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Oh, wait: That means we need to clean up the mess in our backyard!


See, when we moved into this house, we realized there would be a few nice-to-have changes in the backyard, and quickly realized some of them need to be de-prioritized. Let me explain.


What is now our family room used to be an attached garage. The driveway remains, and there is a brick fireplace where there used to be a garage door. Pretty cool stuff, except that the driveway is sloped and sending water right to the stone. Not good.


Additionally, the trees were in bad shape and unfortunately needed to be removed. That, in addition to the improper slope of the back yard, means we needed to take action right away in order to prevent more damage.

Here’s our game plan, as well as a few tips:


We removed the trees, and are having the slope and retaining walls updated to get the water draining correctly. This is a big deal, as many of you know water is one of your homes worst enemgy. Get an expert to help you, as we did, to help you ensure you are taking care of all of the possible issues there might be.


Tree removal can be tricky, so it’s best to get an expert here, too. Finding someone that is licensed and insured is crucial. 


Meet with a landscape designer to brainstorm before you do anything. They will help you understand what is possible and bring ideas to you that you didn’t think of, and help you see your yard in a fresh perspective. Most will do an hourly rate, and that is time well spent - and if you choose, you can hire them to do the dirty work for you!


Don’t panic about compromises. For example, we needed a fence to help keep the kids in the yard. And our eyes rolled back into our heads when we saw the price for a 6’ privacy fence for our double lot! Therefore, we went with a 4’ and felt a little disappointed, until we realized something that seemed so obvious: We like our neighbors! And when you have kids, it’s so nice to be able to stand and chat with your neighbors while the kids play (likely with a glass of wine) at the end of the day. The taller privacy fence would have shut us off from that friendly vibe.


Finally, realize you may not be able to do it all at once. That’s just fine! Working with professionals will help you prioritize what needs to be done now, and what you can do later. If you plan things out properly, you’ll likely end up saving money in the long run as you do it right the first time. Having a long-term plan helps put this all into perspective, too.

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