Thursday 17 July 2014

The History of our Backyard

When I was 16 years old, my family moved from the house I had grown up in to a house my dad designed and built. It was his dream house, and all of us were excited; especially me in terms of the amazing bedroom I was getting. It was a 16 year olds dream – walk in closet, my own bathroom, a gas fireplace and due to fire regulations, a balcony. Looking back, if someone had told me then that 12 years later I’d still be living in this house – now with my husband – I would have laughed. I am proof that life doesn’t always take the course one plans!

The house we moved into in 2001
While the new house had a lot of exciting features, I was disappointed about leaving my friends (who the majority were within walking distance), no longer being able to walk to school (it was directly behind our house) and most of all, leaving our backyard. Our house had the most amazing backyard! It was a corner lot that backed on to the school property – which meant no neighbors, it had a large deck where we had numerous summer parties, a large grassy area which was awesome for badminton and games, and best of all an incredible pool. The pool went in when I was around 5 years old, and was used almost daily in the summer. Growing up, my house was the place to be in the summer as my friends were always dropping in, and I was having get together and parties. Family was over often, and Adam, Mom and I spent every nice day outside and in the pool. According to my dad now, “The pool was never used!” but he’s completely wrong. He hardly used it (as he isn’t a strong swimmer and worked a lot), but the three of us did.

So though the new house was a dream come true, the backyard left little to be desired. There was hardly any grass in the backyard instead it was full of bins and electrical material. There were these beautiful old trees everywhere, but a few were rotting and the surrounding area was a mess. Over the course of the next few years, this only got worse. More electrical materials started arriving and piling up, along with bricks and stones (for eventual use). Our driveway was paved a few years later, and that just added a large strip of asphalt instead of all the rocks and pebbles that used to be there. It was such an eyesore that our neighbors once nicely requested we make an effort to do something, or else they would get the town involved. (I spent hours searching for old photos, but haven’t been able to find any. Likely because it was so hideous I didn’t bother taking any!)

This was actually clean! 
Eventually a garage was built at the back, but this didn’t change much. Now there was just another structure back there, with more mess. At this point the house next door was being used for electrical supplies as well, so no one really used any space outside the house. We essentially didn’t have a backyard instead we used my grandparents house and made use of their pool, picnic tables and grassy areas. A few years ago my dad got fed up with the backyard and decided to build an outdoor kitchen. It was mostly completed, but took up the entire backyard of our house, and over time became a place to store more junk.

A typical view!
When Brian moved in things slowly started to change.  He spent weeks laying sod, cleaning up everything, building a wall, planting a garden and making as much of the backyard livable as possible. He and dad built a shed, and worked on cleaning up the garage and finding places for all the random junk spilling out everywhere. The pizza kitchen got cleaned up as well, but since it still wasn’t completed we didn’t use it as much. I can remember only using it a handful of times which was a shame because it is a great space. 

Definite improvement! But still a long way to go!
Finally this year it was decided that it would be completed. Dad had Brian clean up the remaining mess and got a guy over to work on finishing it. Finally, we have a backyard again. While backyard of our house consists of the outdoor kitchen and garage, the property next door has grass, a garden, and a lot of amazing space. A few weeks ago we had the family over to use the pizza oven/outdoor kitchen and for the first time ever, the grass was actually used when a Frisbee game began.

It’s only taken 12 years but finally the house has a backyard, and one that we are utilizing!   

Hopefully the last little bit of trash will be gone by summers end!
Still a bit of rocks but MUCH better!

Making pizza!

It makes a good place to dance! (The back of the pizza oven has all been tiled and done in the weeks since)

The grass is being used!

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