High on Grass

I love grass. In fact, I think I’m addicted. It makes me feel relaxed and peaceful. And Camille seems to really like it too.
You know. Grass. Sod. A nice green lawn in the backyard.
When Lee and I bought this house almost three years ago, we knew the backyard needed some work. But we had bigger fish to fry (the kitchen overhaul), and then our lives got really busy (had a baby) and not much happened to the backyard.
At one time, it was probably a really nice backyard. The info sheet that came with the house when we bought it listed dozens of exotic plants, etc., but the house hadn’t been lived in for a bit and the backyard resembled a jungle more than a garden. Then it became the dog’s yard, and the little bit of grass that existed between the vines and bushes got trampled.
Then we had Camille. Then she got older and learned to walk. Then she decided being outside was AWESOME! And then we really wanted a kid-friendly backyard.
I would never let her in our old backyard. I’m pretty sure the weeds choked out any of the exotic plants that were once there, and some poison ivy may have grown in as well. There were mysterious mounds of earth that I feared the previous owners used to hide the bodies. There were lots of mosquitoes, and probably snakes, spiders, and even a sasquatch. And dog poo.
We have several great parks in walking distance of our house, but I got tired of packing a diaper bag just to go outside. I really wanted to be able to go outside with Camille in my jammies with a cup of coffee. And as much as Camille loves water, I wanted to be able to turn on the sprinkler and just let her run. I didn’t just want that, I felt like I NEEDED that.
So thanks to Uncle Sam’s economic stimulus check, we decided to re-do the backyard. We didn’t particularly want to spend all the money it would cost to have something really nicely landscaped, with flowers and water features, etc. And frankly, I didn’t want a bunch of fancy stuff that I’d have to tell Camille not to touch. We had 2 basic requests – get rid of the jungle. Have a kid-friendly backyard with a lot of grass.
I’m kicking myself for not taking any “before” pictures, because it really was a mess back there and these photos do not begin to do it justice. Lee snagged these as the work got started and the bulldozer was brought in to help remove several large trees and the sasquatch.
Note Millie’s little “fence within a fence” configuration at the bottom of the photo. That’s another long story for another post. But at least it’s keeping her from destroying our new grass.
Another “in progress” photo.
Lee and I also wanted a small patio, and decided to save a few bucks and do it ourselves. Not sure that was a good idea. We stayed up many a late night laying those stones – each one weighed 21 pounds and leveling them was a total pain. But at least we have a place for our table and chairs now!
I love sod – an instant backyard! Here are a couple of “after” photos.
We didn’t put sod under the holly tree because it provides such wonderful shade that the grass wouldn’t likely grow. So we’re going to fill it in with pine straw and eventually let that be a kid play area with a kid-sized table and chairs, etc. And maybe the straw will help cushion the falls of any kids who try to climb the holly tree in the future.
Best of all, Camille loves her new backyard. We let her look out the window while the workers were laying the sod, and she exclaimed, “Grass! More grass!”
And this is the “after” picture that I love best – our girl enjoying her very own backyard:
We did have a minor setback yesterday when she was running around barefoot in the grass and apparently stepped on a bee. But we all survived, and this weekend we plan to enjoy even more time in our grassy backyard haven.