The back yard is the last of our huge projects for the summer. Over the years we’ve had a giant tree in here, cheap outdoor carpet with a sand box and big plastic play house, stepping stone patio for an outdoor table and chairs, tried to grow a garden, several rounds of sod in the grassy area and most recently, weeds and dirt.
As soon as the yard came to the top of the list I began digging and preparing the grass to be replaced by artificial turf. The instructions said to dig down 3 inches, I did a little deeper because I removed a wooden retaining log from the low end of the yard. Then I rolled out a 1cm metal screen to discourage gophers and voles, covered everything with black weed deterrent cloth, and then several bags of patio leveling sand.
After leveling and packing we rolled out the turf and pinned it down around the edges, seems and tree roots. Topaz was happy because I’ve been keeping her in the house while the yard was all dirt.
Next I moved all the stepping stones near the house to locations along the fence that were bare dirt waiting for weeds to grow.
Then I began digging again. By now Southern California was in a two month long heat wave and I could only work until 11am when the sun came over the house and shined down into the yard. So just before the sun came up I would start digging and leveling deck foundation blocks and the frame.
Twice we hauled away 1.5 tons of dirt from the yard. The kids did a great job helping with this hot and dirty task. One morning I told Eric I was uncomfortable driving the trailer (the first one was bigger than this one) to the dump which was about 15 miles away, so he helped us at 5:30am before work. Yeow, we all, including the car, stunk like the dump for the rest of the day.
No matter what chores have to be done, there is always time to cuddle and schmoogle on Topaz.
Roy requested we buy this Bird of Paradise plant when he was just a tyke. He liked the huge plants at Disneyland.
Eric got us started with the frame. We used treated wood and dug trenches for the boards which were below the level ground.
With the frame built it was time to get the recycled plastic decking. At first we thought we would like the red wood, but then after changing our mind on the fastening system we found that the grey was going to work out better for us. The biggest problem is that it only came in 16 foot boards. Brian happened to be visiting with his motor home so I roped him into helping me return the 8′ boards the kids and I stuffed into my jeep and then load 16′ boards into his motor home. After work Eric got us started on installing the fastener clips and boards then the next morning Brian and I finished up.
Within minutes of Eric fitting the final boards around the sewer drain, air conditioning and up against the house, I showed up with furniture. Presto, instant backyard patio. For the next month heatwave kicked it up a knotch and even extra umbrellas didn’t help the unbearable heat. Now, in October, the weather has cooled and the patio is comfortable to lounge and dine in the evenings.