More House and Yard Updates!

Okay, the backyard isn’t finished yet, but it’s getting very, very close! And the master bedroom is finally cleared of boxes (mostly!). So it’s time for another house update! First, the master bedroom….

Remember when it looked like this?

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(No, that’s not our stuff. It was the previous owner’s.)

Now it looks like this:

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Don't read anything into the two beds. In our case, separate beds = happy couple who don't want to kill each other by morning!
Don’t read anything into the two beds. In our case, separate beds = happy couple who don’t want to kill each other by morning!

Sometime this week, it should also have a nice new ceiling fan/overhead light fixture, too. Which is good, because when it’s 100+ degrees, as it was last week, it is not a particularly pleasant room to sleep in!

And now onto the yard, which is my favorite part of the house! As you’ll recall, when I first saw the house, the yard looked like this:

The deck. The patio is just beyond it, but you can't see it through the leaves.
The deck. The patio is just beyond it, but you can’t see it through the leaves.
No sign of a patio under there, and you can barely see the wrought-iron fence in the back!
No sign of a patio under there, and you can barely see the wrought-iron fence in the back!

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Before: Impenetrable bramble in the backyard.
Before: Impenetrable bramble in the backyard.

Over the past eight weeks, we have done a lot of work out back! First we trimmed out as much of the overgrowth as we could on our own, and we ended up with a pile of trimmings the size of a Volkswagen Bug (not kidding!).

Then I pulled out the ivy that was covering about a quarter of the yard by hand (which was oddly therapeutic).

Then we hired a “tree climber” to take out eight “trees” that were actually overgrown shrubs that in some cases reached as high as twenty feet and in all cases were very poorly placed for their size. He also ground down a bunch of stumps for us.

Then we were left with a relatively clean slate, but so…many…roots! I can’t even begin to tell you how riddled this yard was with roots. Every place we tried to dig, there were more!

Chris managed to clear out a sizable area for a veggie garden, so we planted nineteen veggie plants and two small shrubs. Then we decided we’d put a very small lawn in the remaining quarter of the yard. Only we ran into a problem…

There was a 22-year-old sprinkler system, but it was a wreck. Roots had grown around the pipes and wrought havoc, and the original sprinkler system had very cheap, thin piping and was run underneath our deck and a concrete path! To fix the broken pipes, we would’ve had to break up the concrete and potentially pull up our deck. Not a good idea, we decided.

So we hired a landscaper to put in a new irrigation system, rototill the remaining quarter of the yard and deal with the nasty roots in that portion, lay sod, and remove the wiring from an outdoor lighting system that was never connected to anything and that was in rough shape.

That work was finished Saturday, so we spent Sunday digging out more roots (Chris’s job!) and spreading twenty bags of mulch (my job!). And now, we are left with this:

 

We'll fill in mulch around the tree when the chicken wire that's currently strung around the lawn comes down in two weeks.
We’ll fill in mulch around the tree when the chicken wire that’s currently strung around the lawn comes down in two weeks.

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Chris took out some agapanthus, and the tree climber removed a palm tree from here. Don't ask me why a palm tree was here--I don't think it was intentional. Anyway, we'll probably fill in with some flowers next spring, but at the moment, it has fresh mulch!
Chris took out some agapanthus, and the tree climber removed a palm tree from here. Don’t ask me why a palm tree was here–I don’t think it was intentional. Anyway, we’ll probably fill in with some flowers next spring, but at the moment, it has fresh mulch!

There’s still a bit more to be done, but it’s getting close! We need to fill in the mulch around the edges of the lawn after the chicken wire that’s surrounding it comes down. (At the moment, it keeps curious dogs and kids off the fledgling lawn.) And in the next few weeks, the new wrought-iron fence will be ready to go up. And eventually, we need to sand and repaint the deck. It will need replacing before too long, but the contractors we’ve spoken to think it has a few years of life left, so we’ll just give it a new coat of paint for now.

It’s so nice to have a backyard to play in again! In the evening, there’s a beautiful breeze and lots of shade. We’ve had some meals out there, and I dream of getting a little better outdoor-dining table when it’s in the budget. Sam likes to go sit out on the deck with snacks, and Chris and I sit out there and talk. It’s our own little slice of heaven!

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