Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Our New Patio

When we first bought our house, the flagstone patio in the backyard was beautiful!  But over the years the weeds have taken over, the flagstones have shifted, the sand in between has been blown away and the whole thing has just turned into a big mess.  Jeff has been saying that he wants to re-do it for a couple of years now.  And as much as I would have loved for him to do it himself, I just didn't think he knew how much work was involved (he tends to underestimate on those sorts of things).  

Our backyard patio - BEFORE

Anyway, with Renee being mobile and wanting to play outside a lot more often, the flagstone was even more of a problem.  It was way too uneven for her already unsteady little toddler walking capabilities and it was really not a good place for her to play.  It was simultaneously adorable and heartbreaking to watch her try to traverse the dangerous rocky terrain that was our backyard.  So, although I hated to use our daughter to push my own agenda, Renee ended up being the perfect excuse to justify spending the money and finally having our patio re-done professionally.

We went with a local company, Dumars Landscaping, and they were great to work with.  The landscape designer took note of all our ideas and how much we were willing to spend and came up with a great design (which was totally free of charge, we were surprised!).  The best and least expensive option, as well as the only one our budget would allow, was regular old concrete with a little color and a salt finish to make it pretty.  And here it is:


We had a ton of left over flagstone (all of it basically), so Jeff put in the pretty path to the arbor and back portion of the yard.  Just doing that one small part took him most of a day and he was super sore after, but I think he did a really great job!!

And here is the rest of the patio:


They also continued the concrete to make a path along the side of our house, complete with section for our BBQ and our garbage bins.  It is so much nicer than the stepping stones we had before!!!

Last weekend (5/21) my mom came over to help me pick out some new plants to put in to fill in all the dirt area that we had.  Jeff stayed home and took care of Renee while Mom and I went to Orchard and Home Depot and filled my little Civic to the brim with plants!  It was a challenge to find plants that met all of my requirements: drought tolerant, good in full sun, low maintenance, and pretty.  We ended up going with a lavender, russian sage, and salvia (another type of sage) which fit all of my criteria and will fill in the area nicely.  And my mom treated me to a succulent bed in a shady spot of the yard (by the fence, under my bird houses).  

The next day we had our friends Jason & Jodi, and their kids Keira & Jackson over.  The weather was perfect and we spent tons of time out in the yard.

Action shot of Jack Jack, and some of the new plants.

We also got a hand-me-down slide from one of our neighbors that weekend.  Renee, Keira and Jack Jack had a ton of fun playing on it.  It was perfect timing!!

Of course, they didn't need kids toys to have fun.  A few fly nets kept them busy for quite a while:

Silly kiddos!

This past weekend Jeff and I planted a plum tree, made a concrete bench and laid out whole bunch of mulch to keep the moisture in and (hopefully) block out the majority of weeds.  I'll post some pictures next week after the bench is done curing and we've put it in place under the new plum tree.

It is all coming together so nice, I'm loving it!!!  And since this blog is supposed to be about Renee, she is loving it too!  Actually, she is just loving all the opportunities to be outside with Mommy and Daddy while we are working in the garden.  She has so much fun out there.  I got her some sidewalk chalk to color on the new patio and her Grandma Karen got her some kid size garden tools that she enjoys using to dig in the dirt with.  She recently learned the word rock, which sounds more like, "rah!" when she says it.  So she'll walk around the yard with a couple rocks that she found, chanting, "rah, rah!"  She LOVES the chickens and the duck, and follows them around the yard clucking the way I taught her, "ducka, duckaahh!"  Sometimes she'll pick some mint or flower petals and put them up to her nose, exclaiming, "Mmmmmm!!" (also, something I taught her).  Then she'll bring them up to me and stick them in my face, I always play along and make a big deal of how good they smell.  She also has fun throwing the ball for the dogs when she can get her hands on it.  They try their best to keep it away from her though, it takes her forever to throw it and it never goes very far, not the ideal game of fetch for Sophie and Kirby!  I could go on and on with all the cute little things she does out in the yard, it's so much fun watching her learn and explore and get dirty.  

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