Monday, February 25, 2008

Backyard Makeover: Before

In recent years, I have fallen out of love with our back yard. It's dirty, the gravel is bare in some spots, and is in dire need of a good cleaning and updating. And, since my birthday is next month, I informed Q that this is what I'd like for a present: a spruced up, more functional backyard.

He happily agreed. Partly because this yard is his turf, and he wants it to look nice probably more than I do. Also, it means he can buy me presents that the whole family can enjoy, and do so without having to set foot in the mall.

Instead of planting a winter lawn, we allowed the grass to go dormant. It should start greening up in about a month or so. The chairs under the trees belong on the patio, but Luke climbs on them when we send him out to pick limes. Consequently, both chairs are covered in bird poop. In fact, we had discussed the possibility of putting a bench or water feature in the area between the two trees, but Q reminded me that anything we put there will become a birdie potty.

I want to use this half of the patio to create an outdoor living room, of sorts. I have my eye on a patio love seat at Target, and we'll hang a bamboo roller shade to block out the eastern sun. We have relocated Q's barbecue grill to the other side of the pool fence, and the white PVC chairs--which are older than the dirt that covers them--will go onto the next charity truck that comes by. Kyle was not happy when we informed him that he'll have to park his bike elsewhere.

We spent lots of time Sunday trying to clean up the side yard. We did the best we could, but since much of the crap is neither recycleable nor giveawayable (i.e. broken), we'll have to hold on to it until Hippie Christmas. That usually occurs in April or May.

There's nothing wrong with this table and chair set, except that they're dirty, and the flimsy replacement cushions never fit good. New cushions have already been bought. In fact, this was a purchase I was so desperate to make that I didn't even bother to wait until they went on sale.

The other problem I have with this area is that nobody ever puts their $#!t away. It is littered with old toys, pool supplies (including chemicals), and tools. The culprit seems to be lack of storage...with a touch of laziness thrown in. I'm hoping to alleviate that situation with one of those nifty storage benches. I'm just trying to find a nice, affordable one that's not made out of that gray Rubbermaid plastic. And yes, here's more of those white PVC chairs that aren't long for this life.

We'd had these chaise lounges since the pool was built 8 years ago. Last summer one of them broke. We were going to buy new ones, but Q managed to disconnect, repair, and reassemble the broken one. So far, that seems to have helped. We did buy new cushions, however.

We spent a part of Saturday removing a dead palm tree. Not an easy feat since it's so close to the pool. Q almost fell in the water a few times. He also broke his shovel while trying to disconnect the trunk from the root ball.

April showers may bring May flowers in the rest of the world. But in Arizona, winter showers bring weeds. Lots and lots and LOTS of weeds. I spent a fair amount of the day with a bottle of Roundup.

Around the pool, I have several clay pots full of dead or near dead cacti. The succulent picture above is the only potted plant I have managed to not kill. I will be buying more of those when and if I get back to the cactus nursery at which I had originally bought this one.
Pictures of the finished product will be posted when the job is complete. To avoid rampant credit card abuse, the job is being done in stages.