Before & After: Backyard Edition, Phase 2

When we bought our house in May 2010, one of the first projects we tackled was the pool. 
The backyard was a disaster. It was 30 years of over growth & not being maintained.
The pool had issues. Major issues. Cracks. Leaks. Nastiness.
Here is what the pool looked like the day we moved in:
  It was a mess. The girls asked why we had a pond in our back yard.
The pool was lined with lava rock. Nasty.

The girls called the pool a "pond". There was NO way any of us would go in it.
We started demo on it the day we got the keys to the house.
Here was the after on Phase 1 of the Backyard/Pool Remodel:

One thing we DIDN'T redo right away was rip out all the overgrown bushes that lined our back fence.
If you see in the photo above, the original fence is about 1-2 feet shorter than our side fence.
This Spring we finally decided to rip out ALL the bushes that lined the back fence and replace the fence. We were reluctant to do that because it is a big project.
Check out the left side....overgrown bushes galore.
Over 130 feet of fence and bushes that were 35 years overgrown.
We liked having the protection of the bushes (since we back up to a walking trail/open space)
But, the horrible overgrown bushes had to go. They were ugly, dropped tons of leaves & berries and Kevin spent so much time cleaning up after them. I despised those bushes.
Those bushes also meant that one side of our pool was completely unusable.
There was no pool deck on the right hand side (see below on the right hand side). So annoying.

Last Fall & Winter, Kevin cut down all 130 feet of bushes.
 He started doing this in September 2012.
 Kate was bummed about us taking out the trees, because she loved climbing the trees.
 30 years of overgrown bushes. They were over 25 feet tall and 20 feet wide. Along 70 feet of fence.
Chop, Chop, Chop.
 It took him 5 months. Most weekends & many week nights he was out there chopping down those bushes/trees and then hauling them out to the the Green Trash Cans. He would borrow the Green Yard Trash Cans from 8 families on our court and put the remains of our bushes in our neighbors green trash cans.

 In April, after Kevin had cut everything down:
So happy to see all those bushed GONE!!!
 We had a guy come in and stump grind all 14 stumps from the bushes:

Kevin hauling away the final green trash can full of bushes:
Our plan was to get a new fence, that was 7 feet and to level out the backyard (it sloped about down 2 feet from the edge of the grass to the fence.
The fence company took 2 days, so it was crazy being so open that night without a fence completed.
People would walk by on the trail & just stare into the backyard. Creepy!
New fence in:
So much better without those awful bushes!
Along the pool, we were so excited to add more pool deck to make the pool area more functional.
Yay for cement!
We also extended the pool wall to reach the new fence.
The new cement adds SO much more functionality!
Now we had room to add another table, chairs, an umbrella & some lounge chairs:

LOVE how it turned out. It was finished right before summer, so we were able to enjoy a functional pool area. So nice to have lounge chairs by the pool.
And, it is so nice to have pool deck go around the pool, and be able to walk around the pool & swim without those horrible awful bushes.
Kevin hung some planters on the fence for me, so I could add some color to the fence.
This was my view for most of the summer....chilling in a lounge chair & watching the kids swim :)
It has been so nice to have the patio, we host a lot of parties, especially pool parties and this extra area has been awesome!
I can't believe we didn't do this when we first re-did the pool, but we were on a budget....re-doing the pool was $$$$. We didn't realize that we would need more cement, neither of us had lived in a house with a pool, so we weren't thinking about functionality 3 years ago.  We realized after the first summer we needed to do this project, but adding a new 130 foot fence & more cement wasn't cheap, but we saved up and are SO happy with it.

 Here is a view of the rest of the fence:

 We planted 2 Japanese maples & a flowering cherry tree along the back fence. I can't wait for them to grow so that we have mature trees in our yard.
View from the other side of the yard:

Our next phase of the backyard that we want to re-do is the cement along the house & where our outside table it. It is old & cracked, so we to replace it.
 We are going to add another french door next to the window (right now it is just a wall, as you see in the pic below) 
We want to have more backyard access from the living room/dining room. That is a project we are hoping to do next Spring.

