Liza Greis

Do-it-yourself projects and Home Decor

My backyard…..

When we were looking for a home we told the realtor two things. 1.We didn’t want a new house.  2. And we didn’t care how big the house was but we wanted a huge backyard. I love being outdoors even more than inside and gardening is a huge form of therapy for me. And with all boys, the yard is really a huge playroom for them :)

I have shown you practically my whole house and I have shown you bits and pieces of my yard, but it is hard to take a picture of my whole backyard because of the size and shape. So I thought I would draw up some plans to show you since this is where I have spent the majority of my time the last month and a half :)

When we moved in our house had sat vacant for a long time. The backyard was just gravel and weeds as tall as I am. It looked horrible. There were chunks of cement, piles of rocks, garbage, dead trees, and hard as rock dirt.  I am seriously just happy to have grass! We have slowly done a project here and there. This next picture is what we would still like to add to it:

I would love to have a flagstone patio off the back of the house that extended clear over where the fountain is in the picture. On the patio and under the pergola would be where we would have out main sitting area with my door screen as a backdrop. I will plant vines to grow up the pergola.

The sandbox area I am actually really excited about I have a plan (I am not going to share at this time) that will make it pretty and not such an eye sore.

The cement pad was already here when we bought the house. We decided to build our boys a clubhouse on it. We bought the 2x4s last year and then my husband was laid off from his job. The boys have been so patient. We have promised them to build it for 3 summers now. *sigh* One day…….

I would love to build a fence around my garden. The boys and all the neighbor kids play ball in the open part of our yard and balls are always getting in the garden. They are not careful when they tromp through to retrieve them either.

The place with the fire pit is kind of like our “camping area”. My boys LOVE camping! Sometimes my husband sets up a tent over there and they sleep in the backyard. They get to feel like they are camping and I get to sleep in my comfy bed. That is what I call a win win :) We have never owned a barbeque. I would love to have another flagstone patio with a small pergola and a built in BBQ for my man :)

I would love to get some cement poured in the very back of our yard. We have access to an alley that leads to the road. It is so nice to be able to drive into the back of our yard to load up a truck with yard waste for the dump or bring in a truck load of compost back from the dump. And I think it would make a good spot for the kids to ride bikes or play basketball. I know it will cost a bloody fortune so who knows if it will ever really happen. But that is what I would like to see back there instead of weeds.

Another thing I have toyed with is the idea of a stream running through our yard. I am hesitant to add a big water feature because of the maintenance. I have a huge garden and flower beds and I am not sure I want to worry about a stream. But I have always wanted one! Maybe when I move to the country…….

What plans do you have for your yard? Or do you already have your dream space???


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  1. Vanessa says

    Hi, Liza

    You have a big yard, can’t wait to see pics. You have some great ideas, but am with you about the stream too much work, but it is a lovely idea. Have a great weekend.


  2. Liz Chaisson Thompson says

    What a HUGE back yard! I think mine would fit in your garage. You have really great ideas about what to do out there and it will be absolutely wonderful when it’s all completed. I love that you’re planning kid areas intermingled with adult areas.

    I have far less to do in mine, simply a patio and some plantings… and it will still take me a long time to get it all done. :) Liz

  3. Laura @ Laura's Crafty Life says

    Such a great yard. Our yard is also a work in progress. It isn’t as big as yours, but it is still pretty big. We have slowly been doing what we can since we moved in with absolutely no landscaping! It is expensive and time consuming, so we do what we can. This year I am trying to get the front yard completely landscaped – we are about 85% of the way done. And in the backyard I hope to get bricks laid around our swingset, so we can fill in the area underneath it with mulch. Much better than pokey weeds! And if we can swing it, to plant some grass in the fall! :)

  4. Marci says

    My dream for my backyard is totally out of my control… We live in a place that has been under drought conditions most of the 2 years we’ve lived here. We have strict regulations as to when we can water. I really just would love some green grass. We’ve got some intensely tall weeds that have been a hassle to tackle. And a garden doesn’t work too well either because of extreme heats :( I guess my dream yard will have to wait indefinitely.

  5. Emily says

    Wow, that’s a huge backyard! It looks like a boy’s heaven :) My dad and brothers used to camp out in our backyard too! They loved it!

  6. Pam the Goatherd says

    We have 6 1/4 acres of back yard including a 1 acre pond on one side and a several acre swamp on the opposite side. In between we’ve got goat pens, barns, woods, gardens, a picnic area with bonfire pit, a pad for tent camping, a small fruit orchard, two huge berry and veggie gardens, and our house with a huge deck overlooking the pond.
    I’d love to build a playhouse in our woods.
    Would like to have a stream bed dug that would flow from the pond to the swamp. The water flows that way naturally when it rains and our pond overflows, so I’d really like to make it a more defined stream with a flood gate on the pond so we can adjust the water level as needed.
    I’d like to build a gazebo at the end of a dock that would go out into our pond so we could have a paddle boat and a pontoon float in the middle of the pond for our future grandchildren to swim or peddle-boat or canoe out to.
    I’d like to build some wooden benches to put in various places around the yard – like this one place in the woods where the ground is covered with violets in the Spring.
    But the truth is we don’t have the money to do any of those things. So I just continue to dream and try to figure out how to do some of those things without spending any money.

  7. Jess says

    I love your ideas.
    We have a big back (and side) yard that we love! We’ve lived in our house for 6.5 years, and have always wanted to fence it in…FINALLY this year we are. My husband is about 1/2 way finished with it, and it has made such a huge difference! Next up is building the kids a swing set. After that we’ll be at a stand still until our foundation gets fixed. Eventually we’ll have a shed and I would love a pondless water feature near our deck….have to wait and see =)

  8. Lisha @ 1house1couple says

    I envy your yard even though God says not to covet ;)

    Your yard is so big and has so many aspects that a yard should be!

    I like your new blog look :) I liked the old look too, but I know how it feels to want a new look every now and then! :)


  9. Cynthia says

    I love your plans! It’s so fun to think about what to do, how to do it and where to put it. Love the pergola you have planned. They have such a cool ambiance!

    I am in year 6 of my landscape makeover. I have parts of it done- the most expensive parts- but still miles to go. The frustration for me is how little time I’ve had to take care of what I have. The bones are good but my maintenance has really suffered from my much more crowded life schedule!

    I did have the fun of having heavy equipment tear out my sister’s entire backyard on Saturday. We’ll be getting a significant portion of her ‘dream yard’ started over the next month or two. It’s just so expensive! Knowing what you want is the first step but man, it takes a ton of money it seems to really make it happen- even for a simple space.

  10. Jan says

    Your plan is awesome! Your boys must love playing outside – there’s so much for a child to do here. I’ve been redoing my yard forever – but that’s the nature of landscapes – there’s always something else you can do to make yours better. Look forward to seeing yours as it comes together!

  11. Heart and Haven says

    Is the space near the end big enough to put in a 1/2 court basketball court? That would be so awesome for all your boys!
    And the firepit area and camping in the backyard – I’m so jealous! What an awesome space.

    You’re not getting rid of your chicken coop are you? We also have backyard chickens, and LOVE them!

  12. Allison says

    Stumbled upon your blog (via StumbleUpon) under the gardening term. LOVE the visual of your garden/backyard. What program did you use to do so? My husband and I are trying to figure out how to landscape our own yard but not sure quite how to do so. A lot of ideas, though.

    Saw that you have a chicken coop. What kind of chickens do you have?