"Crashing My Yard" or "How I Spent the Past Week-and-a-Half After Work"

Monday – 04 August 2014
Over the past week and a half, Sara! and I undertook steps to transform our yard from “Wow, you actually call that a yard” to something that would be functional as the setting for the wedding of a couple of our friends.We had to make at least half of our yard – nearly 800 square feet of space – which we had effectively let go into something that was both not an eyesore, but was also usable.

How would we make this happen?

  • By getting truckloads of dirt from the construction site around the corner from our house to fill in the depression that was left under the spot where the gazebo we tore down in 2012 formerly stood.
  • By getting a LOT – nearly four (4) cubic yards – of mulch.
  • By putting in a lot of hard work.

In a move that may have been inspired by my affinity for DIY Network, I started referring to this as #CrashingMyYard. I even tagged my favorite Yard Crasher, Ahmed Hassan, in a couple of Tweets. (He even responded to a couple of them!) Unlike the Yard Crashers show, we had neither a TV host/professional landscaping contractor nor a motley crew of people helping on this; it was just Sara! and me – with occasional help from Team DiVa – doing the work.

We borrowed a friend’s pick-up truck, so that we could haul dirt and mulch. We felt that would be much easier – and potentially less back-breaking – than trying to do it all in wheelbarrows and/or Sara’s car. And, far less messy, too. Friday (25 July 2014) after work, I headed to the construction site around the corner from our house to get fill dirt; Sara had secured permission from the site foreman earlier in the week. After spending what felt like an eternity filling the bed of the truck, I drove it around the corner and backed into the yard to unload it and start filling the pit left from The Great Gazebo Demolition of 2012.

Saturday morning, I woke up, had a bite to eat and headed to the site for more dirt. I unloaded about half of it before I needed to leave for a prior engagement; Sara unloaded the rest. Saturday night, more of the same. By the time it was all said and done, we’d filled, compacted and leveled the hole.

Sunday saw the first of far too many trips to Home Depot for mulch. I brought home twenty-one (21) bags that night. By the way, one bag of mulch, not so heavy. Twenty-one? Heavy. And, to make things even better: After I’d loaded the last bag into the truck, about ten bags on the display decided that they didn’t want to be part of the display anymore. *sigh* So, I had to pick them up and put them back in some semblance of order.

By Monday night, following another Home Depot run, the first third of the yard was mulched. Tuesday, about two-fifths. Wednesday, we changed things up a bit, installing a new fence post, with the kind assistance of my father-in-law. (We had a double-door gate that never seemed “just right,” so we took it down to one door and a gate-turned-fence section.) Thursday, after another trip to the ‘Depot, we enlisted the “help” of the girls to put down more landscaping fabric and mulch. Friday, I made the last trip for mulch and by nightfall, there was just one small section left to mulch on Saturday.

Saturday brought lawn mowing, some general clean-up, spreading the last bits of mulch and securing the fence section to the new post.

Sunday, we were ready for a wedding. And it was good.


The Yard.

Click here to see pictures of the overall process, from start to finish.

Last night, after the festivities were done and the girls were down for the night, Sara! and I sat outside in our newly landscaped yard and enjoyed the evening air. With cocktails, of course.

This was a lot of work, but was very much worth it. And gave us a massive boost in the direction that we want to take the yard, which includes, but isn’t necessarily limited to:

  • Grinding down three stumps (there was just no time for it with this go-round),
  • Creating a flagstone patio in one third,
  • Sodding the middle third of the mulched area, and
  • Creating a playspace for the girls in the last (not-quite) third.

Some of that might have to wait until next Spring, but, we are very happy with where the yard is at this point.