Showing posts with label Pool. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pool. Show all posts

DIY Backyard Landscaping Reveal

Jul 15, 2018

I think I've written so many times about wanting to have our backyard landscaped! We have had zero luck with contractors over the past two years. Their vision and/or pricing has not been even close to what I had in mind. My husband and I had mentioned just planting trees and shrubs ourselves, but we were still thinking it over until a few weeks later when we noticed Houston Garden Center had 50% off all their plants. They have the sale every year and even discount them to 75% off in August. This sale is also how we landscaped our last backyard for cheap. It's not exactly ideal timing with the Houston heat, but if you're willing to sweat you can save big. We decided we were ready to sweat!

When we built our pool a couple of years ago we added the Italian cypress trees behind the pool wall within a few months. They were a little thin and short at the time, but they have grown so much the past two years. The new landscaping is all along the fence line in the back. I'm hoping in the next year or two the plants will grow a couple of feet taller and wider so you don't even see the fence.

We only addressed half the yard, from behind the hot tub to the side gate by the front of the house. It's the main area you see when you walk outside. I'm hoping we will landscape the other half next summer. I'm already going to start planning it out to get a head start!

This is the starting point. I'll take you you on a little tour all the way to the side gate.

We used Japanese blueberries and magnolia trees where we will eventually need privacy on the side fence (directly in front of you in the below photo). Hopefully, it will be a couple of years before the lot is sold and the house built so they have time to get big. The area to the left (the fence behind the pool) will never have neighbors on that side so we used wax myrtles that will just cover the fence. I also added Texas sage that's a bit lighter in leaf color to add a bit of variation. It has a pretty purple flower that blooms in the spring and summer too. 

I like how the new flowerbed creates a little walking path in the back. We also added solar lights to the beds. They are only $10 each and it's so nice not to have to worry about using timers and electricity. It's also a no-brainer to install. You just stick it in the ground and switch it on. There's no lines to bury at all. My husband says he would eventually like to get real lights, but I think these are fine. They are bright enough and last all night.

The view from behind the cypress trees.

The side fences-The one with the magnolias is one side fence on the unbuilt lot. Their house will back up to the corner of our house on this small section. The one with the cypress trees is the second side fence.

The other side fence. It's a strange shaped backyard with two neighbors on one side. Here's a close-up of the Japanese blueberries that will eventually reach 30 feet tall. They are about five feet tall right now. I'm hoping next year they will cover the fence. Then we start a line of cypress trees. These are what ours looked like when we planted the ones behind the pool wall. It's amazing how big they get! I'm not quite sure if these are going to stay. We were honestly out of options because we needed something big, but didn't want to buy too many of the same plants. They may end up being transplanted to the other side of the yard next year.

I absolutely love these holly trees! I kind of wish we had continued these down the fence line, but they were a little pricey. If they're still available next month at 75% off I may buy several more. I love that they almost cover our neighbor's house. It's so nice to look out the dining room window and see greenery instead of fence and a house so close by. They still need to get a bit taller and grow wider, but it's already a huge improvement.

The small shrub with the roses and vincas around it were my idea of a divider between the holly and cypress trees. I'm not so sure that worked out so great in reality! I'm thinking of curving the bed a little more so it's not such a half circle. If I copy it on the other side against the house I'm hoping it may look like the grass is in an oval shape.

I still haven't planted anything against the house yet. I'm not sure if I'm up to it this year!

This is just a first layer. I'd like to tweak and add more in front of the large trees and shrubs. I decided to get the big stuff in first so we can add privacy from the side neighbors and cover the unattractive fence.

To recap, here is the before.




It was so worth it to DIY our backyard landscaping. We saved so much money that instead of landscaping one small section we were able to do half the yard. How much did we save? The quote we received for the same landscaping area was $35,000 and we spent $3,000. No joke! Half our budget went to hiring someone to shape the beds and mulch it. We could have saved several hundred more, but we wanted to have it completed in time for our 4th of July party. We decided we were on a roll so we installed a new outdoor speaker system for the patio and saved 70% there. It was already pre-wired so it really wasn't difficult at all.

What's in store for next year? I mentioned I'd like to landscape the other side of the yard and it's what I'm most excited about. I'm going to create a formal garden! It's something that I've always wanted. I'm a little nervous because it's so different from anything I've ever done. At least the yard on that side is less challenging because there aren't privacy issues or weird lot angles to disguise. I've got a year to draw it out instead of just grabbing what was on hand at the garden center with no plan!


Bring It On, Summer!

Apr 29, 2017

It gets HOT in Texas so all outdoor projects have a hard May deadline. The past month I've re-landscaped the front yard and spruced up the back patio. 

I added a pretty french blue color out here for the spring and summer. The fiddle leaf tree that was in this blue and white planter bit the dust so I tried it out here with a new bougainvillea that's still alive thankfully. I found the pillows at Pottery Barn and knew they would instantly go out here. I'm still shopping for a new outdoor coffee table since I'm not thrilled about the two ottomans pushed together. Once I find that and a new outdoor rug I can call this patio done!

I spend every weekend morning out here with my coffee while I watch Behind the Gates on AWE. If you haven't seen this show, you've got to check it out. Coffee plus fabulous houses makes the perfect morning!

All of the flowers are blooming and I couldn't be happier. 

This bougainvillea is huge! I made my son put his head next to one of the blooms for reference. He looks thrilled right?!

The weather is beautiful right now and we spend every minute we can outside. 

The boys are already in the pool even though the water was freezing this day. I went in Friday and it's getting warmer, but still too cold for me to get in all the way. 

