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Well, I haven’t been updating the blog at all lately.  So much is going on at our house with getting settled in, and there’s just not enough time to document anything.

But I wanted to share one thing that I just did this afternoon.  Our yard is a mess right now – mostly weeds and not much else.  But Bryan and I have talked about our ideas, and we have big plans for ultimately creating an awesome outdoor living space/yard.

We bought a living social deal for a one hour consultation/design plan/estimate with a garden company, and they are going to come out next Tuesday.  So in preparation for this meeting, I wanted to have a print-out of our initial thoughts and desires so that we have some place to start from, and then I figure the expert person can tell us if what we’re planning is realistic or not, and what the best types of plants/trees/etc. would be for the various places around our house.  Also, I will be curious to see a break-down of estimated costs for how much they would charge to do all this, so that we can compare estimates to doing things ourselves as well as with other companies.

So here’s the initial design plan I created using this website where I just used the free trial version.

Obviously it’s not at all to scale, I just sort of made things approximately how big I thought they were/would be in real life, but I’m sure in some areas I’m probably way off.

So here are the things that we’d like to do with our yard:

Phase One:

  • Plant grass – this is numero uno on the to do list.  Weeds do not look nearly as pretty as real grass and everything else can wait.

Phase Two:

  • Mulch and replant the entryway area.  Right now there is a very sad attempt at some shrubbery and stuff going on around our front walkway and front porch, but it looks terrible, and really needs to be redone.
  • Mulch around the one existing tree, which is the one next to our mailbox in front of the sidewalk.
  • Mulch around mailbox and plant some stuff there.

Phase Three:

  • Plant rows of spruce trees along either side of our property to provide privacy from neighbor’s yards.  Here’s an example of how that might look.

Phase Four:

  • Create patio/deck.  Get quotes from a variety of sources for how much and advice on logistics for this.  Since we have a small existing patio outside our sun room right now (not a deck), I thought maybe it might be easier to have a larger patio made of stone or brick or something nicer looking, and then have a few steps leading up to the deck.  My reasoning for this is that I don’t want to have to walk out the door of our house and immediately climb steps up onto a deck.  I’d rather be able to step straight out onto the patio, like we do now, and have a nice large living space on that level – where we can put the grill – and then have a few steps up to the nice large deck.
  • We would like to have the deck extend out over the drop-off area behind our house.  Here’s the illustration again so you can see:

  • In the illustration above you can see at the top of it is where I have the deck extending over a darker green area with fruit trees – this is where I would like to have a terrace with some steps leading down to it on either side of the deck so I can access the fruit trees.  Here’s a sketch of the profile view which maybe will explain my idea better:

So in that lovely sketch, you can see how our backyard drops down in a steep hill, which is currently covered in large weeds, small trees, etc.  I would like to create a terrace a few feet down and plant some fruit trees there.  I think we’d put some sort of retaining wall up (see the grey wall?), and the deck would extend out over this area.  So this would all be a HUGE amount of work since it would involve clear-cutting part of our steep hill and then creating a terrace and all that… so it’s just an idea.

Phase Four Continued:

  • Landscape right side of house including adding in a stone/paver/concrete/brick/something walkway leading from the driveway back to the patio/deck.  We also keep our trash and recycling bins on this side of the house, so the walkway would provide a nice way to access them without having to walk through grass/mud (if it’s rained).  I’d also like to put in a platform for the trash and recycling bins to rest on so they don’t just sit in the dirt all the time.  So one thing would be that the pathway would have to be wide enough for the bins to roll on it.  In addition to the path I think I’d like to mulch the rest of that area on the side of the house and just plant flowers/shrubs/etc. so we don’t have to mow grass on that side of the house at all.

Phase Five (?):

  • Plant more trees, such as the three flowering trees I added to the front left and right sides of our house near the sidewalk.
  • Create a garden in the back left corner of our yard.  This may be tricky since we have a lot of deer and rabbits that live in the woods behind our house, so we might have to build it with a fence around it so all the veggies aren’t immediately eaten by the animals.

Oh, and Bryan has a dream of having a hot tub on our deck, so that’s up there on the picture, too.

It’s really easy for me to envision all of this when I look at our yard, but the time and money involved in actually implementing any of it makes it so that it will probably be a long time before we get past phase one.

As a reminder, here’s what the front of our house looks like now (although I don’t have a picture that includes the existing tree next to our mailbox next to the driveway).  And of course the for sale sign is no longer in front of the house! 🙂

And here’s the back yard with the existing patio:

And the drop-off area:

One other thing that we’d really like to do is put a roof over part of the deck with a ceiling fan.  The back side of our house where the patio and deck will be gets the full afternoon/evening/setting sun as well as most of the early part of the day sun as well!  Which means, it’s hot as heck out there in the summer, and the sun is strong!  We can have some shade umbrellas of course over seating areas/eating tables/etc, but having part of the deck (or patio) with a roof and ceiling fan over it would make a HUGE difference in the comfort and livability of being able to spend time out there during warm and hot days.  So that’s just one more thing to consult with some various contractors about so we can get some ideas of logistics and cost involved in that.



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