Our Yard Transformation

One of the things I’ll miss most about our current house is the beautiful yard filled with roses of many colors, tulips, peonies, lilies, hydrangeas, and other flowers that we got to enjoy every spring and summer.

Gray bungalow with a yellow door

I say that now, but beautiful was about the last word I would have used to describe our yard when we moved in. We bought the house in January, when the garden was dormant, and the yard in general was a neglected mess of sticker balls among some questionable landscape design.


For the record, there was not a blade of grass in the entire yard. The green stuff is just moss that eventually grew on the dirt because of the damp, cloudy winters we enjoy here in southwest Missouri.


In fact, the previous owner warned us that grass wouldn’t grow in that yard, but lo and behold, Justin put down some seed, and look what sprang up! The grass made a big difference, and with a some reconfiguration of the garden area and better arrangement of the stones, the little front yard really turned out  nicely.


The backyard was an even bigger project than the front. For one, you had a view of this contraption from the side yard. Now, this fort looked fun at first, but I’m positive that if there are any safety standards for lofted kid forts, this thing was wayyyy below them. It actually had a working light bulb in the underneath area, though I have no idea where the electrical came from.

That said, Justin still managed to sell it on Craigslist. An older couple bought it for their grandkids; they came with a moving truck and a shirtless friend and hauled it off. This really happened.


The backyard also had an abundance of sidewalks, which aren’t necessary in backyards purely by definition.


Painting the greenhouse apparently became too strenuous about five feet up.


One of the yard fixes that caused Justin the most grief was the abandoned Koi pond.


It had been stagnant for some time, and the water was, shall we say, none too fresh. When he punctured the liner and drained it, it turned out to be several feet deep, with a cast iron tub in the bottom. It took a year’s worth of yard waste and debris plus several loads of dirt just to fill it enough to make it level with the rest of the yard.


Oh yeah, and no grass in the back, either.


It took Justin two summers of hard work to get the yard whipped into shape (I know–I watched it all through the kitchen window), and even so, he still had more planned for this summer.

Last July, we finally reclaimed the full yard space by removing the sidewalk areas. This entailed Justin and his brother busting up the concrete with sledge hammers, and a team of the two men, two women, and three children (myself, Justin’s sister-in-law, and our nieces) loading the pieces onto a trailer to be hauled away. Justin’s brother also cut a remaining piece of sidewalk for us to make it flush with the rest of our patio, and I feel very lucky to have a brother-in-law who owns and knows how to operate whatever equipment it is that can cut concrete.

Then we were mostly left to clear out the gravel as best we could.


Put down dirt.


And try to grow some grass. (I say “we,” but my involvement really ended with the gravel.)


It was the end of the season by then, and the grass didn’t come in 100% as Justin might have hoped, but considering what we started with–or even not–I’d say there’s nothing too shabby about our yard transformation.


(PS – I’ll be excited to show you our new yard, because it has some interesting parallels to the “before” of our current yard. But you’d better believe it already has grass.)


11 thoughts on “Our Yard Transformation

  1. Great Job! It’s no easy feat removing concrete, pats on the back to Justin & family. Thanks for using CL to re-use & circulate unwanted items. Kudos for your sustainability model 😉 Yards look Grrreat!


    • Thanks, Pearly! The guy we are buying our new house from is a landscape architect and did a lot of nice work to the backyard, so there is definitely less for us to do (whew!) this time around. I am pretty spoiled on flowers now, though, so I want to make sure I put some of my favorites–roses and hydrangeas–in the next yard.


  2. Pingback: 5 Tips for Selling Your Stuff on Craigslist | white dog vintage

    • Thanks, Cat! It’s funny how when you’re a pet owner, you can practically be sold on a huge investment like a house just because your dog would like it. I have to give the credit to Justin, though. I helped here and there, but he really made it happen!


  3. Well, this was a magical transformation!! and Jimmy your husband put on lots of hard work on this, good it gave results. Infact such a nice family you have, brother-in-law, sis-in-law and nieces helping out. This is cool, infact lovely and refreshing. You really make your home so sweet and interesting, most of us, just live there not caring to tailor it to our persona to set the home atmosphere. Maybe we are too lazy and boring as compared to you forks!!!


    • Awww, thank you for these sweet sentiments! You are so not lazy or boring, though! My husband and I happen to have the time and enjoy the work. Any home that makes its inhabitants happy is a beautiful home to me! And yes, I’m so thankful for my husband’s family coming to help out. My brother-in-law has lots of great experience with scary tools like the concrete cutter. I’m not sure we could have taken that on alone!


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