Backyard Landscaping Project

When Faith and I bought our home 23 years ago and moved in, we had the typical cheap looking landscape that the home builder installs. It was nice, but there wasn’t much to it. Over the first few years we lived here we added some trees, gardens, installed a sprinkler system, replaced the grass and installed some yard ornaments to make the yard our own. We really enjoyed working in the yard on the weekends and keeping the yard in good condition.

Fast forward 20 years and that all has changed. A few years ago our lawn mower gave up the ghost and I decided that I didn’t really like cutting the grass, so we got a service to do that for us. As I got more involved in photography, the last place I wanted to spend my weekends was in the yard. As Faith and I got older, the summer heat reduced our desire to work in the yard and the yard suffered as a result. Basically, life happened, and as a result, we didn’t tend to the yard very much. Sure the grass got cut every week, but that was about it. The plants were overgrown and there was no continuity to the landscape. As one recent visitor exclaimed when he went into the backyard, “Wow! It’s a jungle back here!”. Click the images to view larger.

Hannah checks out the "jungle"
Hannah checks out the “jungle”

A couple of years ago I told Faith that I thought we should invest in a project to rework the backyard landscape. She said “I’ll help you do it!”. Hmmm…that’s not exactly what I had in mind. When I suggested investing in a project, I pictured professionals doing the work for us. I had absolutely no interest in taking a machete to the jungle, uprooting all the plants, laying brick pavers, installing a fountain, replacing the grass and plants. That sounded too much like work to me. Plus I had no idea how to design a landscape.

Overgrown
Overgrown

We had hoped to get the landscape project done a couple of winters ago, but as it always seems to happen, life got in the way. The same was true of our bathroom remodeling project. We finally got it done…years after we decided to do it.

More Jungle
More jungle

In mid-August, we signed a contract with A&R Landscaping to come in and complete the project for us. Our list of wants were very basic: Remove everything except the trees, install a patio, add a fountain, make the yard butterfly and bird friendly (but of course!) and put something big and bushy between us and the trampoline in the yard behind us. Andy (the A in A&R Landscaping) said “No problem!”.

What a mess!
What a mess!

A few weeks later, a crew of 3 workers showed up armed with machetes, shovels, wheelbarrows and an empty trailer. 2 days later, the old yard was gone, the trailer was full and we had a nice patch of dirt with a few trees. It was amazing to see how big our yard really was now that the overgrown jungle was hauled off. It was tough for Faith to see some of her favorite plants dug up and tossed away like yesterday’s trash, but the end result was completely worth the heartbreak.

Only trees and dirt left
Only trees and dirt left

The project took a total of 8 days to complete. When it was done, it was like moving into a new house. Andy’s design is absolutely beautiful and more than we ever imagined it would be.

No more jungle!  This is the same viewpoint that the first image with Hannah shows.
No more jungle! This is the same viewpoint that the first image with Hannah shows.

There is lots of color, lines to draw your attention to key features, beautiful pathways, a meditation garden and wide open spaces. Faith even had Andy put in 2 olive trees to remind her of her favorite destinations; Italy and Israel.

Wide open spaces!
Wide open spaces!

The olive trees are self-pollinating, so she should get some olives in a couple of years.

Our new water feature
Our new water feature

We both just love the new water feature!

The stone pathway
The stone pathway

Our golden retriever, Hannah, loves the new backyard. She goes out several times a day and just wanders the yard taking it all in. Before we hacked away the jungle, she would occasionally get trapped in some of the overgrown vines and had to be extricated from the jungle. She has more room to roam now.

Hannah returns from the meditation garden
Hannah returns from the meditation garden

Now we’re in the process of furnishing the yard. We’ve added a bench in a seating area designed for enjoying the entire backyard. We have some Adirondack chairs on order for the paver patio, and a fire pit arrives later this week to complement the patio area. We’re looking for a bench for Faith’s meditation garden, and after we find that, we should be all set. Now we’re just waiting on some cooler (and drier) weather so we can spend more time out there. We’re also asking ourselves “what took us so long?”.

The paver patio with the water feature as the central element
The paver patio with the water feature as the central element

If you’re thinking of a landscaping project, give Andy at A&R Landscaping a call. You couldn’t ask for a better partner for your project.

8 Comments

  • Debbie Tubridy

    September 25, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    Wonderful work … it’s looks so lovely!
    Makes me want to do the same … if I only had more time!
    I’m sure you’ll enjoy it immensely when the fall/winter season approaches. 🙂

    • Michael

      September 26, 2014 at 5:36 am

      That’s why we had professionals do the job. We don’t have the time to do it either. And, yes, we are anxiously awaiting the first cool breeze of Fall!

  • Kin Baker

    September 26, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Michael and Faith, you have done a wonderful job on your new landscape! The open space is so inviting. What great touches you have added, especially the water feature and the patio. The plants and grass are really beautiful. I cannot wait to visit and see the new master bathroom and the landscrape. All your work was definitely worth it!!!

    • Michael

      September 26, 2014 at 1:10 pm

      Thanks, Kin!

  • CarlaReed

    October 2, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    Wow—!!! Hope we see it some day!!
    Carla

    • Michael

      October 2, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      Me too, Carla! You’re welcome any time!

  • Donna Faylo

    October 3, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Wow, Michael…simply lovely! So, does that mean we can have a bird watching/photo party in your backyard while sipping little umbrella drinks? Mmmmmm?

    • Michael

      October 3, 2014 at 9:09 pm

      Absolutely!!