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Backyard Overhaul With New Landscape, Patio and Furniture

16 November 2010


Backyard Overhaul With 
New Landscape, Patio and Furniture
party highlight by Involving Color

Over this past year our back yard went from this:
Backyard Before
Back Yard Before
To this:
flagstone patio
Patio After
This:
Backyard Before
Back Yard Before
To this:
flagstone patio
Patio After
(We have also been hard at work on our front yard which I posted about here and here)
We knew when purchasing the house that we would have to invest time and money into fixing up the back yard. There was a stagnant pool of water under the low deck, which was a very happy breeding ground for mosquitoes, and it had a slight smell. The yard needed a lot of cleaning up and the deck was in poor condition.
We took the before pics during our home inspection. It was in much the same condition when we moved in.
The process kicked off in the summer of 2009 by having three trees removed from the yard. We risked foundation damage from the roots of one of the maples closest to the house, branches falling from a bradford pear that was next to the maple, and the third maple in the middle of the yard blocked too much light from entering our kitchen. We had a fourth maple removed from our front yard at the same time as these trees, also to allow more light to enter the house. We like a nice, bright house!
We met with lots of contractors to determine the best way to fix the water problem and repair or replace the deck. No two contractors had the same suggestions. Some said we could keep the deck, most said we should rip out the deck, some said we should build a retaining wall, others said no wall was needed, some said we should do a paver patio, some said we should do a concrete base patio, some said to do a french drain, others said not to.
Decisions decisions.
We talked to companies all through the summer of 2009 and still had not decided. This turned out to be a good move because we ended up talking to a contractor in the fall of 2009 that offered us a really good deal on a 400 sq. ft. flagstone patio with a concrete base plus a drainage system. The fall is their slow period, so they gave us a better deal than had we talked to them in the spring. Their solution included a drainage system which would use the patio as a way to collect the water coming down the hill and funnel it to drains which would then take the water through underground PVC pipes ending at the sidewalk in front of our house. We liked the mortared flagstone option because it is low maintenance and tends to last over time. We felt comfortable going with this company because they have a great reputation in our area, were licensed and insured, and offered a good warranty on the work. The plan was to have this company do the work in the fall of 2009, but then we got hit with unseasonably cold temperatures and early, heavy snowfall, so we ended up waiting until the spring so the ground could thaw out.
In April 2010 we were finally able to have the patio and drainage system installed. Before the work started, Marty and I were able to go out to their stone yard and pick the pallets of flagstone that we liked. We chose pallets that had a mix of blues and red-oranges. It took the contractors about a week to do everything which included tearing out our old deck, installing the drainage system, pouring a concrete base, and cutting, laying, and mortaring the flagstone.
Once the patio was in, Marty and I came up with a landscaping design to enclose the patio. We planted hydrangeas, azaleas, and Shenandoah grass. You might have noticed our azaleas have a few blooms. These are Encore azaleas and bloom twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. We were nearing the end of their blooming cycle when I took these pics.
encore azalea
Encore Azalea
Since we had those trees removed in 2009, we had huge bare patches of dirt in the yard, so a couple weeks ago we laid sod in those bare areas. We talked about seeding rather than sod, but since we are on a hill we were worried that the seed would just come running down the hill with the first rain. Plus, the instant gratification of sod is kind of nice! It turned out to be the perfect time to plant grass because we had a tropical depression hit us last week which resulted in lots and lots of rain. Good for the grass and good for our water bill.
flagstone patio
Patio After
Once the patio was done, we began the search for furniture. I hunted around for deals and ended up mixing and matching from Sears, Home Depot, Ballard Designs, and my favorite purchase – Restoration Hardware pillows that I got for $10 each! (posted about here)
Restoration Hardware Pillows
RH Pillows
Our goal in buying furniture was to get something low maintenance, comfortable, nice looking, and a good value. We like to hang out on the patio for long periods of time, so comfortable cushioned dining chairs were a must. We liked the mesh lounge chairs because they are easy to keep clean and are surprisingly comfortable.
sears garden oasis dining set
Dining Set
home depot martha stewart chaise lounge patio chairs
Lounge Chairs
Since we purchased the dining set, I think we have had dinner on the patio every nice evening possible. I wake up before Marty most weekends, and I have been enjoying my Saturday and Sunday morning latte and Google Reader blog fix out there. We have lots of other inhabitants that hang out with us, particularly in the mornings. There are tons of chipmunks, birds, rabbits, and even a couple groundhogs that run through our yard. Supposedly groundhogs are considered a nuisance (I think they are kind of cute!), but they don’t live in our yard, and by the time we say, “ooh look the groundhog!” he is off and running through another neighbor’s yard. We get the occasional deer, though I have never spotted one, but they did munch on our hydrangeas once.
It’s our little private oasis back there, and we are so happy with how it turned out!
flagstone patio
Patio After
The decor details:
Dining table and chairs- Garden Oasis sold at Sears
Lounge chairs – Martha Stewart from Home Depot
Umbrellas – Home Depot (not sure of the brand)
Faux stone umbrella stand/table – Ballard Designs
Lounge chair pillows – Restoration Hardware

8 comments:

Sherri November 16, 2010 at 12:39 PM  

Your transformation is awesome!! I love the stone you used in the patio! Everything looks so beautiful! Enjoy!!

jayayceeblog November 16, 2010 at 12:50 PM  

Wow, that is an amazing transformation. There is nothing better than a back yard you can "vacation" in. Beautifully done!

Brinkmeyer November 16, 2010 at 1:49 PM  

Wow! That looks amazing! I love the southwestern feel. It looks like a really relaxing space.

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