Sunday, July 3, 2011

Backyard Reno

The more you hear about the way our house looked when it was bought, the more you'll wonder why we bought it at all. 

Scary, scary backyard pre-landscaping

The backyard was literally a rectangle of dirt with a chainlink fence.  It was something we knew we'd do eventually, and needed to do if we ever wanted to be able to sell the house.  Having so much dust in the backyard was a huge aggravation because of this guy:

Everyday, he'd run outside, get covered in dust, come inside, and shake it all off.  I'd recommend that only those that enjoy profuse cleaning get a 100lb Newfoundland.  I spent the first two years in this house mopping. No joke.  Anyway, I knew the backyard landscaping was a really spendy project and we had to save and save and save!

Finally, after three years in the house, we were able to put a block wall around the backyard.  Then, a brick patio.  Kemi did most of the work preparing the backyard for sod, and we were finally able to have sod and rock installed. Oh happy day.

So this project in it's entirety did cost us a couple pretty, hard earned pennies, but we had prioritized our home projects, and this one was topping the list. We don't make bundles of money, so going into this we knew we had to establish a budget, then figure out a way to come in under that number. We learned that compromise doesn't mean corner cutting. We could have gone with one contractor for the whole sha-bang-a-bang, but that would have cost us more money. Here's the break down of the whole project. The block wall was one company. While the sod, curbing, rock, patio, and sprinkler system were another company. Some of the manual work i enlisted the help of my brother and knocked it out in a couple days. The brick for the patio we found on craigslist. we had to haul them ourselves, but by being patient and diligent in our search, we saved a little over $1000. The manual labor I did myself saved us roughly another $500. And we price matched for the rest of the job. We saved about $5000 total on the whole project. So to sum up: Do as much prep, and grunt work as you can yourself. Work that out with the contractor to save some extra cash. Search for as much of the materials on sale, or at a discount, craigslist, second hand contractor shops, etc. And lastly, negotiate with your contractor. Offer trusted referrals, future work or that you'll write them a sizzling review! Good luck, and happy projecting.

Kemi stitched a few photos of the backyard together

Me and Marley enjoying a dust-free existence

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