I set out collecting quotes for work to be done, from tree trimming to synthetic grass (yep, here in the desert my friends it is the way to go). But I stumbled across a gold min while I was sharing my project with my neighbor Amanda. She told me they had a friend named Bob who was an all around handyman and would do the work for cheap. I called Bob immediately and he came the next day. I am not sure I ever made a better decision (aside from marrying Elliott of course). Bob's price was way below my budgeted amount and we completed the work within a couple of weeks.
Once again, I was a bad photographer and failed to capture a picture of step #1 - cleaning up the trees and bushes. It took Bob and our neighbor Pete almost a whole day and a gazillion pieces of wood later to make the backyard look like this:
It is so open with so much more ambient light. We learned in the process that it wasn't the trees keeping the sunlight out, it's just the way the houses are situated. Which will make summer that much more enjoyable with almost daylong shade. And why Elliott had a dickens of a time making grass grow back there. We removed a couple of out of control bushes and cut everything way, way back.
Step #2 - put in a small concrete patio. Well, that didn't happen. Long story. So on to step #3 - put in grass, laying sod over the entire dirt patch. So Bob graded it and prepped it for the sod, which I had delivered so it was ready and waiting for him (I even had a bit extra left over to share with our neighbors.)
Elliott's brother Josh built me this lovely planter box to replace some of the pulled out bushes. He had built a couple for their house and I fell in love. For Christmas Josh and Lizzie gave us some homemade coupons and I cashed in the "free lawn maintenance" coupon for this beauty. Isn't she purty? This week the girls and I went to the nursery and picked up a couple of cherry tomato plants, herbs and some marigolds. I wanted to fill it with items that I wouldn't mourn too much if the girls started picking them. Herbs grow even more when trimmed and if I lose a couple of cherry tomatoes, there should be plenty more. We can't wait!
TA-DA! Isn't it lovely? I am so excited for the weather to get a wee bit warmer so that we can spend hours out there. It makes me so happy just to look at this picture. I think I am in love.