Since we bought this house in May 2010, we have officially torn out EVERY SINGLE thing in the backyard except this palm tree by the pool. And, we kept some of the grass (but had to re-seed/re-sod a lot of it)
It has been a labor of love. This is our final home and the home we call the money pit.
There was a lot of work to be done when we bought it and there is still some work to be done in the years to come.
We have other wish-list items for our backyard, like a fire pit, a built in BBQ/outside kitchen, but we aren't going to do any of that for a 4-5 more years (when the pool fence comes down).

So, for a recap......
BEFORE {May 2010}

{May 2011}:

AFTER {May 2013}

BEFORE {May 2010}

{May 2011}
AFTER {May 2013}
 I am very, very, very happy with our backyard update. I am so thankful for all of Kevin's hard work with this project.
 Here is what the other side of our yard looks like:
Kevin ripped it out the dead stuff & we added some landscaping & 3 crepe myrtle trees.
And, the final section of the backyard that Kevin slaved over is the side area.
BEFORE it was just a bunch of weeds & overgrown plum trees that didn't produce anything.
Kevin spent months ripping it all out and building me garden boxes!
We also put in a little walkway around the garden boxes:
Close up of the garden boxes/walkway. Oh how I LOVE my garden!
 {You can see the entire Before & After of Phase 1 HERE.} 
It includes ALL the pics what what the backyard looked like when we first moved in.


  1. I love it Mel. such a beautiful relaxing space.

  2. Girl! Oh my heavens! Your yard looks FABULOUS! I am super, super, super impressed!

  3. I so wish I didn't live in MN. Would love to have a pool! Your hard work has paid off. This looks great!

  4. Oh Mel your yard is amazing. You guys did a great job.

    We are moving into a new home tomorrow and I am so excited but keep thinking of everything that we want to do. This post came at the perfect time..... :)

  5. Oh wow, it looks amazing. Such a nice space now! I'm sure it was costly but I'd bet you all will definitely get your money's worth out of it!

  6. Amazing difference!! It looks so good, Mel! Love the fence!!

  7. My goodness that was A TON of work, but it looks FABULOUS!!!!

  8. As a pool owner myself, I can really appreciate the hard work that went into this!! So beautiful!! I love the fence and how clean it all turned out. We need to replace our liner and all of the concrete around the pool as well. You are right, it is so expensive!! Great job!!!

  9. Your yard is gorgeous! I so want to do that side garden because we have an area like that too. Your pool is awesome.

  10. It is fabulous! And don't you love having the in progress photos so you can remember all you have done! We would love a pool -- but can't decide how long we will stay in this house, so don't want to invest if it won't be a LONG time!

  11. You mentioned wanting to replace the cracked concrete (expensive)... Have you considered having someone stamp your concrete instead... They can make it look like stone, brick, etc... It would most likely be cheaper, fix the cracks, and way less work just a thought. A lady I know did stone and it's beautiful, textured just like stones.

  12. What a difference! And a lot of work! Looks beautiful.

  13. Wow! Kevin killed it cutting those bushes down! We just bought a home with major over growth going on in the backyard. We have started the process of cutting stuff down. Reading this makes me feel like we need to really get on it if we want to be done by next summer! It looks beautiful!

  14. Visting from Show and Tell Tuesdays

    I love the redo. Just the first picture makes a whole world of difference. But the end products is beautiful, definitely well worth the investment of money.

    liz @ sundays with sophie

  15. Those before and after pictures are incredible! It barely looks like the same house in many spots. We also bought a house with too many years of overgrowth and lack of care. We are definitely still in phase 1 though - it's encouraging to see how far we can go. Great job on doing so much of it yourselves!

  16. Wow! What work to put in to the "pond"...love that they called it that. Looks great!!!

  17. Wow, amazing that you could see that the "pond" could ever become anything so beautiful!

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  19. To finalize your chicken coop design, you can import 3D models of chickens into DreamPlan. You can download the chickens and rooster that we used in our projects from archive3d.net here: building a fence



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