Tuesday, October 19, 2010

side yard makeover

We live in a small apartment. Two bedrooms (our room and our office), 1.5 bathrooms, and a kitchen/living room that is separated by a divider (our bar). In the past, I've loved our apartment, because it is cozy, the walls are green, and it's mine, but lately I feel like we've outgrown the space. I want a house. A yard. A third bedroom. STORAGE. Alas, we're stuck where we are for a few more years, at the very least. In the meantime we busy ourselves with all the inexpensive home improvements we can afford.

One of our recent projects was the side yard. I use the term "yard" loosely, as it is really just the dirt area adjacent to the AC units and the path on which we walk to get to our back "patio" - also used loosely. When we first moved in, the side yard looked like this:

(Pardon Seamus' butt - this was the best photo I could find.) 

As you can see, the retaining wall was beginning to crumble, the dirt sloped down hill, and it wasn't much to look at. This past summer, we started working on the outside area. First, the homeowners' association paid to re-do the wall and put in a snazzy railing. We took this opportunity to extend the wall by building a flower bed and filling in the dirt to make it all one level.



Once that was done, Nathan was able to convince a local place to give us broken pieces of stone and slate from the refuse pile. We were able to piece together a path that led from the front porch to the back porch. It took a few tries to get it just right - the pieces were different sizes and thicknesses, the path needed a pretty hefty curve. This stage took us about two weeks, two Citronella candles (mosquitoes!), a number of beers.


Once the path was laid out, we filled in the spaces with sand so they wouldn't move or shift. Then, we put edging on the outside to keep them in place, and moved a bunch of bulbs and flowers from the front yard to the back yard, where they immediately bloomed! Nathan has plans to cultivate a moss garden on the earth around the path, but for now this is our masterpiece. Not too shabby!



Do you live in a house or an apartment? Which do you prefer? I used to love my apartment because it was small and easy to take care of, but with two dogs, more stuff, and noisy neighbors, I'm longing for the space and privacy that only a house can offer.

13 comments:

  1. I know what you mean about outgrowing a space! Of course now that we are moved into a house it's easy to get lost in the amount of fixes and maintainence that is required. A part of me misses simple weekends where we would go and play, but the other part of me loves that the house is ours! Great work on the path and stuff!

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  2. Lovely! A path like that would look great in our back yard. hmmmmm.

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  3. 1.5 bathrooms! 2 bedrooms! Perhaps your idea of small is quite relative or very Texan!

    Your yard looks great

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  4. Scarlett - HAAA! You're so right. But remember - two people AND two giant dogs. But it's true - it could be much, much worse!

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  5. Wait, so I take it you don't rent or you got your landlord to go in for the project? I love the path--it's beautiful!

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  6. We own our apartment. The mortgage is way cheaper then rent would be, and that's another reason why the idea of moving within town is just not feasible.

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  7. I noticed the pathway the last time I was over but forgot to say anything about it. Y'all did a really great job.

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  8. The area's looking really good, what a big improvement!

    Also, I was wondering if you had thought about posting some tips for de-naughtifying dogs? It sounds like yours are so well behaved and mine is so not, and I would love some advice!

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  9. Bridey - Seamus is well behaved, and we got lucky with him. Calvin has been a challenge, but he's really beginning to come around. We did an obedience training class with him, but I don't know that it did much good. I think he's just beginning to "get it" - we're his family, he shouldn't eat things that we don't give him, etc. Don't get me wrong - he still has some awful habits and drives us crazy, but now that we love him it's gotten easier.

    The best advice? As long as you can hold on until your dog is old and lazy, you'll be fine. ;)

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  10. Wow - that looks great! You guys did a nice job. I wish I had the liberty of making little improvements to my apartment. Sadly it's not allowed here. One day I'll have my own place, and then I can go to town on home improvements!

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  11. We're dying to purchase a place...we're in a one bedroom apartment, with 3 cats. Just having another room with a door would be great since we have a lot of house guests (more than we ever had when we were living in VA, something about CA I think!) but LA is expensive both for renting and real estate. One of these days....a small house or a large apartment would be nice!

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  12. Okay. I probably need to stop saying how "small" my apartment is. But y'all - it's all relative! Things in Texas are CHEAP and when all your friends have big, beautiful houses, and you are the only one still in an apartment, things seem more dire than they actually are.

    That's my defense and I'm sticking to it!

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  13. AWESOME!!!

    May I ask where Nathan got a hold of the broken pieces? We're thinking of doing a path in the front.

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