I am a dreamer. I am also a creative. I am also a woman of faith. So, when I walked through our current home for the first time just 16 months ago, I really saw a vision for this space. And when our families walked through it with puzzled looks and lots of question, I wanted to smack them and say, “yeah, but think of how amazing it WILL BE.” I couldn’t see what they were seeing, and they couldn’t see what I was seeing. All good things.
Immediately after we moved in, I started painting walls which went something like this : day one, move in. day two, paint nursery. day three, give birth. It was a magical time! Fast forward 5 months (with no dishwasher or garbage disposal and a semi-functional kitchen – oh! and a newborn! – but who’s counting?) and we underwent our first HUGE remodeling process, when we tackled the kitchen. The kitchen was so rewarding and it started making our families nod saying “oooookay… I get it now.”
One of the things I loved about our house was it had a HUGE backyard. (huge for where we live… maybe not like Texas or something…) The only thing was, that maybe (definitely) I underestimated in my dreamy state, was exactly HOW MUCH work it needed….
We tried to start this project last year, but for one reason or another, it got delayed and we pushed it back to this year. That was a blessing in disguise because we were able to live here for a year and really decide how we wanted to use this space. I thought long and hard about the features we wanted in the backyard and how we would use it for our family. As it comes together piece by piece, I can foresee so many good memories coming in this sweet space of ours.
Firs step was fixing all the spotty concrete. This was by far the biggest task, and since we have a huge space, and a lot of concrete, it was very pricey! (Think: as much as our entire kitchen remodel. Yikes!) But we decided to bite the bullet and have it all done right instead of just patching it up here and there, and boy am I grateful! The concrete looks amazing and really changes everything about our backyard! Even though the little shed was charming, we tore her down and continued our driveway back so we could park two cars back there, and poured a huge patio away from our house to the existing patio, which we squared off from the awkward shape it used to be. (I have tried tried tried to figure out what they were thinking when they poured the original slab, but I just cannot.)
Just the concrete transformed our entire backyard to a much more usable space – not to mention added value to our property. That’s the fun part about remodeling, seeing all the added value.
Next, we gutted the entire backyard, there was a small retaining wall that cut the yard exactly in half, and we leveled it from an odd step-up to the back of the property. We also dug our in-ground trampoline, and added a completely new sprinkler system from the original 1960’s single sprinkler. ;) We also relocated our garden from the dead center of our yard, to a large garden box running along the back wall. I was surprised by how much could still fit back there without taking up precious square footage.
Yesterday, our sod and gravel came and here it was it looks like right now:
Although we have a ways to go, we have made some serious progress on this space.
Mr. Miller built us a sweet little firepit (seen across the lawn there) that I plan to eat many-a-s’mores this summer. Next we will be building a shed next to the driveway to store all of our bikes and things that are scattered about right now, as well as make my dream come true with a chicken coop. We also will have some sort of play structure next to the trampoline and hopefully have some furniture to enjoy that awesome back patio of ours! We actually have an endless list of things we hope to do back here, but those are a few for starters.
Right now, I am just enjoying watching some of those dreams of mine become reality…
Life is sweet here at the Miller Manor.
*special thanks to all the hard working men who made this happen!*
Randy A. Frei Construction for concrete
Lanny with Modern Outdoor Design (such a dream to work with!)