Project #5: The Yard
The kitchen was a huge transformation, but it’s hard to tell whether it or the yard was the biggest transformation on this project. When we moved in, the back yard was mostly brown painted concrete. There was a dilapidated mobile home and a ratty white canopy. The fence was a combination of silver chain link, black chain link, and crumbling wood. The front yard was mulched with a smattering of statues, a fountain of a boy peeing, chunky edging, and overgrown bushes and trees everywhere.
We wanted a professionally done, beautiful yard. We tried calling landscape architects, but this job is too small for them. Finally, we got a landscaper to come out and draw up a plan, but the plan had too many errors to be useful. Aric and my mom decided to take matters into their own hands, and each worked on plans together and separate. They had multiple iterations.
Then, our kitchen-contractor-turned-everything man referred us to someone, and we paid him $300 for a plan. This plan had some room for improvement, and we went through a few iterations with him. This company did not to concrete yard demos, grading, or fences, so we started shopping those portions around.
We found a fence company owner, Evan*, we really liked, and his price was fair. He knew someone, Damon*, who owned a landscape company, and he was willing to remove trees, demo the concrete, grade the yard, and do the landscaping. He even matched the first landscaper’s plant prices. We decided to go with this duo rather than the company who gave us the plan because it was almost like a one-stop-shop.
We visited Damon’s nursery to discuss specific plant options. We wanted to have a final plan, but Damon said he’d “make it work.”
Damon started the job when he said he would. The demo took longer than anticipated though, and he wasn’t done when Evan came to do the fence, so Evan had to hire someone to grind stumps. We lost two days waiting for Damon to handle the stumps before Evan took care of it himself. Because the back yard was not graded on time, Evan’s team was not able to install a few panels in the back. They had to return once Damon completed the demo. They also had to raise a gate once Damon covered that area with shell.
The result of the fence was white vinyl with mostly pickets surrounding what would soon be a red, white, and blue house. It looks great.
Damon did eventually return and finish everything, and the result really is beautiful. We have many kinds of palms in the back: areca palms, traveler palms, cat palms, Christmas palms, and foxtail palms. We have white flowers, pink flowers, purple flowers, red flowers, and blue flowers. We have a few hundred square feet of amazing-looking, sealed pavers. We even have irrigation. The front yard design revolves around magnolias, Aric’s favorite tree.
If we could go back and change one thing about this project, we would go back to the day we were in the nursery and finalize a plan, not taking Damon’s word that he would “make landscaping work” on his contract. We made some changes to the landscape here and there and were hit by a $1000+ change order at the end of the project. If we had finalized the plan, this would not have happened.