Another bad bout of vertigo knocked me for a loop once again last week, so I didn’t get a chance to post current photos of the backyard. I sure hope this dizziness goes away soon; I don’t like taking naps because my head hurts and it’s no fun trying to keep my balance standing or sitting, much less walking!
Some of you may recall that a videographer for the local Housetrends Magazine spent a few hours filming our backyard last Monday. I was amazed at all the angles and shots the guy took over the course of 2½ hours! Gee, I’m so glad that the shoot was last week, since a wild and crazy storm came through on Friday, dropping hundreds of branches and leaves onto the landscaping! The yard will receive a good clean-up on Wednesday. It is one hot mess! And speaking of “hot,” I certainly hope that our weather will be more tolerable than it’s been the past few days. I don’t like weather in the 100° range! Here are some “before” photos of our backyard, taken eight months ago. It’s amazing what our landscape contractor, The Site Group, did to transform the yard. It went from a completely un-useable space to one that has multiple areas where we can entertain guests and enjoy the peaceful sounds of the stream and waterfall!
You can see how the ground undulated across the yard and sloped steeply onto the back property line. It was so uneven that we couldn’t even set up a table for extra seating. We’d have to prop up the table legs with bricks in order to have a level top. Not a good thing….. Plus, the honeysuckle was taking over and encroaching upon the lawn. I rarely mowed back here, since the slope was so dangerous. As it was, the husband used to put on our son’s football cleats so he’d have some traction as he pushed the mower down into the slope. At least the grass was green!
Looking the opposite direction from the previous photo, we had an old brick patio that had heaved and was actually sliding down the hill. In this picture, I had already pulled up all of the bricks and had taken down one side of the retaining wall that was made up of old railroad ties. The privacy fence was torn down with the help of a nephew, who was also responsible for removing the decrepit old deck outside of the kitchen.
There was a small concrete slab patio outside the sunroom that sloped towards the house. What?! Because of this, the concrete and the brick along the house foundation were stained black and green with mold and moss. Eeewww….
But now, the yard has a wrap-around brick path across the width of the house, with a patio on either end. A lower level patio features a fire-pit and we have a nice seating area on the patio off of the kitchen. We even have a water feature- a long stream winding from the top level of the yard into the lower level patio, where it culminates into a pond-less waterfall.
These are views looking from one end of the yard to the other. The plantings have really grown since last fall. You can see my initial post on the yard transformation HERE.
The crew began by creating the patio outside of the sunroom and carrying the path across the back of the house towards what used to be the old kitchen area deck.
Heavy chunks of stone, used to create the retaining walls, filled the side yard that was visible from the street. Neighbors wanted to know why the yard looked like a quarry! The stone slab that you see above was used as the bridge that crosses the u-shaped streambed.
The foreman and his right-hand man dug out the waterfall basin and installed the rock wall that borders the patio and holds the water basin into place. When stubborn roots couldn’t be budged with the claw and bucket, the guys resorted to using an axe. Look how deep the basin is, and it is not even dug all of the way out!
Here’s a zoomed view of the lower patio taken from the second floor balcony outside the master bedroom. Had we known just how much everyone would enjoy congregating around the fire pit, we would have made the patio area larger. There is still plenty of seating room, though- the ledge on the retaining wall is seat height and can accommodate quite a few people. As for me, I can usually be found sitting on the large stone anchoring the pit. I like the warmth of a roaring fire! See the rocks surrounding the waterfall area? Refer to the picture before this to see just how much of the boulders aren’t even visible in this photo!
The stream begins at the top patio level, meanders under a stone slab bridge, and ends in a waterfall into a pond-less rock basin
This 10-foot diameter patio at the north end of the yard is the perfect size for a table and four chairs. We ate dinner out here with friends on Friday night. From this location, we have a view to the opposite end of the yard, where the sunroom patio is.
You can see the dining table patio on the other end of the yard. It is bordered by a very small lawn area. We only wanted a small patch of lawn to break up the hardscape and the plantings. It’s so small that it takes only three minutes for me to mow. Now that’s tiny!
As you enter the backyard from the side garden path, this is what you see.
I created a comfy room setting under the deck outside of the sunroom.
We use the old washtub in the corner as our cooler when we have parties.
I wish that this colorful potted container still looked this good! After last week’s heat wave and the horrendous storm that came through- it looks a bit ragged and bloom-less. Maybe I can baby it back to health; if not, well, it’s still green!
This is the patio outside the kitchen. We just wanted some additional seating for this patio, so I stained four Adirondack chairs and plopped an umbrella between them for some shade. I bought the chairs last September at Home Depot for the clearance price of only $14. What a bargain! The potting bench was borrowed from the laundry room. It’s here mainly for looks, although I am keeping a few gardening tools inside its storage area.
And a look at the yard would not be complete without showing you some night views.
I love the play of the shadows on the fence. The underside of the bridge is lit and two large path lights highlight the beginning of the stream and the steps leading to the bridge.
Water cascades into the pond-less basis and is lit by a sunken spotlight.
Two tall sycamore trees are both up-lighted and down-lighted. A small maple is also lit from its trunk base.
The path lights are lit with LED bulbs that cast a nice, bright light onto the pathway, the steps to the bridge, and the first water drop in the stream.
I hope that you enjoyed seeing our backyard. I’m far from being an accomplished gardener, so I’m learning as I go as I maintain it. It’s work, but we truly enjoy the fruits of our labor when we sit outside listening to the soothing sounds of the waterfall and having a nice cup of coffee or a glass of wine!
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