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The Story of our Backyard Work In Progress

Our backyard story is a bit dramatic. From poorly-built, (glass)screened-in back porches with bad, green, indoor-outdoor carpet to a big patch of grass with untapped potential and lots of mud holes, it was not exactly our dream backyard. But it had the space. It had the potential. We got to work.

Emphasis on the word work. The vast amount of what has been done has been the result of sweat equity, with the exception of the new concrete and pool. We didn't start on the backyard for a couple years after purchasing the house, because obviously the inside was our focus. Then one day I got a wild hair and decided I was tired of our red brick exterior. Since the siding was white and I wanted everything to blend seamlessly, I bought two five-gallon buckets of white brick paint, a brush, and, to the dismay of my family and neighbors, started painting the exterior brick myself. No one has ever accused me of not being determined or stubborn. Once I get an idea in my head, I'm going to figure out a way to make it happen. End of story. Here's me in all my craziness.

I'm still painting white bricks, y'all. In fact, it's next on my list of to-dos today after I write this blog. We've got some new ones on our new backyard additions that need to be covered in white. More on that next week.

The first thing we tackled in the back yard was our pool. It was something we wanted for our kids, especially our autistic son who found comfort in the water, and it was the main priority. It was nice to have someone else do all the work for once! The pool helped set the layout for how we would use the backyard. I knew I wanted some covered space to entertain and chill, but the inherited glassed-in porch that spanned almost the entirety of the back of the house wasn't exactly a dream. It was dated and closed things off from the pool, making the layout seem choppy. Also, my husband needed an office, so we decided to devote half of the space to that. The old, poorly built structure came down and new framing, bricks, and roof went up!

It went from a space we avoided to one we now frequent! Even though we closed in half of that porch, opening up the other half makes it feel just as big and the new pavers connect the space to the pool, making the space feel cohesive and enormous! Speaking of pavers, that's another thing I tackled that may have been just as crazy as the bricks! Once I learned I could use a sand that bonded the pavers together and the only ones I'd actually have to stick down with mortar were the edges, I was all in! Brick masons now have my utmost respect above all other trades! It's tough work, y'all! I learned how to properly mix mortar and use a wet saw and though it took me days and days to finish, I did it! And I love it! I think the color is perfect, a nice warm contrast to the starkness of the white bricks and black fence.

Annnndddd speaking of the wasn't always black. It started out an old, weathered picket fence. We removed that one to add an eight-foot high, horizontal, thick-board fence that makes the backyard feel like our own little compound. Initially I wanted a brown stain and I swear the sample I got looked more brown but after I committed and bought gallons of it, I realized, too late, that it was a reddish-orange color that I was not fond of at all. But for the sake of not being wasteful, I used what I'd bought and dealt with it. Two years later, when my husband mentioned we should freshen it up and re-stain, I was beyond excited to do what The Rolling Stones advised all the years ago: PAINT IT BLACK!

I love it. It goes more with our design aesthetic and the vision I have for our two new structures currently being built now (see concrete pad in that last photo). More on that process this week!

I believe our exterior spaces should be given as much design consideration as our interiors. They can expand our square footage and provide a retreat for our families, both as individuals and for time together.

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Redfin Feature

Check out my latest design feature via Redfin! The article talks about using creams and beiges in design and I'm excited to be a part of it!


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