Backyard Transformation

When we first looked at our house, we loved the space in the backyard -- not huge by any means, but a decent size for SF, plus it's wide instead of narrow like many lots. It was mostly just concrete, some of it cracked and some trees and plants around the perimeter. It was also sloped a bit so not ideal for the boys. We knew it was going to be one of the first things we'd do on the house but when we met with landscapers, we were surprised that our two top choices both had a 3+ month waiting list. That actually worked out better, with all additional money we put into the house December-February, it was nice to stagger the payments a bit and start the backyard in mid-March.

I told Adam that we were throwing a party on April 18 (one week earlier than the actual party, just in case) and told us the job should take 4 weeks and starting on Tuesday March 17 and ending around the 10th of April. While we so desperately need rain, I was also hoping we wouldn't lose much time while they were working and while there were some drizzles here and there, nothing that prevented them from working. In the end, they 'finished' exactly 4 weeks later, though Adam came back several times over the next week to put finishing touches on it.

Then there was the project of the footprint stepping stones. I discussed this with him early on so I don't feel bad at all, but this turned into a bit of a headache. I've been taking the boys foot prints at 4 months, 12 months, 18 months and 2 years, just in a homemade salt dough. My idea was to set these in concrete stepping stones and make a little path, now adding to it each year with their new footprints. Sounds easy enough, but when I pulled out the footprints, they hadn't held up well. So I got clay so I could get the reverse imprint of the foot prints so I could use that then press into the wet cement. Adam didn't think that would work, so then I used those footprints to press into clay to make new prints that could be set in the stone. Unfortunately the clay was a bit finnacky and since I was in a hurry, I tried to speed of the drying in the oven. It worked on most, but some started discoloring which required heading out for more clay and repeating the process. Finally they looked good, Adam came back to set in the cement and everything turned out great. He laid them out and was supposed to come back to seat them put them in the ground. Not sure what happened, but the night before the party was supposed to be, it rained, all and but two of them (which were under a little table) got ruined. Ugh. I was annoyed to have to buy more clay and go through this process again and I know he was bothered too, but I couldn't feel bad. This was supposed to be done and this wasn't some project I added after the fact. Finally about six weeks after he originally finished, the stones for the path were finally set, sort of. They're not set as I had expected... which was to be set deeply in the ground, but I guess due to irrigation and the fact that in 4-6 months the greenery will be grown so much that you won't see the stones if they're flush with the ground, it's what we have to do if we want them. I'm still debating but I really like the idea of it.


The transformation was pretty impressive, everything moved very quickly and it's amazing how organized everything was. Demo day one, materials for the fence delivered day two, etc. It's too bad the footprint stepping stones had to drag out, but now everything's done and it feels so nice to enjoy it. Dave got himself a nice grill for his birthday and we've already loved grilling up burgers, ribs, fish, chicken, sausage and steaks (even if the weather isn't BBQ weather). The boys absolutely love the rock box and the space in general. We're thrilled!

BEFORE:



From the balcony, looking down to the left


From the balcony, looking down to the right

Day 1: Dropping off the big dumpster. Two of these were filled and carted off week 1.



Plan for the yard

Front yard trees being removed
 End of Week 1 (4 days in) -- concrete, plants and trees demoed and fence started




End of Week 2 - planters outlined and fence finished


End of Week 3: Building the bench, planters and laying the base for the patio

Loved watching all the deliveries



Especially the gravel and dirt delivery!



End of Week 4: Planting, laying the patio and turf





Last few days:




just need to spread the sand a bit

Before:

Looks pretty good from the listing photos!














After:









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