Our new dining set is in! We are missing a chair in this picture, but we finally put it together. I found it online at Target and it's the same wicker as our loungers. Since the loungers held up so well the past year I decided to get the matching chairs.

I know this isn't how most people spend Easter, but we're not exactly traditional over here! We made a huge breakfast and enjoyed every minute by the pool. Just a couple of years ago the boys would be running all over the yard looking for eggs and now they are somewhat calmly enjoying breakfast. When they have bad table manners I threaten cotillion. If you live in the south you know that's every girl's dream and every boy's worst nightmare. It's a group of young boys and girls that have ettiequte classes and formal dances if you aren't familiar with it. I just have to say the c word and bad manners disappear.

We also installed these new outdoor lights from Costco over the dining area. I noticed it was a bit dark here even with the floodlight on and they definitely brighten up the entire space.

On to the front yard! It was a bit sad looking this year with dead plants and honestly just a poor design from the builder. All of our neighbors have amazing yards so I'm not sure why they skimped on ours, but we had to fix it. We consulted a landscape architect, but they wouldn't be able to work on it for at least a month so we decided to do it ourselves. Don't ask about the manhole with the circle of plants around it. I have no idea what the builder was thinking, but that drove me crazy to say the least. Don't mind my son out here playing basketball either. At least half the time I take a picture there is someone or my dog photobombing.

After! I just love my new maple tree. Even though I complain about the lack of landscaping from the builder, it's nice to pick out our own trees and plants. Most of our neighbors have oak trees and I like them, but I have always loved maples. The leaves are looking a little distraught on one side of the tree, but I'm hoping that's temporary. We also added junipers and roses. The flowerbeds are in the same shape as before to make it easy and we just replaced or moved plants instead. One day we'll get it professionally landscaped, but this is definitely good enough for now. 

Here's a closer look at the junipers and roses. The yaupon are so similar to boxwoods that act as a border. These were what was surrounding the weird manhole before.

We are finished with our summer projects with a few exceptions to the patio and we're waiting on quotes to come in for the balcony railing on the back patio retaining wall. I was all set on one contractor and then I never heard from them again. So, we're back to the drawing board, but at least it's not us sweating outside in the summer heat installing a railing!

Saturday Morning Gardening

May 24, 2014

Thank goodness it's Saturday! It was so nice to sleep in today and enjoy my coffee out on the balcony with Mario. I love sitting outside surrounded by pretty plants. I moved a few palm trees around yesterday and finally finished the rock waterfall plantings. It took a while to figure out where everything should go and corrected a few mistakes. Gardening does not come naturally to me, but I'm starting to get a feel for it. This could be my new addiction. Plant all the things!

The small palms (Pygmy Dates/Phoenix Robellini) were moved from behind the waterfall since I could only see the tops of them. I put them behind the patios, which also fills the gaps in the landscaping. My two new queen palms are now behind the waterfall. That's much better! They are a little close to each other, but after looking pictures I see huge ones planted that close. I would have just planted one in the middle, but we have a huge pipe there for the pool.

This is becoming my new favorite spot to sit. I feel like I'm hidden among the plants from the neighbors while still being able to see the kids swim.

The pygmy dates got a little trim this morning since they were starting to look like a palm shrub instead of a palm tree.

I didn't trim them too much because I like to use the palm fronds for d├ęcor.

I still have tons of work to do around the fences, but I'm starting to formulate a plan. This shady corner is home to a couple of new elephant ears that will hopefully grow fast and tall.

I love this side of the yard, but the roses probably won't ever cover the fence so they will get transplanted. They will look great in my front yard along with the white crepe myrtles we put in last year. I would like the front to have more of a cottage feel.

I'm not the only one enjoying the backyard. The pool is the big draw for my kids, but they also love to just sit out here with me. They even brought their breakfast out here this morning.

I'm so glad they are enjoying it as much as me. Have a great weekend!

A Tropical Update

Apr 18, 2014

Are you ready for some palm trees?!


It all started with the two palms behind the waterfall. I just wanted to soften the rocks a bit and loved the way it looked so much that I went back for more a few more palms, and then a few more. Throw a few hibiscus in and I now have a vacation in my backyard. I also had enough dirt in the back of my suv to sprout a garden. That's the price of DIY!

I'm so eating my words now. When we put in our pool I told my husband I didn't want any tropical plants since it didn't fit with our landscape or our home. We planted crepe myrtles and knockout roses instead. They are pretty, but I just wasn't getting that vacation vibe when I walked outside and saw this.


And now...


Much better! I finally bought a couple of pool loungers, too. I decided against the teak loungers that match our outdoor dining table since it hasn't held up that well. You just can't beat the durability of plastic. And they were extremely cheap so if they get damaged I won't feel sick over them.


The large tree is a queen palm. I was hesitant to plant something that gets up to 20ft tall so close to the pool, but the roots are very small and won't damage the foundation. The sago palm is the smaller one and it gets to be a max of 6ft tall. They are nice in flowerbeds, which is why I put one in the bed near the fence.


I love the knockout roses, but I really want to cover the eyesore of a fence. They will probably be transplanted to the front yard later this summer.


As you can see, there is quite a bit of fence to cover up. Once the plants get marked down to 70% off in August at our local garden center I will load up on more palms, banana trees, and elephant ears.


If you're wondering why we have gaps in between the hibiscus, it's because we needed to leave the area behind the fire pits open.

We had a patio area of flagstone put in for chairs when using the fire pits.


The second fire pit and patio on the other side of the palms.


And, a Mario photo bomb.


Isn't this so much better? I'm finding any excuse to go outside and enjoy it. There's still a lot of work to be done out here, but it's come such a long way. Have a great weekend!

TDC Before and After