Backyard Boogie

Spring is absolutely, without a doubt, HERE! We had a heat wave a few weeks ago, and a week of rain, and believe it or not I think we’ve FINALLY seen the last of the fall leaves.

About the leaves: there are a ton of trees in our neighborhood, and with a warm winter and no heavy snows that sat on the ground for weeks at a time, the leaves just never seemed to go away. We must have taken at least five trips to the transfer station, with five bags of leaves each. (The nice thing is that they have a huge pile for leaves, sticks, and other green waste).

After the heat wave, we had a rainy week and have had rainy days since then. The problem with the backyard is the amount of sun it gets. The “back 40” as we call it, or the area behind the existing fence, gets plenty of sunlight:

The fenced-in space behind the house (near) stays pretty shady, which means that none of the grass we planted last year took off at all. Not even weeds really like it. Not compared to the more sunny spot (far), once you get past the kitchen’s wall:

Additionally, there is a slope from the base of the house down to the “back 40” which I estimate to be about a foot. I haven’t busted out Pythagorean’s Theorem or anything to figure out the real difference in elevation, but I do plan to so.

The solution we’ve come up with is a deck behind the house, covering the “mud pit.” It truly is a mud pit for several days after a good rain, and to let Mosey outside (while it’s in its “mud pit” state) we have to take him out on the leash in the front yard. In the middle of the night. When it’s chilly. Sad face. Back to the deck though. I’d like to see one built out of trex, the plastic “wood” that will not rot, crack, etc. It’s more expensive but the deck will last longer. Wood is fine, if kept up with regular maintenance. Seeing how the house is a rental owned by the in-laws, unfortunately it’s hard to tell how much effort and upkeep the future tenants will put into keeping a wooden deck nice. Flagstone would be OK if the ground was level, but I like the slope since it keeps water away from the base of the house and building a retaining wall would–you guessed it–retain water in all the wrong places. I think. (Not an expert over here. Just using logic).

Here’s what I dreamed up for the backyard on Note that there are lots of “extras” I’d like to see if we in fact owned the house or were planning on living here for, say, 5+ years. For instance, the additional flagstone patio set farther back (ideally with a meandering flagstone path from one patio to the other) and large shrubs and a garden area.  Since we don’t plan on ringing in 2017 in this house, they are just that: dreams. Sorry for the tiny text.

And just for fun, here’s a little 3D action.

And from the back:

Of course, I’ve posted before about how fun it would be to build a small structure or move in airstream trailer in the back half (where the imaginary flagstone patio) for additional indoor-outdoor living space. I mean, there is PLENTY of room. A backyard this big is kind of a trip for a California girl like me, used to teeny tiny strips of grass out back!


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Staci blogs about travel at

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