Thursday, September 22, 2016

Come on In - Backyard Edition

Today I'm showing you the last part of our house - the yard!  Our old house had a crummy driveway for the kids... it was short and sloped and we were on the corner of the main street in our neighborhood... not super conducive to playing and riding bikes out front.  One of our favorite parts of the new house is the driveway!  The kids have lots of room to ride bikes, play basketball, write with chalk and haul out all the outdoor toys.  We're also at the very end of a super quiet cul-de-sac which has been awesome.

 When we originally looked at the listing photos we crossed the house off our list because the only yard it appeared to have was taken up by a pool (which we didn't even originally want).  So imagine our surprise when...

... we saw this on one side (that's the gate from the picture above)...

.... and then this...

... and then this on the other side!

The size of the yard is kind of unheard of - but because of how our lot is positioned at the end of a cul-de-sac we ended up with almost a wedge shape and we LOVE it!

On this side we have no idea what we want to do.  I've had these soccer goals in my Amazon cart for over a month - I'm thinking that Santa might bring those and while we've talked about raised bed gardening I'm not sure we're up for that right now.  Maybe y'all can sway me... do you have one?  Do you love it?

The trampoline is also on this side because there's a TON of space and it's perfectly flat.  

When we moved in there was no fence around the pool - we did a LOT of research (metal fencing, mesh fencing, nets, covers, etc.) and ultimately went with a professionally installed safety fence (we used this company).  They actually drilled holes down into our decking and then put the poles into the holes.  Kids can push, run, etc. into the fencing and it doesn't budge.  The guy who installed ours told us that he had a client whose son had driven a power wheels into it and it didn't bend, move, tear, etc.  They've also held up in hurricanes, so there's that. :)  We had ours installed all the way to our back fence so that the kids have a grassy area enclosed as well (so when we're swimming and they want to lay on their towels or get a running start to jump in they can).

The gate to get into the pool area locks with a key (that we keep in a cabinet in our back hall) and even when the key is in and the gate is unlocked you have to pull up on that thing on the top and be fairly tall to actually work it.   The gate also opens out, so that if a kid were to pull a chair or something else up to it so they could reach the top they wouldn't be able to open it (because it would open into the chair).  It also swings shuts (and locks) automatically.

I really don't have enough great things to say about the fencing.  It's the peace of mind we needed to let our kids outside to enjoy the backyard as well as having the kids friends over to play (who may or may not know how to swim and/or know our pool rules).  I thought it would be an eyesore, but we hardly even notice it anymore. 

I mentioned above that we originally didn't want a pool - but we have totally grown to love it and can't imagine not having it.  I think it mainly just scared me... but having the fence and door alarms (separate from our security system... they're these crazy loud bells that go off when the back door opens) installed has helped make me more comfortable.

I'm going to be honest and say I really don't know what we want to do with this gazebo that's in the pool area.  Whatever we end up doing I have a feeling it will involve twinkle lights (there's already power on the back fence).  I picked up some adirondack chairs... but that's all that's over there at the moment.  Ideas?

 You have to access it through the pool fence (it doesn't look super tall, but it's too tall to climb over and is actually set into a garden area)... but I want to make it something fun and special.

There's a covered porch off the back of the house as well...

Our priority when we moved in was inside furniture, so we put new patio furniture on the back burner and put our old furniture out here for now.  At some point we'll replace it - but I don't really know what we want yet.  

The other side of the yard is the "pretty side" :)

The people who bought our old house didn't want the playhouse... so we brought it with us and set it in this section of the yard.  The kids are outgrowing it a bit and we have plans (right, dad???) to build something awesome back here this Fall.

When we moved in this garden area behind the playhouse was FILLED with a weird, crawling ground cover.  A few snakes and LOTS of spiders later (there's a creek on the other side of the fence) we decided that the ground cover had to go so our lawn company sprayed it.

As soon as it cools off we're going to rip it out and mulch this area to make it look neater and cleaner and not give the critters a place to hide.

This spot right here (well... where the tree is) is where I want to have an AMAZING playhouse for the kids.  

I have a MAJOR crush on the playhouse that Ashley had made for her kids and am thinking something like that tucked back into the garden area would be so fun.

It's PRECIOUS, right?

So imagine our current playhouse gone and something like Ashley's tucked in that back corner.  I need fabulous playhouse recommendations/plans - so hit me up!

 So all that stuff on the right mulch and a playhouse in between the two trees.  Cute, right?
(PS - that's our neighbor's garage in photo below... everything behind their garage is creek... their whole yard is on the other side of their house.  It's almost like we have no neighbors!)

