When I bought my home 6 years ago here in the Eastern Townships it wasn’t the backyard that I fell in love. It was actually an over sight. The ONLY thing I liked were the mature trees and the potential for something more. I had decided to look at it as a blank canvas but seeing that there were other things that needed my attention at the time, the only thing I did in the beginning was to fence in the yard- a definite necessity. I had 3 dogs that liked to explore the new neighborhood (eventually the back yard became tighter than Alcatraz because Charlotte would continually escape).
Since then the back yard has been a work in progress but, essentially, it’s hardly recognizable from when we really started the clean up about 5 years ago. Time flies and now it’s time to refresh some of these areas but I love my back yard and we didn’t break the bank doing it either. I hope some of our ideas inspire you 🙂
Oh, and did I mention the out of ground pool that was placed almost smack against my back porch? The only place they could put it, I guess, for maximum sun but try setting up any kind of decent dining area that would accomodate more than two people was impossible!
That big honking thing was always in your face! It also cut the yard in two and where you see that tiny table in the pic below was where they had put this big wood platform and ladder for the pool making it even more confining.
Because my daughter was vividly opposed to getting rid of the pool I toughed it out a couple of years then I made her realize how much work and money it was costing us for a few very short dips in the water. The pool was hard to maintain because of the shade and it wasn’t heated.
I finally put my foot down and shut down the pool for good and this is what I ended up with…
So that fall at last the pool was gone and we were left with a big hole to contend with. I had all winter to decide what would be the best thing for us and what kind of budget I could come up with. That winter was hard as I lost a few big branches on my trees due to a nasty ice storm and having them removed cut seriously into our backyard makeover budget. A challenge had been handed to me and I accepted it…
The first thing I did was deal with the patio stones that I had on hand. Not the nicest to look at.
They are the extremely affordable ones you get with the standard pattern. They do nothing for me but I had so many on hand that it seemed stupid to spend money to go out and get new ones so while sipping on a glass of wine one evening looking at the stacked pile of patio stones and I got a brilliant, going to cost zero money, marvelous solution to my problem…
Flip those stones over 😀
Woo hoo!!! Now I was getting excited. I was on my way to transforming my back yard into something I could actually look at without cringing.
It took some work getting all those stones flipped over and level but I managed to do it without losing patience. I then proceeded to add some stairs to my entrance and work on the flower beds. I managed to salvage the grape vine but that was about it. All additional plants came from the nursery or from clients that didn’t want them anymore.
The first year we concentrated on filling up the hole where the pool was and then building a wood platform over it to create a dining area big enough to accommodate a large table big enough to host family parties without having to bring out extra tables.
This is my 12′ farmhouse style table with 10′ bench that I built myself. The chairs are part of my old set and fit well with the new set up and the umbrella is the biggest I could find-it covers most of the table allowing us to still play cards or enjoy the outdoors in light rain.
Shade sails could have been an option had I not been so adamant about my clothesline remaining in place (that is absolutely non negotiable)
The year after we built our deck we proceeded to condemn the cellar entrance that was slowly deteriorating. The cellar was hard to heat because of this door and because it was so low its use was limited to “I’m too lazy so I’ll go through here instead of back door and down the stairs to get that flower pot…”
So we tore down the entrance, kept whatever wood was still good (which was most of it) and made various items one of which is this outside cupboard that I store my garden tools, candles, and BBQ equipment.
You can see other stuff I’ve built using old doors https://sharonmforthehome.com/doors-doors-doors/
We extended the back porch over the old basement entrance. Because I planned to paint the floors we built with recycled wood from other projects which brought down our costs considerably.
So essentially, our yard is divided into “rooms”. From the back door right down to the end of the yard. Each area is functional-a place to cook, relax, a dining area, an area to get together for a drink by the fire pit, a shed for my garden tools and wood (which is not completely finished) and another little project that my daughter and I are working on 😉
I’ll let you know when that’s finished!