Backyard and tiny bathroom remodel
I hope everyone had an awesome three day weekend! If only all weekends were three days, imagine how much we would all accomplish!
We had a lot going on at our house. This weekend we began the exciting task of redoing our backyard and started to plan a remodel for our master bathroom.
We have a small backyard with a patch of grass running 17 x 42 feet. Over the past few years we have neglected our backyard due to drought conditions. Because we were unable to water our lawn we weren’t motivated to keep up with manicuring any other aspect of our yard either.
This lack of attention lead to a less than stellar backyard. Basically we were left with lumpy patches of pokey grass, weeds, and dirt. My husband would complain of rolled ankles every time he attempted to mow our lawn. The few plants we did have ended up overgrown and ugly.
But now that the rain has returned in abundance we are motivated to clean up our backyard and take some pride in our space.
The remodel plan is to lay new sod, plant pretty plants, and clean up a dog run (although we have no dog) so we have some usable space on the side of our house.
Unfortunately, we picked a not ideal weekend to begin our journey. We were pelted with rain all three days. We have hired a landscaper to help with the whole process (also we had some broken sprinkler heads and needed to install a drip line, so we felt we needed professional help).
He planned to use a rototiller to remove our existing sod, but due to the weather he was unable to use equipment. Instead he hired some guys he has worked with before and they removed the sod in our backyard by hand entirely in one day!
But now, after the rain, we are left with a glorified mud puddle.
However, the weekend was not lost. I spent the entire weekend shopping at local nurseries and researching plants and flowers.
We did not hire a designer for our backyard, so I am trying to design the space myself. I am sure this comes naturally to some people, but I for one do not have a green thumb. I have been researching like a mad woman for plants that would do well in my backyard.
Also, our existing simple rectangle shape of grass is not cutting it for me anymore. I want our backyard to have some personality. So instead of straight lines I plan on using edgers to round out our yard and add additional space for plants and mulch.
As for plants, I have decided to go with some lilac, lavender, birds of paradise, and boxwood as accents. We already had a few rosemary plants that happened to be the only things I have ever planted that did well, so I decided that we would use them in the new space as well. A local nursery also recommended African Daisies, which apparently are hardly plants that also add a pop of color.
I have selected these overlapping rock edgers from Home Depot to separate our grass from the planter area. They sell a similar style (these) in a pack of 10 for cheaper online, that our local store did not carry. If I had more time beforehand I would have saved money by purchasing them online and having them delivered in store.
We will be using black colored mulch to provide a crisp look of our flower area. Mulch does more than just look great, it also provides insulate the plants, slows the loss of moisture, and suppresses weeds.
For the dog run we will be evening out our soil (which is rocky with random piles of dirt right now). On top of that will be river rocks and possibly some pavers to allow a walking path.
If you are also considering updating the landscape of your backyard here are a few pointers I have learned:
- When budgeting don’t just consider the cost of materials. I new that sod would run us hundreds of dollars, but what I did not account for was the fact that it costs money for our existing grass to be removed and dumped. You cannot simply dump dirt wherever you please so you (or your landscaper) will need to take it to a facility that accepts environment waste. They charge by the ton for this, but it adds up quickly and should be considered as part of your expense.
- Plants are expensive. Before planning a remodel of your garden, draw up what you want it to look like first. This way you will know exactly how many plants you need for your space. Then visit a local nursery and price out your design.
- Chat up your nursery. The staff at your local nursery should be educated about plants that do well in your area. When I visited a nearby store I brought in my drawing of plans. The staff was even able to tell me that my north facing plants should be able to toleration the cold best because of the way the wind blows in our area. Who knew?!
- You may have to amend your soil. If your garden wasn’t plentiful before, it may be due to lack of quality soil. I picked up new bags of fertilizer, something called Gypsum (that apparently helps with clay/rocky soil), as well as some planting soil to amend our existing space. If I am going to spend money on new plants I want to make sure that they do well, and this all has to do with the quality of the soil. So set aside some money for the “boring” stuff like soil as well. Normal fertilizer ran me about $5 per 1.5 cubic foot, but the gypsum and organic planting soil were $22/bag (although I only need a couple of bags).
While our backyard is in full on remodel mode we began to consider other things in our house that are in need of attention. The biggest one being the fact that our master bathroom does not have a shower. Currently, the only shower in our house in the “guest” bathroom in our hall. It isn’t a huge deal right now, but we know as our family grows it will only become a bigger nuisance.
We have gone back and forth on whether or not to just move, but unfortunately there isn’t a ton on the market right now that we would be able to afford. By adding a second full bath to our house we know we would be able to stay here at least for a few more years before moving up. And when we are ready to sell we should be able to get our money back from the investment in a more functional home.
Right now our master bath is only a toilet and small vanity, so we would like to add a small custom shower to make our house a true 2 bath home. We will need to cut into our room a little to make this happen, but it will be well worth it.
The bad news is that we are just getting started on these projects, so I have very little to share. However, the good news is that I will have plenty of before and afters to share in the near future.
So if you also have a small house, and a backyard that could use some work stay tuned to see our finished projects!
For reference this is our sad backyard after our old sod has been removed:
And this is our tiny bathroom in need of a dramatic remodel:
Have a great short week!
XOXO, -M. Have a great day!