Backyard Makeover: The Plan

March 8, 2019

Spring is right around the corner and that means we are officially kicking off our first big project on our new home: the backyard. It is a complete blank slate. Literally, there is one plant (a gorgeous  peony bush!!) and the rest is all grass with a concrete patio area. Having zero trees was a huge change for us. Our previous home had multiple huge old trees in our backyard and it made for complete privacy. Now, at our new home, we have no trees so its killing me. I feel like I’m in a fish bowl anytime I’m in the backyard. So with that said, our number one need is privacy.

We knew we we needed at at least one actual tree in the backyard so with that in mind I stumbled upon this program in Portland that is a free tree giveaway! Trees are expensive so when I saw they were literally just giving trees away I was intrigued. Upon further research they basically do this to help increase the canopy growth in Portland. Only stipulations: the trees are planted on your property, within Portland boundaries.Limit 2 per household. Sold. They had several different species of trees to choose from that could all be found within the Portland area. We registered for two trees and selected a Ginko(male) and Kentucky Espresso Coffee Tree. We planted the Coffee Tree in the backyard and the Ginko in the front. I can’t wait for them to actually look more like trees rather than twigs:|

Okay, so we now have one tree in the backyard and one peony bush. BUT we have big plans for the yard! We want to create a modern English garden. The house itself is an English Tudor and we are trying to modernize while still retaining the character. So doing a modern take on an English Garden just felt right.  I created these renderings(below) to see our vision come together before we get started.

*The whole yard is actually fenced in but I left spots in the fence out so that I could better work around and see things in the program. *We have a detached garage so the building you see is the garage not the house. Our house is at the end of what will be the lavender walkway with another small yard area between the garage and the house. This is the area we plan to put a vegetable garden.*Again, the yard is fully fenced so the garage door/driveway is not actually in the backyard. There is a gate to access the driveway to the left of where the white planters are.

So here is what we have planned…

  1. Create a lavender lined walk way where there is currently grass
  2. Build six, 6ftx2ft cedar planter boxes that will contain bamboo. Four will run along the back fence and the other two will be behind what will be the fire pit area along the west fence line. Bamboo grows really fast and will give us the privacy we want quickly while also giving us the modern vibe we are after. We are using a bamboo liner in the planters to prevent the roots from spreading. The renderings show what the original concept was for the planters but we have since decided to something a little simpler, still modern but not quite so modern. But you still get the idea of what we are going for.
  3. Build a wood arbor canopy over the current cement patio area to create a covered patio (and remove the ancient basketball hoop that exists there now).
  4. Build 8-10 person wood dining table
  5. Use decomposed granite to create a fire-pit patio area. We plan to get a rectangular concrete propane fireplace flanked with an outdoor sofa and chairs.
  6. Create separate vegetable garden/kid area in the space between the house and the detached garage. (This area will likely be done is two phases. At first we will just simply add our planter boxes so we can get a vegetable garden established for the year. Phase II  of this area will likely happen in spring 2020. We will remove all the grass and add landscape cloth throughout, covered in pea gravel. Then I think we will add a small playhouse for Luna and potentially a swing if we can figure out a space to make that happen.)

We are basically going to work through our list in the above order. Some of these are definitely more things my husband will be taking more control of (he is building all the planter boxes but I designed them!) while others will be my projects. I will be tackling the lavender lined walk way, hopefully this weekend if the weather permits, otherwise I will  just gather all my materials and start next weekend.

I’m so excited to get this backyard makeover started! We live outside all summer long so I can’t wait to be able to see our efforts all come together and start hosting our friends and family for big outdoor dinner parties! Stay tuned for upcoming posts as we check each project off the list! My goal is for it to be done by my 30th birthday…that means we have 3 1/2ish months! I think we can do it 🙂

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