Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Extreme Backyard Makeover by Grandpa

So this can only be tied back to Cate & Lucy in the fact that we did a backyard redesign so they would have more area to play in.  When we bought our house we loved that it had a pool and a forest in the backyard and nothing else.  We didn't care there was no grass - actually less mowing was a selling point for us.  We didn't think of our kids loving to swing and wanting a playground.  Then a couple years ago my sister & brother in-law gave us an awesome play set and the trees seemed a little less appealing.  I am lucky be cause I have an awesome, amazing, hard working, talented,  incredible handyman/builder father (I won't repeat this but you can read it into the simple words "my dad" in for the rest of the post).  He made the hill beside the pool into a spot just big enough to fit the play set:
pre-renovation picture of the play set

And for two years this was perfect for the girls.  We went out there maybe once a week during the appropriate weather and played.  The girls were pretty calm around the set and did the normal toddler/little girl swinging, climbing, and for Cate - playing with mulch.  As last fall ended, I noticed a major change in this play - it had become adventurous, high swinging, fast sliding, lots of running around.  That is a little scary when you are never more than 5 feet from concrete.  So I started imagining taking out some of the trees you see in the background, leveling out the yard some and moving the play set back a little.  As I dreamed about it over the winter and beginning of spring my dreams got bigger.  I saw a little patch of grass to kick a soccer ball on, I saw a glider swing for the girls to play on together, I saw a space safe enough for them to play by themselves with me reading on the back porch (before you doubt the safety given our pool - we have a safety cover which is one anytime it is closed which is strong enough for me to walk on - trust me I've done it a couple times chasing Lucy).  I got my dad and Ric on board so I was able to get the big trees removed while my parents where still in Florida. 

Side note - "my dad" (see description above) had just finished a project that gave us an amazing storage space before he left for Florida so getting him on board with my new project took a little bit of eyelash batting -
beginning of storage space/pool room project

finished project
My parents got back right before Easter and instead of a forest we had this when he returned:

So at the end of spring the construction project began.  The first problem to deal with was a safety concern I hadn't addressed sufficiently in my mental plan - we have a cement drainage culvert about 3 feet behind the pool that was originally protected by overgrown bushes but once my dad removed them we realized a fence might not make it safe enough.  My dad had an awesome idea and followed it though beautifully - cover it with a deck.  So this is when the project went from a little plot of land for the play set and a little patch of grass changed into a dream of a full backyard renovation!

So after too many hours to count of work by my dad and various bobcats, dump truck, stump grinders and a helper here and there - in 100 degree + weather of course - my dad finished our back yard in time for our annual July 4th party.  I have no idea how he did it but he is amazing (and my mom so understanding as all her projects got put on hold).  It is even better than my dream - how many things you can say that about?  The girls are going to love growing up in this new area where they can grow and explore safely. 

I can never thank my dad enough for these projects - he has made our house and yard into a home we never want to leave.

Now if they just had a playhouse in the back corner ...... (I know I'm spoiled rotten)


  1. it looks fantastic! what a huge yard you have now. Your dad is super fantastic. Ric you're okay too, I am sure you helped at least a little...lol. Great job. You should submit it to the magazines that showcase makeovers!

    1. Actually Ric helped quite a bit - he unloaded 3 tons of river rock for the creek bed that isn't pictured, unloaded a truck full of dirt to plant the monkey grass in, pressure washed the deck and lots of other stuff!

  2. It looks awesome. Love the playground set too.