When we purchased The Pink Ranch we did so in the middle of one of the worst winters Colorado had seen in a while. Actually, we went house hunting during most of it and I can recall on several occasions having to literally shovel our way up a walkway to see a house. When we came to see this house we could barely drive down the street.
For the most part we didn’t think much of it (besides the perpetually cold feet) until we were moved in, the snow had melted and we realized we had no idea what the yard looked like. The yard looked just fine covered in snow!
One of the big selling points for this place was the large yard, but what we didn’t know however is that for some reason this house was built on a weird slope (the only one in our neighborhood, as far as we can tell) which means the back yard slopes gradually downward towards the fence. It isn’t flat at all. The front does the same thing, but who cares about the front yard.
The biggest problem with this is that we see directly into our neighbors back yard which is *not* cute. The fence, though normal height, doesn’t block our visuals because it’s so much lower down there and the house is so much higher.
Also, we have a concrete area just off the sliding doors in the TV room, which would be a lovely, sunny place to sit and stare at the neighbor’s yard, if the slab wasn’t nearly a foot lower than where it was originally laid and sliding away from the house. Also, the slab is surrounded by a unexplained but very large dirt patch which contains in it a randomly planted rose garden which is kind of placed smack dab in the middle of the yard.
Also, the grass is terrible. Thin, neglected for lord knows how long, and probably the wrong kind to handle both sun and shade, and now two dogs.
On the plus side, we have two gorgeous old trees that blossom into bright pink flowers right around Mother’s Day every year:
Here’s the worst part, just off the house. It’s mostly mud. Why? Because there were strawberries planted along the edge of the patio, Why? Why? Why????
Our Summer 2009 plan? Cover it all with rocks!! We couldn’t afford to lay concrete (or so we thought) and a wood deck would look weird. Grass won’t grow there (clearly) so more more of our favorite tiny gray pebbles seemed the only option.
So we skipped the professional part where you level out the space with sand and went right to doing a terrible job trimming the area, laying down Preen (did ok with that) and spreading out the gravel.
Oh, the gravel. There was so very much and it just got everywhere. Plus the chairs and table sank into it as did your shoes. So while we succeeded in eliminating one mess with the mud, we created another, more destructive mess with the gravel.
Skip to the following summer (2010)…
Inspired by The Brick House’s scarily identical problem, we followed in her footsteps and added pavers INTO the gravel, rather that the other way around. 180 pavers to be exact. And a few weeks later I would discover I was preggers while doing the whole thing.
We’re still tweaking this area, but the pavers are sooo much better. We have a (semi) level place to sit and the gravel stays in the cracks where it belongs. Best part is they were so inexpensive and totally in keeping with our hopes of transforming the back yard into a more modern, minimalist space.
To recap, BEFORE:
Break out the margaritas!