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Matata's Backyard Makeover

Matata

Ideal_Rock
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I'm so excited, I just had to share. After completing most major redo's in the house, we are finally starting to tackle the outside. I'm going to keep this thread updated thru completion of the work.

A Bit of Background about the Landscaper
Eighteen years ago, I was a divorcee and bought my first house. It was new construction and the backyard was a patch of grass. Only one person in my town was willing to take on such a small job. Bob knew my budget was limited so he did all of the work himself. Did a fabulous job and I was overwhelmed with gratitude. Fast forward to now and I really wanted Bob again but thought he'd retired. Not so. I called him, he remembered me, we met to sketch out a plan, and away we go. He's 71 yrs young and can outlast the Energizer Bunny.

Before -- weedy grass and boring green stuff. He's building raised planting beds, raised veggie beds, installing a waterfall and greenhouse, adding a parterre, uplighting, new irrigation, hand-built stone bench, gravel paths. There will be stone walls edging the raised planting beds.

before_1.jpg

before_2.jpg

before_3.jpg

before_4.jpg
 

Matata

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The parterre will look similar to this one. The paths will be crushed gravel. There will be a tree in the center circle and the parterre "boxes" will have some sort of topiary in them as well as colorful annuals.

parterre-1.jpg
 

Matata

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Bob and his tractor. I'm hoping he'll let me drive it once. I'll probably plow through a wall of my house.

man_and_machine.jpg
 

Matata

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Roughing in the layout of the parterre and the waterfall

Monday the trenching for the electrical and irrigation begins.

parterre_layout.jpg

waterfall_lay_out.jpg
 

minousbijoux

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So exciting! Gardening is my favorite, so I'll be hanging on this thread. :))
 

ForteKitty

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We're redoing our backyard in the late fall/winter so I'll be following closely as well!
 

bright ice

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This will be interesting to watch, I hope it turns out like you want!
 

azstonie

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Matata! Bob is cute, is he single ? Us NIRDIs {Now I Really Did It thread here} are always looking for a good man for Jimmianne and she DOES love her some TRACTOR!!! Heehee :lol:

Okay, seriously, where is the POOL? A fountain at least but a large one? The cats expect a substantial water feature, you know. Atticus told me. :angel:
 

Matata

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azstonie|1466717857|4047277 said:
Matata! Bob is cute, is he single ? Us NIRDIs {Now I Really Did It thread here} are always looking for a good man for Jimmianne and she DOES love her some TRACTOR!!! Heehee :lol:

Okay, seriously, where is the POOL? A fountain at least but a large one? The cats expect a substantial water feature, you know. Atticus told me. :angel:
Alas Bob is heavily married for more than 40 years to the love of his life. Sickening sweet. We don't want a pool (our neighbors have a lovely one we can use) but we are having a nice waterfall put in to drown out some of the heavy traffic noise from the very busy street that borders our fence. When we moved in here, everything at the top of our street was agricultural land and now it's subdivisions. :blackeye: The waterfall will span about 13 feet, have substantial flow to drown out noise and attract birds and frogs so Atticus will have plenty to keep him occupied.

Speaking of the brat, this was him at midnight last night. Had a wild hair up his butt and didn't care at all that humans need their sleep in order to have enough energy to cater to the whims of a spoiled feline.

6-22-2016_midnight_madness.jpg
 

Matata

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ForteKitty|1466716430|4047266 said:
We're redoing our backyard in the late fall/winter so I'll be following closely as well!
The hardest part for me is balancing practicality against my intense fantasies. Our greenhouse will be 10' x 12' which is plenty big for growing things. Initially I wanted at least 18 x 20 because I was thinking in addition to actually growing things in there, I could dress it up with a wet bar, chandelier, small table and chairs and a hot tub. I mean, it's going to be heated and plumbed so why not expand our horizons, right? But we wouldn't actually use it enough for those other activities to warrant the extra maintenance and it would have diminished the amount of space I'd have outside for all the color and texture I wanted from the new plantings.

