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Previously On Redo Big Blue: A Clean Slate For Our Yard

"I truly can't believe how much work it took to give our yard a clean slate... I swear I could audibly hear our home give a huge sigh of relief and wrap us in a giant bear hug."

Looking back on all the work we have put into Big Blue, it is hard to decide what has required the most: the inside, or the outside. Those of you who have been here since the beginning might remember some of the large scale yard work that we did to give ourselves a clean slate to build upon. Well, we are finally ready to serve our yard once more! We have 3 projects planned for this fall (scroll through to read what they are!), but first, I wanted to walk down memory lane to remind us just how much has already been done!

I rounded up as many photos as I could to try and paint the picture for you, but bear with me as most of these photos were saved in a low quality format and I was much less practiced in thorough documentation skills.

I know it's hard to not focus on the dramatic color transformation of these before and after photos shared above, but for today let's focus on the yard. When we first moved in, I was sure our first exterior project would be painting the house! However, weekend after weekend it just wasn’t feeling right. I kept feeling this little nudge to put my efforts into the yard, but every time I tried I just got SO overwhelmed. Every inch of it felt daunting, front and back.

Whoever built this house 25 years ago may have had a real green thumb, but by the time it became ours all of the yard work had been neglected for what seemed like years. We thought pulling weeds, trimming bushes and tidying things up would do the trick. However, we quickly learned that this was a much bigger beast than we were expecting!

In preparation to sell the house, it seems the previous owners tried to make a quick fix of things. Rather than clearing things out properly, they left the mounds of different types of dirt and rocks, separated between multiple different layers of different types of weed barriers. They covered it up just like a big giant band aid with an additional layer of weed barrier and a thin spread of mulch. To hold the weed barrier in place they placed cement retaining wall bricks all around the edges. To be fair, it did help! Had they not done all of that, what sat underneath might have been enough to keep us from considering the house in the first place.

(The photos below are screenshots from Google Maps that show what was covered up.)

We enlisted the help of Riley’s dad and had a hay day pulling out a few of the overgrown bushes from the front yard. We soaked the roots with water first, wrapped tow straps around the base and yanked them out. It was surprisingly thrilling!

However there was still SO much to do. Feeling drown by the amount of removal ahead of us, we decided to rent a skid steer and a dump truck. We worked as fast and efficiently as we possibly could. By the end of the day we had pulled 3 trees and hauled 23 tons to the dump! We were completely astonished.

We made some major progress, but when all was said and done we still had more work ahead of us. There was as much cleared land in need of grass as there was already grown lawn. So, we gave it our best shot and planted grass seed (In the middle of the summer. Not sure what we were thinking..) and slowly watched it all fill in. We were so out of our element, and planting grass is definitely my least favorite project we have done yet. Lessons were learned. For example: it really is essential to take a sample of your grass in so you make sure the new grass blends in seamlessly. Yup, still regret ignoring that one, ha!

Eventually it all filled in and we were left with twice as much grass as we had before. Things were so much cleaner and we had so many neighbors thanking us! I truly can't believe how much work it took to give our yard a clean slate, but it was one of those huge projects that left us feeling SO fulfilled. I swear I could audibly hear our home give a huge sigh of relief and wrap us in a giant bear hug, filling all of us with so much gratitude!

As mentioned earlier, tomorrow is the beginning of another round. Skid steer and all! Although this time we are doing more than just clearing things out! We are excited to get started on the following:

  1. Creating a proper play area for our girl's playset (currently being renovated!) and the trampoline to rest.

  2. Officially planting the flowerbeds in the front yard!

  3. Clearing out what we call our Junkyard (possibly never before seen by any of you?), and building ourselves a custom storage shed in it's place!

We are eager to show our home some more love and plan on sharing every step with you!

Thanks for being here to experience all of it with us!


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