Remember how I told you there’s be a lot more messy reality around here? Well, here’s one of our biggest messes.
When we were house hunting, we really wanted a home with a yard. In this land of urban sprawl, that’s harder to come by than you might think. Newer houses practically spoon each other! We knew we wanted space for our kids to run and play, space for a garden, and space to entertain. While it’s not a massive amount, our house definitely has enough space for all those things. And that’s all we wanted.
The problem is that we haven’t used it the way we wanted to. Our back yard has looked approximately like this for the last two and a half years. (Cue embarrassing photo dump. I moved/cleaned/retouched nothing when taking these. Don’t judge us too harshly.)
Let’s start on the patio. It’s big! It’s covered! It’s a disaster!
And yes, our Christmas tree is still out there. Our chest freezer needs a permanent home–maybe in the garage–and we need to get rid of all those empty boxes. The previous owners had a large dog (you may remember the stained carpet in the master bedroom?) so the walls are filthy where the beast rubbed up against them. There is one harsh light and that’s it. Spiderwebs cover our windows and a hornet is building a nest on the sliding door to the master bedroom. I’m not proud of any of it. Looking from the house out to the yard isn’t much prettier.
It’s just a cheap builder’s grade patio. Those pillars make me nervous, since the bottoms are starting to deteriorate. David doesn’t like that we can see into our neighbor’s house (and, he assumes, they can see into ours) so he tacked up those lovely blue things. And any time the ground gets wet, someone slips and falls. It needs work.
If you turn right from the patio you see this:
There’s a lot of entertaining potential here that we’re not taking advantage of. Doesn’t help that the cabinet is in terrible shape–the doors are crooked and falling off–and we have no grill. (We did once. It’s still a source of contention in our marriage. I don’t want to talk about it.) Along that same side wall we have our new sandbox:
David still has some work to do, but it’s already a happy place for the girls to play…if the neighbor’s cat would stop pooping in it. We’ll talk more about the sandbox another day. This is also where we put our original garden which did not end well. This corner is where we moved the garden, with a little more success.
Those piles of dirt are from where the sandbox is now. We have plans for them. For now, they sit. David used the frame from one garden box to frame out the cement for the sandbox, so that’s what happened there. The big tree is fantastic, although it could stand to be pruned, but the oleander has to go. 1) It’s poisonous and I know my kids will try to eat it because they try to eat everything. 2) I’m allergic to oleanders. Ugh.
The other corner on this side looks like this:
We feel pretty lucky to have that big shed to store yard maintenance equipment and all kinds of other things too. We also feel lucky to have a decent sprinkler system that only needed a few tweaks to be functional (and on a timer!) after we moved in. This patch of grass is where we put the kiddie pool in the summer and sprawl on a blanket to read in the spring. Before the sandbox, it was probably the most used bit of the yard.
Just for perspective, here are two more shots:
The yard is narrow but quite long.
It’s just not being used very well. AT ALL. We want to change that.
We’ve been looking at a lot in inspiration photos on Pinterest, taking measurements, and making, discussing, and revising plans to maximize all this space that we are so happy to have. We’ll be sharing some of our ideas and our thought process with you soon. Until then, maybe you have some suggestions of your own.
What would you do with this wide, boring yard? Maybe more helpful, what do you have going on in your own yard and you’re happy with? We’d love to get some outside opinions!