Backyard tour and a remodeling challenge

Our sweet little old house needs quite a bit of work. We have thoughts and dreams of a kitchen remodel (I HATE my kitchen) but it isn’t in the cards for quite a while yet. We have lots of other immediate needs that need to be addressed first and we don’t plan on going into debt to make a new kitchen happen. That means we have to check off the other, more pressing, items on our to-do list and THEN save up enough money to pay cash for the remodel. We’ll have to wait and see if that happens before we outgrow our tiny little house.

Lately, most of our focus has been on the backyard. Some changes have been planned and purposeful while others have been beyond our control. I spent my Sabbath afternoon on my mama’s quilt in the backyard with Samuel so I thought it would be a good opportunity to take some photos and give a little tour as a “before.” Hopefully this space will be quite transformed by the Fall.

Grapevine Privacy FenceOne of my favorite features in our yard is the grapevine growing on the fence. We don’t get good grapes from it but it comes up thick in the summer, making a natural privacy fence against the road. Since our yard is a little lower than the road, this keeps passers-by from seeing us in the yard if we’re sitting down. Or swimming naked in our tiny pool. Which we don’t do. But we COULD if wanted to and if we’d ever haul some sand in and get a spot set up for our pool.

The vines are also useful for craft projects like wreaths or yard projects like fence from vine weaved around bamboo to keep the dog out of the berry bushes.

Grapevine fence

HammockMy hammock is another favorite.

Maple Tree MurderOr it was until the power company came and chopped down the tree that provided the shade for it. I was over-the-top sad about this development. 1) I do not do well with change that I did not expect or plan and implement myself. 2) Now the hostas that I planted here at least 6 years ago from shoots my parents gave me from their house are getting burnt to a crisp. This is not the first change that has taken place in the yard this year. It’s just the only one that made me cry like a crazy modern-day version of “Pat of Silverbush.”

Old ShedThe first change was partly started by this eyesore.┬áThis shed has never been truly usable for me. It leaked and the doors didn’t work correctly the day I bought the place. I’ve been meaning to get a new shed for years but it has always worked “well enough” for shovels and the lawn mower so it never made it up to the top of the list. Then we had a baby, and our already full house started bursting at the seams. And Daniel started working from home full time. From the couch. Where I nurse a baby all day long. We’re a little cramped. We desperately need storage space so we can free up an area for a home office for Daniel. Enter our new shed.

New ShedIt’s huge. About 16’x11.5′. Or something. It has taken up the spot where my clothesline used to be but it will be worth it. I’m DYING for it to get finished. It’s going to be VERY useful as well as a beautiful addition to the backyard. So I’ve been inspired to get the rest of the backyard into shape so it will match the pretty shed.

Wicker chairThis area next to the old shed was supposed to be a natural little oasis. I planned to have a clematis grow all over the broken wicker chair but the crazy bush took over instead and it just looks snake-y and messy. Hopefully this will be the new home to our hammock. Once we get the contents of the old shed moved into the new one we’ll haul the metal off to the recycling place and hopefully get at least enough money back to buy some heavy duty weed barrier and mulch so that this area will become the new shady hammock spot.

That little project probably won’t start until the Fall. Right now I have the back deck/porch on my mind. It needs a serious revamp. It’s a big mess. This is me being real and showing just how ugly it is.

Back PorchThe wood needs weather treating in a bad way and it has somehow gathered a bunch of pots full of potting soil and weeds. Somebody must have snuck into our backyard and put them there. Definitely. Yup. Daniel did make me some steps with slices of my poor, murdered Maple tree. These pretties have inspired me to do some work on the deck to make it presentable. I never know where to start so I need some limits or parameters to follow in order to get going on projects like this or I’ll just stand in the middle of the porch staring and doing nothing. This time I decided to turn it into a fun challenge. I’d love to add on to the deck and have a big one spanning the back of the house for entertaining but we don’t have the funds for that now. What I DO have is a piggy bank full of change, though. Not sure how much, but definitely more than $10, less than $50. My goal is to do a back porch remodel/redecoration/revamp using only that cash and anything around the house or yard plus whatever I can find for free or trade. I’m going to devote Fridays to posting about my progress and call it the amazingly unique and inspired series title of “Frugal Fridays.”

I think it will be fun!