I've pared down the size of the raised veggie beds and the water feature to make each in scale with the space available. Otherwise I would have had a gigantic waterfall falling into a large deep pool that emptied into a series of rapids cascading across the yard. Again, why shouldn't we be able to white-water raft in our backyard. LOL. Every time I mentioned one of my yuuuuuge fantasies to Bob, he'd simply say, "well you've got the room, how much maintenance are you willing to do" and that pretty much brought me back to earth.

If you're starting your project fall/winter, you should already be meeting with someone about design. I thought about what I wanted for 2 years and even though I've been working with Bob for 3 months, we were still making significant tweaks to the overall design just this morning.

And finding a designer who "gets" you and that you can trust is the most important thing. Before I found out Bob hadn't retired, I interviewed 4 of the most well-known designers in our area and they each quoted me an amount for just the design work that is more than Bob is charging for the entire project.
 

Dancing Fire

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Very nice job!... :clap:
 

Calliecake

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I can't wait to watch your project unfold. It's going to be beautiful Matata. I also love gardening and having a greenhouse is a dream of mine. I now want a greenhouse with a chandelier!!!!!
 

Matata

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Calliecake|1466728639|4047347 said:
I now want a greenhouse with a chandelier!!!!!
Think how much happier our veggies would be growing under a little bling ....

greenhouse_chandelier.jpg
 

Calliecake

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Matata, We both NEED a greenhouse like this!!!!! We can sit in our greenhouses and look at our diamonds!!!
 

packrat

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I love yard threads! :appl: It's nice you're able to sit and decide it all out and have it done at once rather than piece meal it together as new ideas come, or the time/money comes like we've been doing. That's a pain in the ass!
 

Matata

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packrat|1466733743|4047365 said:
I love yard threads! :appl: It's nice you're able to sit and decide it all out and have it done at once rather than piece meal it together as new ideas come, or the time/money comes like we've been doing. That's a pain in the a$$!
Yah. We did the piecemeal thing on the in-house projects. My a$$ is still painful. The kitchen was especially rough. Our master bathroom is still 1980s beige tile but I don't have the energy to have any more people in the house making a mess so I'm learning to live with it. We've done one major project inside the house for the last 8 years. Last time I fantasized about gutting the bathroom the estimate came in $10,000 less than the yard is going to cost. Effing crazy. Hubby and I are abject failures at home improvement (he calls tools "instruments") so we have to hire out all this stuff.
 

Calliecake

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Matata, We both NEED a greenhouse like this!!!!! We can sit in our greenhouses and look at our diamonds!!!
 

Matata

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Calliecake|1466736653|4047378 said:
Matata, We both NEED a greenhouse like this!!!!! We can sit in our greenhouses and look at our diamonds!!!
Can you imagine the prisms shooting through the room with the sun coming thru the glass and bouncing off the crystal and diamonds. We'd probably scorch our retinas.
 

Rockinruby

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Matata, thanks for sharing your upcoming redo with us. I love makeover projects! The pics and plans look fantastic. I especially love the photos of Bob & Atticus. :dance: I will be following your thread with interest!
 

Calliecake

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Matata|1466736898|4047382 said:
Calliecake|1466736653|4047378 said:
Matata, We both NEED a greenhouse like this!!!!! We can sit in our greenhouses and look at our diamonds!!!
Can you imagine the prisms shooting through the room with the sun coming thru the glass and bouncing off the crystal and diamonds. We'd probably scorch our retinas.
Matata, I've been looking into this all evening on Pinterest. I have a really pretty chandelier in my closet that has amazing crystals. I want the same type in my greenhouse. I just need to find the paperwork so I can order one......after I get the money for the greenhouse. My poor husband was sitting here tonight shaking his head when I told him I need a greenhouse for our retirement home. I told him if I had to I would gladly give up the kitchen for a geeenhouse. I figured I haven't made a meal in 20 years so giving up a kitchen wouldn't be too hard. He thinks I have completely lost my mind but did say I don't have to sacrifice the kitchen.

I can't wait until your project is finished. Your yard is going to be spectacular!
 

