Right before Andy came home from his mission it was time to nest. 😉 Seriously. I felt like I was getting ready to bring home a baby and wanted to have everything re-done, cleaned like crazy, and just as perfect as it could be. I think there was some added pressure ( that I only put on myself of course) to get the house looking great.
When he left the house was in the middle of a complete remodel due to our leak, and he hadn’t even seen it finished. I wanted it to be super comfortable. The yard was pretty basic and neglected since we had been renovating the house and it hadn’t had much done to it in a few years due to moving and renting the house out for a couple of years. It was low maintenance, but certainly nothing exciting. I had dreams of something Italian inspired with olive and cypress trees. Something beautiful and relaxing.
Since moving to a snowy climate I have never appreciated having the ability to be out in the yard year round more. Also, having a yard to take care of in Utah has made me realize just how much I appreciate having just a nice patio for a yard. Living in Orange County for the last twenty years, we’ve felt lucky to even have a tiny backyard, but always thought it would be nice to have a big one. Wrong! It is so much work and expense for something you can only use 3 months out of the year! lol! I’m sure there are plenty of people who love a big yard…I’ve just learned over the last few years that I’m just not one of them. 😉
We had a plain patio that was cracking and water was running toward the house…again. We’ve had problems with that over the years (one problem of a small, poorly graded yard.) We actually had water from outside the house ruin our wood floor INSIDE the house several years ago. Water sat along the side of the house every time it rained, then the framing of the house wicked the water up and into the framing and the wet 2×4’s sat, always wet, against the wood floor under the cabinets. So fun! The wood floor started bubbling just on the top slowly over time and we could not figure out what was happening. Finally, after having our FIFTH leak in 15 years and having to re-do the whole house at this point, we decided it was time to get rid of the solid patio. We jackhammered the whole thing up and it felt so good!!
It felt so good to see it all disappear!
It was amazing to see how much bigger (again, SMALL yard!) everything felt just cleaned up and cleared out.
We decided to put pavers in place of the solid concrete back there so that there are cracks for water to escape to help solve drainage issues.
Our entire community has been the subject of MANY lawsuits over the last 15 years due to faulty pipes that were used to build…we finally got to re-pipe and our builder covered the neighborhood. Fingers crossed that we are safe from water from now on, inside and out!
I wanted to break up the pavers a little, so we planned for strips of turf in a few places.
I kept the existing hardscape in the front, and left four big cypress trees in place to keep with the Italian feel.
To keep things looking good and make it easy to maintain, we opted for turf. Having a little yard like this for so many years was really a headache to try and keep the grass looking good. It’s too small for anything to work well. 🙂
We did add a nice concrete walkway on the side of the house where there hadn’t been one before. It makes it SO much easier to get the trash cans in and out every trash day!!
Watching the pavers go in was SO exciting!
We had them add some posts and a short version of the same wood fence around the rest of the house to make a dog run on the side off the garage. That way we can keep the dogs from getting out to the rest of the yard if we need them to stay out of the way. 😉
It was not easy for the guys laying the pavers to keep those existing trees and work around my plans for turf strips, but they made it happen!
Researching plants and trees and talking to some landscape designers helped me come up with some ideas. I wanted to make sure everything was not only pretty, but also low maintenance and water friendly.
We repaired the fence all over and painted it to match the trim of the house.
The softness that the greenery adds is just so beautiful!
We had a fountain in the yard before and I loved the sound it made. I wanted to get a slightly larger one with more of a drop so it would be even louder. This is the one I chose and I LOVE it! It sits just outside the family room window so I can open those windows and hear it inside too.
Pretty pavers, new plants…I was DYING for olive trees. The olive trees make my heart happy every time I look out the window. They are SO pretty and make me feel like I’m sitting in Italy. We had a terrible Jacaranda out front for 20 years that was half dead and WAY too big for the space. This new olive tree is stunning and perfect!
It was a beast getting it in to that small front yard having to dig a giant hole for it.
So worth it though! I am totally obsessed…did I mention that already? 😉
We have never really had REAL patio furniture…like the kind with cushions and a sofa and I was so excited to pick some out.
I wanted something that would make the backyard feel like an extension of the family room, but also be super durable.
We get direct sun all afternoon, so it needed to be VERY weather resistant. This polywood stuff is amazing. I have owned other pieces before and they are indestructable!
The cushions are Sunbrella and durable too, but we store them indoors when we aren’t using the sofa just to be safe. We got a fire pit to go with it. It’s our favorite place to spend the evenings. Some string lights and a great table and chairs for dining al fresco and we now live outside. 😉
I couldn’t resist adding a few citrus trees. I love the smell and picking the fruit.
I may have also added a few more olive trees in pots and in the ground in the backyard… 😉
I never get tired of seeing this neat yard every time I pull up to the house.
And the puppers think the new space is pretty great too. 😉 We love sitting out there, eating, talking and enjoying the nice weather!
We are so happy with this backyard remodel and I hope you love it too! Here are all the products we used for this remodel, click any image for more info:
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