Friday, May 11, 2012

The Backyard Patio Project - Check!

I am so behind on my postings. But you will understand why when I announce..."We're Done! We're Done! The Patio Project is Done!"

It took two months, a lot of money, and about two weeks off work, but the patio project is done!  

Just to remind you, here is the before:

And now for the after:

We added all hardscape, to include a 1000 sq ft paver patio, retaining wall, and shredded Juniper and pea gravel boarder.

The steps (all 22 of them) are made of railroad ties we scored for $10/piece, inlayed in left over paver stones.

I was opposed to a retaining wall, but my husband talked me into it, and now I'm happy with it.  It gives the patio another dimension and also adds seating.

We made my son a sandbox to play in and then got the idea to make the cover out of plywood coated with chalkboard paint.  So whether it's open or closed, there's something fun to do!

I love these trees!  They were $89/piece, but they are pretty sun tolerant, drought resistant, yet able to handle the freezing nights here.
The dual-hardscape was achieved by staking down weed paper and creating a boarder with ceder slats ($3.49 for 10').  The cedar slats were staked into place, then the entire thing was backfilled with pea gravel and Juniper shavings.

Instead of traditional hard-wired lights, we opted to hang solar lanterns ($39 for 4) using plant hangers on the fence.

All the plants are fairly drought resistant, so we need very little water to make things bloom.  The downside is, most of these plants are nearly upgraded weeds, so they need to be cut back every year to prevent them from overtaking the yard.

Off the left, you can see my dog's pee pole, which we turned into a directional sting.  The big rectangular structure (also to the left)--an afterthought--has become a large fire pit.

I found this porch swing for $120 at Big Lots.  It doesn't match perfectly, but seriously, how cute, right?

The Firepit - So easy to make!

We decided to use pea gravel instead of bark to backfill the retaining wall.  I think it draws in the hillside and doesn't compete with the hardscape.

This will one day house crawling purple flowers.  I saw this on Pinterest, and it ends up looking like wine spilling out of the barrel.  The flowers are still seeding, but we found some beautiful perennials, so once they bloom, we will have the blooms year after year.  My husband had to install a mister in order to water these.

The stairs.  We are still backfilling the area with rocks, but they are a bit hard to find.

My husband made me this adorable herb garden.  Another idea from Pinterest.  Can't wait until it's done, because I love fresh herbs for cooking.


  1. This looks amazing! Now I know why I haven't seen you for weeks! And a trip to Cali in the middle of it all. I bet you guys are so excited to have it done, this is like an extension to your house. So excited for you, and can't wait to check it out. Wow!

  2. Amber, I am so jealous. I haven't been on your blog for so long. I don't even have an acceptable reason for my absence. That also might explain why my cullinary inspirations have diminished. Your project looks incredible. Good for you. Amber and hubby should come to Michigan to help us. Promise to be more attentive. Missed you. Caz

    1. Thanks Caz! I just realized I must upload new photos as the yard looks much better now that it is growing in! Best of luck with your projects and thanks for the shout out!

  3. Amber, you backyard it awesome! Everything is well put together and I love the sandbox with chalkboard area. Great job!