ForteKitty

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Matata|1466721091|4047303 said:
ForteKitty|1466716430|4047266 said:
We're redoing our backyard in the late fall/winter so I'll be following closely as well!
If you're starting your project fall/winter, you should already be meeting with someone about design. I thought about what I wanted for 2 years and even though I've been working with Bob for 3 months, we were still making significant tweaks to the overall design just this morning.

And finding a designer who "gets" you and that you can trust is the most important thing. Before I found out Bob hadn't retired, I interviewed 4 of the most well-known designers in our area and they each quoted me an amount for just the design work that is more than Bob is charging for the entire project.
My yard is tiny compared to yours! We live in L.A. so we're all on top of each other. Our front yard was done earlier this year and we went all drought tolerant with a DG path, rock borders, and I designed it myself. *pats back* We have gotten a lot of compliments and have caught people sneaking pictures. It's so rewarding!! Our coworker does landscaping on the side so he and an assistant did all of the hard labor. We planted stuff that attracts bees, butterflies, and humming birds outside the windows so the cats can watch "nature tv". It turned out pretty nice so I've got done some sketches for the back as well. The back is currently barren because we haven't watered it except the fig, lemon, guava, and orange trees, and we only have about 54' x 60' in the very back of the lot to work with. We did the sides along with the front. It wont be too fancy because we really just need to make it as kid safe and as drought tolerant as possible, and put up lots of shade structures because we fry after about 15 minutes outside. No water features because we're going to be in a drought forever. If it were up to me I'd enclose the entire yard so we can go outside without being blasted by the sun. :roll: :D But I looooove looking all the pictures of lush and green yards with water features!!!
 

Matata

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ForteKitty|1466740620|4047401 said:
[
My yard is tiny compared to yours! We live in L.A. so we're all on top of each other. Our front yard was done earlier this year and we went all drought tolerant with a DG path, rock borders, and I designed it myself. *pats back* We have gotten a lot of compliments and have caught people sneaking pictures. It's so rewarding!!
You are fortunate to have an eye for design. I suck at it. I'm good at finding pictures of what I want and saying "gimme something like this." Our waterfall is circulating and the only minimally wasteful feature we will have. All of the water loss will come from evaporation and we'll have to add water to it occasionally.

Even though we don't yet have the same critical water issue you do, hubs and I are eco-conscious and the plants will be chosen primarily for their draught tolerance and attraction to birds, butterflies, and bees. The challenge is getting the lushly planted English cottage garden without it becoming a water hog. When Bob killed the grass I did a happy dance. Lawns are such a waste of resources.

Ohhh, I'm also considering putting up a roosting box for bats (although my motivation for that is not honorable. I want to pi$$ off a nasty neighbor :twisted: ) And we're going to have natural nesting materials as well as human-made bird houses scattered around. I can hardly wait until the plants mature enough to attract the critters.
 

ForteKitty

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I love that you have the critters in mind!!! When they installed the gate, my only request was for the bottom to have a 8" clearance on one side so the raccoons, possums, and skunks can continue to come at night. When they set off the motion lights, we run to the windows to see them! We also have a family of cats (trapped, fixed, & chipped) that live in the yard. They aren't ready to come inside but they are super friendly and so sweet. Still a little skittish from their feral days, but I'm hoping they'll want to come in next year.
 

House Cat

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You have beautiful plans for your garden!! They are so formal and french!! I love it!!! Do you know what kind of tree you are going to put in the circle??

If I had that little blue tractor, I would totally be driving that thing everywhere.

I can't wait to see the after photos!!
 

Resonance.Of.Life

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I LOVE the idea you have planned for your backyard, I am utterly jealous!
 

packrat

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What zone are you in?

We're getting a couple beehives next year and I'm looking into things for solitary bees and some other pollinator bees.
 

Calliecake

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Matata, Please post pictures so we can watch your beautiful design unfold. As you can see there are quite a few of us who are so excited for you.
 

momhappy

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I am really looking forward to watching your transformation take shape! I love projects like this and wish you the best of luck =)
 

Puppmom

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So exciting, Matata! If I'm honest, I would take that before picture over what I've got going now. I can't wait to see the results!
 
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