Our backyard is a work in progress and a labor of love. The backyard was the first project we started not long after we moved in. The previous owners had a large portion of the backyard cleared before we purchased the house, but there was still plenty of work to be done.

As soon as we moved in, I put my husband and his dad to work installing a fence around the pool…SAFETY FIRST! A couple hours of using a hammer drill and masonry bit, and the 35 posts were set. The fence came in 5 panel sections allowing quick installation and removal. It’s not super attractive, but I desperately needed the piece of mind.

Our plan was to install a new privacy fence and replace all of the bushes near the house and pool. That was until we learned that our property line extended about 60 feet beyond the point where we THOUGHT it ended. Unfortunately, this additional 60 feet was completely covered in bamboo. If you’ve ever dealt with bamboo, I’m sure you feel my pain. If you haven’t…think long and hard about planting bamboo in your yard.
Bamboo is incredibly invasive and grows at an insane rate. We had the bamboo completely leveled and it was about 3 feet tall two weeks after it was cleared. We have been trying to fight it by cutting and poisoning it. I am afraid it’s going to be a constant battle!

Once the land was cleared, we had the old fence removed and a new privacy fence installed near our property line. Look at all the room for activities!

Next up…SOD! My husband and I thought it would be a great idea to do it ourselves and had a flatbed of 7 cubic yards of topsoil and 14 pallets of sod delivered. We made it through 10 straight hours the first day, just about killed ourselves, then decided it was time to call in backup. With the help of my brother and my husband’s dad, we were able to finish laying the last few pallets. It is really incredible how much quicker the work gets done with just two additional people. If only we had called in the favors a little bit earlier!

It’s so satisfying to look back at pictures and know that we did this! We could have easily paid someone (an arm and a leg) to come lay sod for us, but it just wouldn’t have been as rewarding. Truth be told, it’s a lot of grass…maybe too much, but our kids and dogs love it.

Once the sod was in place, it was on to the next phase of the project! The back yard of our house had really old bushes and trees that had never been very well maintained. They were very hardy and either partially dead or overgrown. I began removing the old bushes and tree stumps that surrounded the pool and lined the house. Removing the bushes was a very long and tiring process because I was simply using a shovel…but it was a great workout!

I replaced the pine straw with square pavers. Between the pavers, I planted dwarf mondo grass. Mondo grass stays a really pretty green all year round and doesn’t grow too quickly, but gives the nice green border for the pavers. The great thing about mondo grass is that when the plants get bigger, you can separate them into several different clusters. I bought a few large clusters that grew fairly quickly. Once they were big enough, I was able to separate them, which saved me a bunch of money.

I think it’s safe to say that we burned ourselves out on the backyard last year. There is still a lot to do in both the back and front yards, but we’re going to be more sensible about it this spring.