Saturday, October 5, 2013

Backyard Makeover!

Our Summer and Fall was amazing. It was the most beneficial growing season we've had yet! We have quite a big backyard for Holbrook. When we first moved in we were so excited because we knew we could do anything we wanted with it, there was just so much room! As spring came and weeds started popping up we retraked that whole "this big backyard is so cool" and it was more like "this big back yard can grow A LOT of weeds". We had weeds EVERYWHERE. I'm talking 5 foot fall, all over the place, weeds. When we got Barkley (3 years ago) he wouldn't leave the porch because it looked like a jungle! Kyle was awesome and weeded a little more him- but we never did much because we knew it would just grow back and unless we planted or did something in it's place we would be doing the same thing in a week. So- we just let it grow and burned the weeds when they dried out in the winter.

We were waiting to have enough money to do sod in the back and year after year the money we thought we would have just went to something else more important. (Like when we were digging the sprinkler system and broke the PVC Pipe gas line, yes- the builders put our gas line in with PVC pipe!)  If you look back on the posts I'm pretty sure every year for the past 4 years I've said "we are going to do grass this summer" and we just haven't been able to- until this year! Funny thing is- at the beginning of summer I told Kyle I wasn't even planning on grass. The Stake President had asked everyone to grow something that could be harvested/eaten so we put grass on the back burner and decided to grow a garden instead. The garden went okay for the first month and then started looking pretty pathetic. We had all these people in our ward saying how awesome their garden was doing and ours just wasn't growing. We were growing a lot of leaves, just no fruit buds. I did a little research and decided instead of watering every day I was going to water super deep every other day. WOW! What  a difference that made. We started getting actual flowers which turned into real food! We were super happy with our garden and knew it was the right move. Following the Lord's counsel is ALWAYS the right move, and he sure blessed us after that.

I was talking on the phone to my childhood friend Whitney who lives in Oregon when we started talking about my "future" plans for our backyard. I told her I really wanted one of those big wood play sets and we had the perfect place for it. Whitney told me all about how her Dad had a play set just like I described that they were wanting to get rid of since they didn't have any little kids at home anymore. She was going talk to her Dad and Step-Mom and see if I could have it. I was so excited but wasn't going to hold my breath. She called me back and they said if we could find a way to get it to Holbrook it would be ours. Yay!!

 First thing we needed to do to get the backyard ready for it was to get rid of the huge dead tree right behind where we would put the play set. You can check out all that here. I was so excited and we put our thinking caps on to figure out a way to get it up here. After a few different ways fell through I called my Dad and asked what he thought. My Dad definitely came to the rescue and figured it all out. I should add that we tried figuring out a way for about 2 months and my Dad came up with a plan and had it at our house in 3 days. We drove down to Buckeye on July 6th to get it. We went over to the Whitney's Dads the next morning and disassembled the playset and put it in the back of a cattle trailer. My Dad and Kyle drove it up to Holbrook, set it up, and unloaded it all in the same day. Aren't they awesome?!

Our backyard was totally coming along with our garden and our FREE playset. I was so happy. I started talking about how exciting it will be when the kids have grass to run and play one along with the playset. Kyle threw out the idea that we just throw some seed down and I was really hesitant. I didn't feel like you could just throw seed down and have it grow. I had heard such horror stories about all the weeds and stuff with seed and just wanted to do sod. After crunching numbers we decided that seed would be the best option for us. Sod for our backyard would be right around 1,000 after all was said and done. I was so nervous of us spending that much money and then having it all die. I crunched the numbers for seed and even after renting a rototiller and buying seed/feed it would only be about $150 (and I came in under budget at $130). We decided to go for it!

First we needed to move/burn this big pile of sticks from taking down the tree. While Kyle was at work I moved the pile- he had to help me with some really heavy branches though. The picture is of when we took the tree down, but check out that pile!

Under the pile we had another pile of concrete. I didn't do that one- I deferred the big heavy concrete to the man.
We had a couple dips in the ground and a big whole, so we filled those up and then started tilling it all up!

The ground wasn't very level so I used my resources and leveled it. In this case my resources happen to be the spring grind of a trundle bed. I tied rope to it and drug it around until the ground was all smooth! Worked like a charm!

We took a weekend break to go camping and then came home and finished it up! Kyle seeded and fed the seeds and then we laid some straw over it to help keep the moisture in. (Check out that growing garden in the background!)

It only took 4 days and we started seeing sprouting!

 It was a big day when we took down the fencing! We left the fence up for about 6 weeks for the grass to take good root before the kids and dogs started playing on it.

 As soon as we took down the fence the kids were out playing baseball. It was the cutest thing!

I am SO happy to get grass in and our backyard started. It is amazing the transformation that it has gone through. Now that we have some good bones down we can start adding some rocks to the garden, some bricks along the grass, make the fence pretty- that kind of thing. It's not done yet, but I'm sure proud of the progress we've made! All the work was well worth it. I am a firm believer though that we wouldn't have been able to do any of it if we hadn't have listen to the Stake President's counsel to plant a garden. We may not have gotten lots of veggies from our garden but we were blessed with a much more appealing place for our kids to enjoy the outdoors. 

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