The Big Backyard Reveal

I know I’ve been talking about writing this post forever, so here goes. If I have time this morning, I’ll try to post Five on Friday too. This summer we have been slowly working on transforming our backyard into something less rocky.  I didn’t want to drone on in post after post about how we moved some dirt.  I’d rather fill post after post about paint drying.  Our grand backyard plans had four reasons  which made it more urgent/elaborate:

1. Hazelnut.

Our pretty puppy required a fence to contain her exuberance.  We love her but wanted her to be able to run in our backyard.  We also wanted to just let her out when nature called.

2. Grill

Some @sshole tried to steal our grill off the deck.  The only place they could have come from was the apartments behind us.

3. Smoker

For my birthday I requested and received a smoker . . . which can not be placed on a wood deck.  We needed to find a location for the smoker so that I could get on that.

4. Hurricane Season

Last year our outdoor sump pump failed and we had a basement full of water.  Earlier this year we upgraded our indoor sump pump system and backup sump pump but still required something other than our current outdoor system.

Greg and I came up with a game plan and started making calls and laying our design.  Our first stage involved our neighbors removing about 80-90 percent of those stones from the yard.  We kept a handful of them to use for decorating purposes.  Next year we want to buy pavers for the side of the house and continue them in the backyard as our border.

Once they removed them to their yard, I called Nicketts Landscaping because they could handle the new drainage system, removing the remaining stones, take the stump, and trim our bushes.  Best of all, they could do it in one day.

Before you ask, we called around to a bunch of other water experts—they all had the same suggestion as Nicketts.  Greg’s parents also use Nicketts on a regular basis, so we knew they were reliable.

They also provided the name of a fence company who we called.  Our grand plan involved 6” white vinyl privacy fence along the back and then two picket fences running from either side of the house to our neighbors fences with gates on each side.

The quote astounded us.

After getting a few more, we were still in shock.  The first company remained the lowest cost, therefore AAction fence was the winner!

But there were a few things we needed to take care before either one of them could work.

First, we needed a permit.  One application and$50 fee later, our buddy at the borough building handed Greg the permit.

Seconded we needed to cut a few trees and clean up the back portion of the yard.

Oh and we needed to remove the stump but you already know it came out after a bit of humping.

That video still makes me laugh.

We had decided to put the fence three feet in from our property line due to a giant stump and two trees. It wasn’t worth spending over $1000 to remove them for the little bit of space but we had a tree we could easily remove ourselves.

But first we needed to borrow a few tools from my dad.  We spent a morning/afternoon cutting the tree and killing my garden.

Killing the garden?

Yes, you see the only way the branches could fall was into my garden.  The tomatoes and jalapenos never full recovered.

Hazel loved this part because she had access to stick after stick.  It was like a buffet for her—she’s just move on to the next stick.

All of this resulted in a huge yard waste pile for Nicketts.

They came and apparently I didn’t take pictures.

We still had a bit to clear out in the back . . . Greg use one of his summer hours Fridays to work on it . . . and got the worst case of poison itchvy from it.  Then we went to remove something in the back and step on part of a broken, rusty wire fence which went through his shoe and foot.

After several doctors appointments, the fence day came.

With our permit taped to the window, we were ready to roll.

I didn’t want to seem like a stalker but my coworker Michael kept asking for pictures.  So every now and then I would sneak them and email it to him in Florida.


A few hours later, we let Hazel try her first taste of backyard freedom.  She was completely and utterly confused.  Hazel soon learned what freedom was like and now wants it all the time.

Now, you are probably thinking the story is over.  Nope, two more things left– I promise.

We had to install trellis along part of the shed to prevent a puppy for chasing a squirrel under it.  We bought plastic trellis because it was cheaper than the wood and required less work on our part.  This exercise should be called the day Diane Broke Two Dremel bits.

Oh yeah, home improvement queen right here

After that, Greg let me do my own thing which involved prettying up the yard.  We added flowers by the shed (seen in shed picture above) and I created a mulch border around the deck with a platform for my smoker. I used the stones to act as the border for the mulch, woohoo repurposing!

Does it look great?  Sorry for the lack of pictures, apparently I didn’t take many.  We know there is still much to do in the backyard but were very happy with the progress we made this summer.


3 thoughts on “The Big Backyard Reveal

  1. I can’t stop laughing about that video, either 🙂

    The yard looks great!! I hope your basement water woes are over. If you have any more trouble, give me a ring, I might have some more native landscaping ideas that you could run by your guys at Nicketts to see if they would help (it depends on your soil, slope, etc.).

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