Yard Work


Our front/back yard in July 2011.

Because despite years of blogging I still suck at ‘before’ photos

It’s a front/back yard because it’s the front of the house but the back of the property. The house faces away from the road.

Nothing about this house is easy, not even the nomenclature. So I really should not have been surprised that the mud room isn’t actually a ‘mud room’ but a covered porch.

See those boards on the porch? That was the layout for the accursed porch thingy, which we said we’d start building ASAP.

11 months later this is as far as we have gotten


Doors and windows!!!

Not yet bug proof because as you can see there is a big gap at the bottom of the door. We need a sill plate to stop up that gap but sill plates cost money, as do window trim, siding, paint, air vents & a pet door.

One new truck transmission later and we have no money for sill plates, trim, siding, paint, air vents & a pet door. So construction is stalled while we save up a few hundred dollars to finish this, but the room is functional as a place to leave muddy and or wet stuff, which is fine by me. It’s gotten too humid out to leave the front door open so the lack of bug proofing doesn’t really matter right now.

Come October I’ll want it to be bug proof so I can leave the door open and have nice breezes in the house.

So, with construction on the accursed porch thingy stalled we moved on to the next item on the yard work list, much of which can be done for no money at all, but lots of back breaking labor.


back to the july 2011 reference photo

The plan is to get rid of the underused swingset entirely, move the deck over to where the swingset is, move the pool back to where the deck is now and do *something* about the space where the pool is. We’ve talked about installing pavers and having a patio, or pouring concrete so the kids have a place to play basketball or I don’t know…rollerblade should they be so inclined.

But while driving the hour to go get DH’s truck, after talking about costs & time lines etc I said screw it, lets just make it grass all around where the pool sits and leave the pool up year round like most people do. Sod would be nice for instant lawn but grass seed is much cheaper.

Though problematic due to seed eating free range chickens.

And we’ll need some top soil for the grass seed.

See, that whole area in front of the house was covered in gravel when we bought the house. It was a huge parking lot. We’ve been slowly reclaiming that space & turning it into lawn since 1999. So the ground under the sand where the pool sits is hard packed earth that oil & various car fluids leaked onto from 1982 until 1999.

Top soil is sort of necessary if we want grass to grow.

But of course dirt ain’t free. Or cheap. I don’t know where the phrase ‘dirt cheap’ came from but they were not talking about top soil.

So obviously we add top soil to the list of stuff we need to buy eventually (we already have grass seed), but we can move stuff around for free.

Phase one – disassemble & remove the swingset


Phase 2 – move deck


see how it’s now shaded by the tree? and right at prime cookout eating time.

Phase 3 – dig up gravel & set up pool


Mayhem was far too eager to get in the pool. The water was only up to his ankles at this point.

Phase 4 – top soil & seeding – coming in July 2012!

or October 2012 or May 2013… whatever… the hard labor part is done.

My back is killing me from all the gravel shoveling & I had to scrub out the tub when I was done showering because I was so filthy.

Now I need to do something about the forsythia bush. It’s been invaded by a jasmine plant & while I like jasmine it’s strangling the forsythia.

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7 comments to Yard Work

  • Wow, you’ve been so busy! I know what you mean about the frustration of having no spare cash for jobs – grrr!
    Do you have Craigslist or something in your area? Could you sell the swingset? It looks quite nice from the photos; maybe you could get enough money to fund something – top soil / bug proofing / whatever is most urgent for the money? Also, in this part of the world, it’s often possible to get stuff like topsoil for nothing – we have a Freecycle branch locally and people sometimes give some away (along with all kinds of weird & wonderful stuff). Maybe now is a good time to investigate, while you wait for your backache to recede…(poor you!).

    Love the deck – would like one of those too! Enjoy the cookouts! x

    • We’re keeping an eye on freecycle & the local Trader Paper. We often see ‘free if you haul’ ads for various kinds of dirt, though lately it’s all ‘fill dirt’. We’re selling the swings but the slide platform is going to become part of boys tree fort that we hope to build next spring, or whenever we find the supplies in the Trader. I keep hoping to see some siding listed.

  • Here’s a stupid question. How do you keep your pool clean? I want to get a bigger pool like that but I’m kind of afraid of the costs to keep the water clean and the bottom not slimy. You should post about that. :)

    • I get this chlorine floater box that Aqua Chem sells & leave it in the pool when the kids aren’t in it. The box is full of little tablets & you punch out holes in it depending on how much water you have & the tablets slowly dissolve over about 8-9 weeks or so for my size pool, which is the single hole option. It’s about $40 but it works very well. So much better than anything else I have tried.

  • It is progress, for many it would still look like the “before” pics. I think ya’ll are going to really enjoy the room and especially the deck being in the shade :)

  • It really is a beautiful spot. You would laugh if you saw our tiny back garden: the swing set is practically balanced on top of the trampoline!