking work. I was too happy to be labelled “too weak” for the job and gladly spent the weekend serving water to the big, strong men!
Although there were talks of us refinishing the pool ourselves with Mark’s help, we decided to leave that job to the experts and hired a pool company to do the reno. And by the end of our first summer, our pool and pool deck had a brand new look.
I’m proud to say that I was the first one in our “new” pool, a victory us Dayus’ take much pride in. Ty and I were outside pulling weeds when I jumped in with all my clothes on to claim my title as first one in the pool. The water was freezing cold, but it was totally worth it. Here’s the video as proof. I know the sound quality of our iPhone video is terrible, but I believe I am singing “I’m the first one in the pool” while twirling around as Ty secretly records me!
It’s a good thing we gave Mark a rest and didn’t take him up on his generous offer to help us with the pool last year, as he undertook the huge task of redoing our deck this past summer. Last summer, Ty took a reciprocal saw to our painted red wood deck. And this summer Ty’s mom and Mark came down for the Canada Day long weekend to install our deck. Although I was away and missed all the action, I hear it was a rough weekend. They rented a bobcat to move thousand pound armour stone to surround the deck. Then they raised the rest of the deck to be level with the armour stone by filling it with gravel. The deck finished off with grey pavers and polymer sand.
Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? But to make the hard work even harder, it rained all weekend long. That means the bobcat was slowed down by the soft, wet, muddy grass. Our lawn looked like this by the end of the weekend:
Ty and his parents worked through the uncooperative weather and by the end of the weekend we had a beautiful deck. Also, by the end of the weekend, Mark proclaimed he is never building a deck again! Well, we are very grateful to have his “last” deck in our backyard. It is so lovely. I know I’ve said this before, but he really is one talented man!
We finished up our backyard projects this summer by hiring a company to sod our torn-up lawn (a process that took over a month because of all the rain this July). We also had a black aluminum fence installed on the side of the house. During the deck reno and grass installation, we got used to having our backyard opened and putting up a solid wood fence again seemed like a missed opportunity. The open fence makes our pie shaped lot look larger.
The last thing we did before calling it quits on the backyard for the year was line our fence with emerald cedars. Ty, our dads, and I spent the afternoon planting 29 trees. They are only four feet now but hopefully in a few years they will give us some privacy.
Looking back, our backyard has certainly come a long way. It still has a bit of a way to go: I’d love to do some landscaping next year (add a few gorgeous hydrangeas!), move the shed, and add a pergola over the deck with twinkle lights… But I’m far less overwhelmed and am trying to enjoy the process. The main thing I’ve learned from owning a home is that it is a process. That old saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” is so true. We all have a vision of what we want our homes to look like, but it takes time, money and work. I’m working on enjoying the in-between.
Oh, and another thing I’ve learned is to have lots of beer and pizza for the generous family who offer to lend a hand!