An End to Summertime Blues

Oh NO, It’s mid September and I haven’t posted a thing! What will my beloved fans think? (note the sarcasm)

It’s been a busy month; I’ve been attending conferences, classes, meetings, hustling to build inventory for craft shows, done a couple of craft shows, now I’m planning a baby shower, preparing for out-of-town visitors not to mention I want to revamp my whole blog –  and well, I’m finding it hard to organize my thoughts long enough to write a meaningful post.

Aside from all the above mentioned activities, the biggest project by far has been getting our yard under control. We are certainly not done, but we have made huge progress in creating a nicely prepped canvas for next year. Finally, there seems to be an end to those summers spent in a bland, ugly backyard!!!

I’ve decided our next home will either be a high-rise apartment in the center of a bustling city or a small bungalow in Bali, either way – it wont have a yard. If it does have a yard, it will be fully and completely landscaped BEFORE we buy it. Of all the DIY projects we have done, the yard has felt like an impossible, never-ending task. It’s hard work and it’s expensive.

Anyway, I’d like to get this posted before September Ends so here is the run down:

before and after of slope. Imagine the whole area covered in 10 times more than that last photo on the right.

I really wish I had more photos of this slope before we started – yep, believe it or not, it actually looked worse than this. It looked a little like the photo on the right, which is a corner of our backyard last year before we took care of all that ugliness. The plastic was to choke out the blackberry bushes and ivy we cut back. Let me tell you, I was sick of plastic sheeting by the time it was over with, I can’t imagine how Christo did it. Dang, I should have used pink plastic – maybe next time.

Then there was this:

Summer 2011, 7 months after moving in
Summer 2011, 7 months after moving in. We were playing around with the idea of what a retaining wall would look like here – we tested out the idea by using blocks we found which had been scattered throughout the yard.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, I came home one day a few weeks ago and found my husband had rented a jack hammer. The next  photo was taken after the six truck loads of rubble had been removed AND after the several days it took for me to fully digest just how big the problem was. Now, does this look like a space to laze away those nice summer days? NOT!

This slope in the foreground is a pain to mow, so I’d like to have steps here, but how to connect it to the wall we already started?

My husband really did a great job on getting the wall started – you can see how long it is, and it is completely level, but trying to problem solve working around this grassy slope was more than we could deal with  – I mean, the man does have a full-time job and he wanted to take advantage of SOME of the nice summer weather on his time off, so we hired someone to complete the project. And I am soooooo glad we did.

We worked with Gonzalo Zuniga, a hardscape and landscape specialist, and I will say I am very impressed with Gonzalo’s  professionalism, attention to detail and ability to actually DESIGN. In my experience with contractors, I find many of them are just willing to do what you ask regardless of whether it makes sense or not, they seem to have no opinions or ideas about making a space look pleasing AND be functional. They do what they are getting paid for and that is it, no imagination, no problem solving and no design skills, which can end up leaving one with a bad case of buyers remorse.

We had an idea how we wanted the space to look. I pulled up TONS of photos of my dream spaces, but we didn’t need anything elaborate that would over power the style of the house. We also have one of those annoying budget things. The two problems were the slope where we initially wanted a retaining wall to hold all the dirt back and the  grassy slope which was a pain to mow. We had no idea how to  incorporate the existing wall to meet the point of where that grassy slope should disappear.

Thankfully, our trusty landscape specialist, Gonzolo, worked out a solution for us. Now, I’ll admit, the result  looks pretty grand for our simple backyard, but it was the best solution for what we had in mind and I absolutely love it.  I can’t wait for everything to grow in and soften the space up. You can bet I already have a to-do list going to finish this space off  next year.

Here’s a few shots of the work Gonzolo did:

You can see the back corner where those blackberry bushes from the first set of photos were last summer.
slope view of patio
view of the patio from what was once a huge overgrown mess of ugliness.
We still have work to do on the back wall. FIRST, removing the concrete pieces my husband thought would be good to use as filler.... REALLY???? But still a big improvement.
We still have work to do on the back wall. FIRST, removing the concrete pieces my husband thought would be good to use as filler…. REALLY???? But still a big improvement.

It’s nice to have the patio complete just in time for the rainy fall season 🙂 And it is even nicer to finally have this posted before September gets away from me completely! On second thought, It’s nicer to have the landscaping done (well, started anyway…)

Now I’m off to prepare for a weekend retreat. I can’t wait. It will be a good time spent focusing on my business and art. Because I am so over yard work for a while.

Cheers for now.

What have you been up to this summer?

Published by Marie Friddle

Please feel free to connect with me on Facebook or follow me on Instagram. I'm always interested in meeting others who share a passion for art and creativity.

9 thoughts on “An End to Summertime Blues

    1. Oh well, I can not take any credit for this. I had the idea, but my husband and our landscaper did the rest. Well, I did do some rock arrangement,planting and digging, but I certainly didn’t do the wall or steps. But thank you 🙂


      1. Yeah, but the idea is what counts! It’s like a songwriter comes up with the melody, so what the drummer threw in some cowbell he still didn’t write the song 🙂


  1. …and I thought you did all of this for me 🙂 Looks so beautiful and big. Congrats!!
    My summer was ok; helped Sol moved into an apt. (decided to leave the dorm. Has 2 roommates). So I went to the States explicit for that (pathetic, huh?). I am not enjoying this looong trips anymore; so long and turbulent, the plane food gets worse and worse every time, the seats gets smaller and more packed, etc… The rest of the fam. did diferent things ea…


    1. ohhh, I do not miss those long flights. One reason why we would try to stay regional during summer and the holidays.

      So exciting about Sol starting college. You must be so proud and happy for her. Well, if she ever has to head out this way, she has a place to stay 🙂


  2. Wow, your yard looks absolutely fantastic! You guys did a terrific job!

    I hope you’re truly enjoying your weekend retreat, have fun! HUGS


      1. Welcome back home! I’m back to my ordinary routines tomorrow as well, vacation is over and I’m actually looking forward to returning to my “normal” life.

        Take care!


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