Yes, we may have a tree that is two times the size of our house. Not really, but it sure looks like that from the front. We find ourselves outside our little house more and more as the weather starts to cooperate, and we are realizing that we still have a lot to do to our outdoor space to make it fabulous. So we figured we would show you what we are working with. Our lot is about 1/3 of an acre so we have a fairly large lawn (at least in terms of our neighborhood). Which means we have a lot of yard to beautify. Here’s the tour.
Yep, that’s our little house on the end of our street. We realize it looks like we live in a dollhouse in comparison to some of the houses on our street. But that is a whole different topic. We are years away from being able to do a massive addition and remodel, but we already have it planned in our heads if we decide we want to stay in our neighborhood.
One of Dain’s first additions to our outdoor space last year was a landscaped area in the front complete with a paved area for our trash and recycling. We are definitely the only people on our street that have this special trash site, but after our fourth citation about our trash and recycling, Dain decided to add it. As new homeowners it took us awhile to get the hang of the weekly trash collection, and we got “warnings” left on our garbage can for everything from having our trash bin in our driveway (even though the website says you can put it there) to trying to recycle nonrecyclable items (like scrap metal). We finally caught on, and our little place to put it all is very nice, especially in the winter when we can shovel it instead of having to lift our bins up onto the snow bank since the “curb” is an approved area.
Dain also added a small front garden last summer while I was busy planning our wedding. All of our perennials seem to have survived their first Minnesota winter.
As you move to the right side of the house, we have a weird alley between the house and the garage that we refer to as dogpatch alley. The old concrete staircase used to have steps on both sides so you could walk down to the backyard through the alley, but now it just looks kind of sad. And every single one of those pavers and bricks were items we found in our yard. And not in normal spaces. We’d find a pile here and a pile there. A few under the deck and a few just stacked against the fence in the back. And some buried in the yard. Totally random. And annoying since we now have to get rid of them.
Then as you move to the side of the garage, we have our small garden area with our mint varieties and our chives. Along with a large black metal railing that is a remnant of the
bane of our existence old concrete staircase. A certain someone has been planning on cutting it into smaller pieces and getting rid of it for almost a year now, but I’m not holding my breath. On the left side of our house, we also have an eyesore. We had a cable jack in our living room when we moved in that we assumed was fully functional. Silly us. It was just decorative to make it look like you could have cable in your living room. So our local cable provider that must not be named rigged up this system to give us the pleasure of tv on our main floor. And yep, that is me comparing our cable provider to Lord Voldemort, the villain from Harry Potter. Enough said. So yes. Yes we do have a cable hanging out of our house. Totally normal. Thank you cable company that must not be named. Dain is planning to bury it and paint the cable to make it less noticeable. Who knew being able to enjoy Glee while making dinner would make our house so crazy looking?
The best part about our backyard is that we have a lot of space. Here’s a view looking down from the right side of our garage.
And here’s a view from that back right corner. As you can see, we have a one car detached garage, and the sun room on our house was definitely an addition.
And as you can kind of see from the photos, there is quite a slope from our neighbors’ yard into ours so adding privacy is not as easy as installing a 6 foot fence. We are almost positive they would still be able to see right over it. Right now, we have a very old and leaning chain link fence that really serves no purpose, and that large tree straddles the property line. So eventually we will have to take it down in order to put in a proper fence. Dain has experience taking down two trees in our front yard by himself (and on Earth day last year nonetheless), but this one is not the do-it-yourself size, which will make the neighbors happy since they thought he was nuts to be out there digging at our stumps. And we included a photo of our favorite yard accessory thus far: a rain barrel. It’s really cool that you can use rainwater to water your garden throughout the summer (because it’s good for the planet and because you actually pay for your water once you own a home unlike that free apartment water).
The fence along the back belongs to our neighbors behind us. And the other side is not fenced at all, but that row of arborvitae provides some privacy.
And thus far, we have avoided having too much yard art. We have two tasteful (at least in our minds) metal flowers and a Twins gnome, which was a gift.
So there you have it. That’s our yard in its current condition. Going from an apartment with a few potted house plants and one outdoor plant on the balcony in the summer to a full sized yard can be a little overwhelming, but we are slowly but surely making our yard an oasis. Our tree in the front is so large we’ve been working on plans for something like this when we outgrow our current space.
Ok, not really, but how cool would that be to have in your backyard? And it would add a little privacy. But for now we’ll be working on landscaping. And we may not do it this year, but our plan is to add a retaining wall in the back where that chain link fence is and then install a fence on top of it. We’ll keep you posted as we make improvements over the summer.