Friday, June 20, 2014

From Dust to Glory: A Story of our back yard

While not quite a direct compare to Baja, our back yard has historically been a huge dust bowl that was certainly not conducive to family fun.  The shade provided by the large live oak (one of the big selling points of the house along with the 2.5 car garage) is a nice respite from the hot Texas sun but also prevents growth of any sort of vegetation requiring sunlight.  Once our little ones became mobile it was very apparent they needed a place to run free (and we needed a place for them to go while we cleaned up the wreckage left in their wake), so our first project of 2014 was to create a space where we could all hang out and enjoy the outdoors, on a budget of course!

Plans were drawn up and jokes were made about my drawing capabilities (including some by those genetically responsible for my lack of artistic skills) and off we went.

The original plan called for a small section of grass but after pondering upkeep (running my own landscaping business in high school killed any desire I had for yardwork) and the condition of our lakes/reservoirs, we stuck with rock and mulch, the amount of which was a result of "while we've got a trailer" syndrome.  We also ended up with a whole pallet of 6" sawed/chopped limestone because it was much easier to have the forklift operator load the whole thing on the trailer than load it piece by piece myself.  Despite the cost of the extra limestone (laziness that later resulted in more work carrying it all to the back yard) we ended up only $40 over our $600 budget and a pretty sweet looking and functional back yard, if I do say so myself!

Here's what 3 tons of rock looks like after being put in place by friends and family bribed with food:

And 4 yards of first grind Cedar for a little cushioning (and hopefully bug repelling) in the play area:

Once we had the mulchy/rocky foundation laid, the first addition was a plastic see saw (which facilitated the learning of the phrase "rocky, rocky") and some chairs which were initially a tipping hazard but are now used for moments of contemplation and sipping of "wai wai" along with a hammock for dad to nap in, I mean supervise.

We also scored a free playhouse on Craigslist from a guy who was also kind enough to drop it off (if 'ol Craig only knew how much he's enriched our lives!) which has provided hours of fun and an infinite ROI.

Future projects will include a sandbox, fire pit, and some sort of comfortable furniture so stay tuned!

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