This is probably not breaking news to many of you, but it still surprises me to look out my window and see my new backyard! I am so thrilled with the final results. However, it hasn't always been lovely to stare out my window.
When we first looked at our home there was more potential than actual value. The entire house was run down, in need of some serious love. The backyard was no different. A random paver patio surrounding small fruit trees planted under a clothesline was only one part of the haphazard design. Other gems included a raised butterfly garden shaped, well, like a circle drawn by my 3 year old. The side yard was a mishmash of hard-packed dirt flower beds, widely varied paver styles, and weeds. To say it was ugly would be an understatement. There were two poured concrete patios, one attached directly to the house and one tucked into the back corner of the yard. The second smaller one must have been poured to create a foundation for a shed. This might have been a nice touch, except it was irregularly shaped and sat at odd angles to the fence line. Ugh.
We bought our home as a foreclosure. The money we were saving ourselves from a non-standard sale would be spent caring for the run-down state of the house. Things like refinishing the hardwood floors, replacing all the kitchen appliances, and painting the entire inside of the house were no-brainers. Purchasing a substantially smaller home than we previously lived in meant we had to find living space in every nook, so the backyard was also one of the projects planned from the very beginning, the vision being that it would provide an extension of sorts to the living space inside. However, once the inside of the house was functional the outside got somewhat forgotten.
Josiah was the impetus behind reviewing our project. His boy-ness required constant supervision, and activity. A secured, safe backyard was the only choice to continue enjoying our little boy. We also realized that our decision to home educate meant sacrifices in certain activities that required balance. Physical fitness, and kinesthetic learning were factors we took seriously. We set to work researching play structures, discussing ideas, and refining our vision for the space. Finally we settled upon a design that took into consideration the needs of the yard, our budget, and as much aesthetics as possible.
We found a company called CedarWorks located in Maine. They work with individual families to create play structures that are uniquely designed for their specific needs. Through them we drew plans for a play set sturdy enough for all 7 of our children. Using white cedar, a naturally splinter-free and rot resistance wood, the structure would last through all my children and be available for my grandchildren! This would become the central focus of our yard, and create a wonderful diversion for all our children.
Adding the elements to surround the play structure was our next task. We chose commercial playground quality cedar chips for the base of the play set. Our trampoline was also nestled into the pit made from these chips. A paver path wrapped the house, and bordered the pit so someone could access the far side yard without traipsing through wood chips. We also purchased new large pavers for the other side yard, creating a useable space for storage, and easy accessibility. I desperately wanted something green to look at, so a strip of lawn was added behind the larger concrete patio - the only thing we kept from the original backyard. The final touch was a gift from my mom - her perfectly working 6 person hot tub!
So, we are now complete. I added the photo album on the right side of the blog. Take a peek. And if you are in the neighborhood please drop by. Make sure to bring the kids, and your suits!