 While we LOVED our old backyard, we are SO SO SO thankful for more space for the kids to run, play and explore as they get bigger.  We really haven't touched it since we moved in (other than the pool fence) and are excited to get our hands dirty out here this Fall.  I'm planning an outdoor movie night for friends once it cools off and have a feeling we'll be hosting lots of outdoor birthday parties now that we have more space.

So... thoughts?  Brilliant ideas?  Pins I need to look at?  We're in the planning phases and would LOVE yard/garden/gazebo/playhouse suggestions from those of y'all who have already ventured down that path.

Thanks, friends!  Happy Thursday... see you tomorrow for Friday Favorites!


  1. DREAM BACKYARD!!!! I can't wait to see how y'all transform it to be perfectly you!

  2. I absolutely love your new space! When you gave me the tour, the yard just kept going!!

  3. Your yard is awesome girl!! I can't wait to see what you do with it this Fall!! Xo

  4. That is a dream backyard!! My husband grew up on a farm and anytime a house with a big backyard on a cul-de-sac pops up for sale my husband asks to move 😬

  5. Ugh... I'm so jealous, you keep saying when it cools down you are going to do this and that. Here in northwestern Pennsylvania when it cools down it's too cold to do anything outside because winter hits so quickly! ... anyway, beautiful outdoor space! Yes to twinkle lights!! Yes to garden... But I wouldn't go too big at first just in case it is too much to maintain. We built a playset for our kids this summer and they love it. I think one of my most favorite things that we did is used rubber mulch as the substrate, it's cushy and clean!

  6. An open yard with a lot of space to run is the best for young kids.
    Skip the soccer goals, waste of money. If your kids want to really improve, get a rebounder. Costco sells one by Tekk which is excellent, usually with $50 off around Christmas. The best players have great ball handling skills and goals don't help that. You can also use it for basketball and great for lacrosse. I suppose football too but we don't play that.

  7. Your yard is a kiddo's dream! Pool, trampoline, playhouse, space to's perfect. We have looked at a couple of houses with pools and it makes me nervous too. Great choice in the fencing!

  8. You had me jealous until you said snakes and

    Love your yard!

  9. Wow! Awesome, huge yard! I saw this backyard treehouse/play set and thought it'd be amazing if my kids were older. Check it out!

  10. Yes to that awesome playhouse and twinkle lights and mulch are a must!!! It's going to look wonderful when you get done with it. The pool has to be refreshing in the Texas heat!! :)

  11. That gazebo could be the perfect reading nook :) I can see white flow curtains, lots of pillows, and twinkle lights! I have several solar sets that I bought off Amazon and love them...they turn on and off with dusk and dawn and make the backyard magical!!!

  12. Beautiful! & that playhouse!! Yes, yes & YES!!

  13. My daughter prays every night for a pool! :) & my boys would love those soccer goals. Adding those to my Santa wishlist

  14. Oh yes, love that fence. We have the same one and I think the most peace of mind comes when I'm sitting on the porch with girlfriends and our kids are popping in and out with popsicles and whatnot, and not one mom has to get up because their kids are too close to the pool. It used to be miserable to back porch sit with friends because, no doubt, a toddler would inch their way closer and closer to the pool when we weren't swimming. Gives me peace of mind for when the neighbor kids know we're out of town, too :) They do love our pool lol...

  15. So cute. Perfect for your littles. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Beautiful yard! I have no advice on raised garden beds, though. We moved last winter and our house came with four of them. As soon as it warmed up enough, my husband ripped those babies out because neither of us have a green thumb!

  17. Your yard is beautiful! That playhouse picture is fabulous. What kid wouldn't love it?? I have no recommendations, but I do have a question. Can you tell me what alarm you have if someone opens the back door to the pool area? We just installed a pool, and need to get an alarm, separate from our security system. There is such a wide variety with different price points, I am just curious to see what yours is, and if you like it. Thanks so much. Have a great weekend 😀

  18. What a beautiful back yard!! And I love how the perimeter is lined with trees! It will be great to have some shade back there during the summer... that's the only thing I don't like about our back yard.

  19. Your backyard is awesome! You should check out The Handmade Home for the playhouse

  20. I would have the gazebo moved away from pool, raised up on stilts and retrofitted/converted into the play house.

  21. I highly recommend a raised garden bed (or several!). There is nothing more fresh (and delicious) then picking your own fruit in your backyard. Here's what ours looks like.

  22. As much as your kids like to perform they need a stage with lights and music speakers and maybe even curtains. Kids love to sing and dance and make plays to perform for their family. (The gazebo would be ideal if it weren't in the pool enclosure)

  23. Your backyard is AMAZING!!! Seriously, the fact that you have a pool and still tons of room for other stuff is just awesome, your kids are going to have the best childhood there!!