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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Soaking up the Sun

This week has been an interesting week what with getting ready to leave my current job as well as getting up a whole 2 hours earlier than I normally do I have had no motivation to try any new crafts/projects this week.  I didnt want to leave you empty handed today though, so I wanted to share with you our backyard transformation.  I am sad to say however the grass is no longer as green due to the horrible drought we had this past summer but hopefully come this spring we can nurse it back to life.  Below is pretty much what we enjoy today.  The only addition we have is the awesome umbrella we got from Pier 1 last year...its really amazing very Moroccan looking.  They dont have it this year but let me just tell you I didnt want to tell anyone where I got it so I could have the only one, horrible yes, but hey I have the best umbrella in the neighborhood so thats what I wanted!

Wow look at all that dirt!  So our backyard was just grass and my husband was dying to do a make over to it so he drew up a great sketch and we went from there.  What we did was outline the area of the yard we wanted to dig up with stakes and sting.  Joe spent 3 days digging up all the grass in between the fence and the stakes (he took a week off of work so its ok he wanted to do it lol). 

For a while we had that brick as an extension of the patio (if we added concrete we would void the warranty on the slab and i didnt want to do that) to help with the rain run-off from the roof since we dont have gutters in the backyard.
 When Joe was digging he dug down about 1inch to lay the bricks.  The bricks are to hold the tarp lining in place which helps weeds from growing and also keeps the grass from growing back over the stone we are laying.  This is actually a pretty important step because it keeps you path clear.  Our path has been down for a year and we only have a slight problem with weeds, but no problem with the grass.  Using the tarp as a bottom layer is also important to minimize the weeds that come through.  You can see Oreo was a big help for Joe :)
 After all the tarp was down Joe started laying the mulch and grushed ganite.  I didnt want to do concrete I liked the look of crushed granite better.  This took a while because he had to bring wheel barrows full of the granite and mulch from the driveway where it was dumped to the backyard.  Long process I tell you.
 You can see from this picture that we actually seperated the path into 2 parts, one part is for plants and thats where the mulch is going the other part is for the walkway, both of which are lined with brick for the reasons mentioned above.  We bought the black mulch which is more expensive but after 1 year is still black.  The regular mulch turns an ugly color after about 3 months so the black mulch was definately worth the money.
After all the crushed granite is down the fun* (*not fun) part begins!  Laying flagstone is like putting together a puzzle.  You have to fit all the pieces together to make a perfect match.  Sometimes you have to break the stone (which is pretty easy this stuff is pretty fragile) to make it fit but take your time, lay it on the grass first and move it to the crushed granite when you know you have what you want.  Spacing is important, you want to find the right balance for the look you are going for.  I wanted my pieces pretty close together so thats what Joe did but if you like big gaps then you wont need as much stone, and if you want your pieces right on top of each other then you will probably need a lot more, just depends on what you are going for. 

So like I said this took the longest because puzzles are never easy and he had to bring 2 tons of the flagstone from the driveway to the backyard.  I think this took him 3 days to get it all laid out like he wanted, but it looks pretty good right :)  You cant tell from any of these pictures, but this stone has a metallic sheen to it which I love and was the main reason I picked it.  I love looking down and seeing the shine in the stone, so pretty.
 After the puzzle was done another layer of crushed granite goes on top to seal all the cracks.  At first the stones are pretty loose and move around a little but the longer it sits the more the granite becomes like concrete holding everything in place.  It has taken about 1 year for everything to settle and not have stray pieces of granite all around but Im sure it wouldnt have taken as long if I had swept but I hate sweeping so I just decided to wait it out.

 You do need to sweep here so you can make sure all the cracks are filled and you arent missing any spaces.  You will need to do this probably 2 or 3 times just to make sure you have a good filling.

Im such a big help I know, reading my kindle while my husband slaves, but hey I brought him 2 beers!  Im a good wife, I know when to stay out of the way!
 Oreo loves out backyard, sun-bathing on the weekends is one of his favorite things.
 With some added decor and plants the backyard turned into our little oasis.  I love sitting out here and just enjoying the day, its so peaceful in our neighborhood its great to relax here.
 Some great patio furniture from Target and a not so great firepit from Wal-Mart (seriously this thing started rusting after 2 weeks, piece of crap) we were ready to go! 
 Now I cant lie I do want to make changes and the main change is that I want to make an outdoor grill/brick oven in the back where the grill is now.  I think we may work on that this spring as we just bought a new stainless steel grill.  Other small changes are I want to add a trellis for some shade and 2 lounge chairs for sunning but the bulk of the work was done last year and we could not be more happy about how it turned out.

Do you have an awesome backyard that you love?  Did you do it yourself or did you hire someone, share!

Project Housewife Out!


  1. What a beautiful project!!! I found you on the Ultimate Blog Party! I'm your newest follower. Megan

    1. Thanks Megan! We really love it...all that hard work paid off :)