Backyard Dreams

With our new garage up, our entire backyard takes on a whole new shape. What was once a space dominated by a two story structure that looked like it was going to fall over any second, is now a clean, sleek, blank canvas just ready to be redone.

When the weather is nice in Cleveland, our friends who live just a few minutes away are always throwing the best cook outs. We are over there a ton in the summer, and to be quite honest, we’ve always been jealous that we don’t have the type of yard that could entertain. Up until now, it just didn’t seem like a possibility. But with our new garage, we’re starting to have visions of what could be possible. So that’s why I took the plans we had to submit to the city and started drawing on them. I came up with a pretty basic plan for what I think could be a great back yard. Check it out.

It’s important to start by saying that we have a giant tree in our backyard. You may remember that I had to cut off some of the lower branches (which involved me standing on top of a van with a chainsaw) just so that we could even walk around back here. Absolutely nothing grows under this tree. I’ve read that it’s a combination of no sun getting in and the roots of the tree eating up all the nutrients. So what will happen below this tree is, for now, still up in the air. We thought about mulching it, but then when the leaves fall, we’ve got a mix of leaves and mulch that will be tough to rake. If anyone has any ideas, feel free to leave them in a comment.
But now on to the things we’re pretty sure of. Next to the garage we are planning on doing a stone patio. This has always been wasted space for us. If the old garage was going to fall, it was going to fall on this. Between the tree, the garage, and the neighbor’s house behind (which is literally on the property line), not much can grow back here either. The grass is real thin and looks pretty awful. So we came up with the idea to get rid of the vegetation, dig it all up, and have a little patio. We could put a little table back here with some chairs, and this would be a great place to sit. In the summer it wouldn’t get too hot since it’s entirely shaded, and we were thinking of stringing some lights up above it with some lattice work and creating a cozy, dreamy spot for evenings. I could see Kerry and I, and lots of friends, spending some amazing nights back there.
Behind the old garage used to be three feet of overgrown madness. Now we have five feet of dirt. There isn’t really enough space to do anything back there, but our plan is to put gravel behind and to the left of the garage. We’ll put some plastic down below it. This will make sure the area doesn’t get overgrown again, but it will allow us to get back there if we need to do any painting or work. There is about 2 feet of space to the left, so again, gravel will just be a good way to keep the area tidy.
Closer to the house, we run into some more unknowns. Next spring our deck is probably going to need to be replaced. One of the stairs has been attempting to trip us since we moved in, and I happened to notice recently that the entire thing is supported by cinder blocks. Not exactly up to code, I imagine. The shape of it actually works really well. We put our grill on the little extension now. I’m tempted to widen that extension two or three feet. That will make the stairs a little more narrow, which is fine, but it will give us just a little more space back there.
We’ve thought about expanding the deck to the right, but we have two large air conditioning units right there. They are both fairly large so if we built the deck over them, you’d have to step up two or three steps, and you’d have to crawl underneath to get to them… it just makes sense to leave the deck layout as is.
We do want to hide those A/C units, to a degree. Right now, there are some bushes hiding them. That’s actually exactly what we want, but we kind of hate the bushes we have. They are way too tall. Unnecessarily tall for what they are trying to hide. If the ones we have now can be cut much shorter, I think they can stay. If not, we’ll have to get new ones. I’ll have to ask my gardening expert (aka my dad) what the verdict is.
Between the bushes and the tree… that’s the one place in our yard that actual grass can grow, so I think we need to take advantage of it. I’d hate to have a backyard with absolutely NO grass, so this is where it’s going to have to be. Hey, at least there’s not much to mow.
So that’s our plan. Check back in the spring and we’ll see if it actually comes to life!

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