the yard: where we’ve been

After wrapping up the interior projects from last year, we’re focusing on the outside again. In addition to a new deck for the backyard, we’d also like to spruce up the front. Although sometimes it feels like we’ve completely neglected our yard during the last few years, these pictures from closing day in 2006 are a good reality check: 

In 2007, we spent our first spring/summer cleaning up the yard. This included tearing out the funky, diseased shrubs…

…and jackhammering out the “concrete landscaping”. (Concrete – the ultimate weed blocker!)

By June of ’07 we had rototilled, added several truckloads of mulch, painted the retaining wall, installed inexpensive paving stones and planted a few new trees (the one on the left did not survive).

In 2008, we tackled Phase II. After Bailey escaped through a loose picket, we knew we needed to fix the fence and gate situation.

In 2009 we completed the big exterior project and today our yard looks something like this:

It’s not horrible, but it’s not great either. More importantly, it’s been FOUR YEARS since our temporary fix! So embarrassing.

We’ve developed specific goals and ideas for this summer’s project and it’s exciting to think about what it will look like in 4-5 months. Like many of the projects we’ve tackled over the years, some of the tasks will be boring and involve fixing things, but others will be fun and (we hope) really improve the way we use our exterior spaces. We’re still in the planning phase and will be posting more about process and design in the weeks to come. One thing is for sure, the mulch era is coming to a close.


16 Responses to “the yard: where we’ve been”

  1. Love the re-design. I am thinking about doing a horizontal slat fence as well but my backyard has a slope to it. It looks like you yard has a slight slope to it…how did you address that problem if you did have a slope? What material is on the bottom of the fence? It looks different than the wood slats. Also, what software program did you use to design your back deck (if it was custom designed)? Keep up the great work…it is giving me hope in my remodel 😉

    • chezerbey says:

      Hey Patrick, we used pressure treated boards at the base between posts, mainly to keep Bailey and our neighbor’s dog in their respective yards. We do have a slight slope, but it’s mainly from yard to yard. The PT boards did the trick since it was so minor, but the best solution would probably depend on how much slope you’re working with. For the back deck, we designed it using Google SketchUp (a free program).

  2. Monica says:

    Love your fencing, both the vertical and horizontal, and am anxious to see what you come up with.

  3. Cait says:

    I love your fence, too, and Can’t wait to see what else you do!

    We’re planning to tackle the landscaping & exterior of our house slowly. We’ve been in our house for a year and a half and had done very little outside besides mowing until last weekend when we ripped out the dying front bushes.

  4. zero34 says:

    agree with Monica… curious what other fencing options/designs you guys had in mind.

    Closing on a house now, and it needs a new fence, looking for ideas, and this is one of the first places i came to look for ideas! Ironic that the subject came up today…

    As always, the projects look great!

    • chezerbey says:

      For the fences we just came up with something we liked and went with it. For the back fence, we actually did vertical slats at first (alternating between skinny and wider board widths), but when it came time to do the long south side of the fence, we decided that horizontal boards would make the yard feel bigger and look a bit more modern. Good luck with the new house! The only other thing I would say about fences is that we designed and built ours to the max allowed by our zoning code (that’s why there’s a trellis on top). So it might be a good idea to look into that first…

  5. LauraC says:

    Maybe off topic, but seeing all you’ve done on the outside, I was wondering if your neighbors have gotten to see what you’ve done on the inside; if you’re good enough friends to invite them in or anything like that. We’re much closer to one of our neighbors than the other, but it’s because he’s the brother of the lady we bought the house from! So we’ve gotten close to him and his wife and they come over whenever we finish a big project. His sister and her husband lived in this house over 50 years!

    • chezerbey says:

      Our neighbors have definitely seen our place, but not since we’ve been “done done”. (I think that has more to do with the fact that people aren’t out and about when it’s crappy outside, but come summer we’ll see our neighbors 10x as much!) Some of our neighbors have actually helped us too, from demolishing concrete to helping paint our house! We also have borrowed ladders and other things from them too. Last year one of our neighbors paid to have someone weed our front yard b/c we were so overwhelmed with the interior remodel. Even though we can be loud sometimes, I think everyone is happy that we’re ultimately making it better. =)

  6. Chris says:

    I really like your fence. What size and thickness (1×4 or 5/4×4?) are the horizontal boards? Did you guys source your lumber from Dunn? I realize this is many years later but hopefully you still check the site.

    • Chris says:

      I actually had a chance to go through your website, WOW! Awesome. I see you sourced 1×6 for the fence, we are going to do a similar design but on a short front yard fence and get taller in the backyard. Hopefully the 1x6s will look good on a 4′ fence as well. How is it holding up? Amazing what you have done and awesome site.

      • Lauren says:

        Thanks Chris, I think they’d look fine on a low fence – ours are holding up well. I know we got some of our cedar off Craigslist but don’t remember for sure on the 1×6’s. The trick is to make sure you’re buying actual cedar. One of our old fences was built right before we moved in but they used “cedar” from one of the big box stores and turns it out with some cheaper wood stained to look like cedar and it started falling apart after a year or so.

  7. Dawn says:

    Can I ask how tall is the fence and how deep did you go down into the ground with them? Exactly what we want to do!

  8. Lori says:

    What is the brand and color of stain you used in the cedar shake at the bottom of your home?

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