Sore Muscles & Dirt

The pathway & lawn are done. I may have killed El Granto in the process, but they’re done.

No really, El Granto is a wreck. I think the sheer amount of sunlight, heat & heavy lifting was too much for the poor Englishman. He’s got a bit of heat exhaustion, and is spending the day in the a/c topping up his fluids. I feel like a bit of a jerk, cause my girly muscles couldn’t really help him as much as I would have liked.

Here is what we accomplished, although it doesn’t look like much, it was an absolute ton of work.

Backyard Progress
Backyard Progress

Recap from last weekends progress: We took up the path, laid down new rock bedding, and re-laid the pathway, this time with the concrete pavers upside down.

Now, here’s what we did this weekend:

We rented a rototiller, and tilled the whole lawn. Yep, the whole thing, even where we had bits of grass growing. We wanted a fresh clean start, and to get our really packed down lawn a loosening up, and re-grading.

El Granto rockin the rotatiller
El Granto rockin the rototiller

While we were tilling, we ran into a few bumps err rocks. As I started to dig further to get the rocks out, we realized the back half of the lawn was filled with rubble, and then topped with a tiny bit of topsoil. We’re not talking a few stones, we’re talking a bunch of whole bricks, chunks of concrete and other junk. We dug them all out, and bagged them up. They will go out with our trash in our Bagster in the next week or so.

Bricks, concrete, random rubble.
Bricks, concrete, random rubble.

After we tilled and removed the junk, we dug out a trough beside the pathway.

Digging Trough
Digging Trough

We edged it with plastic edging, and lined it with landscaping fabric.

Trough & edging
We used 4 1/2″ wood blocks as spacers to try to get the edging laid evenly. That plastic edging however does not like to lay straight.

We then filled the trough with large river rock. This will not only be good for drainage, but it also gives a nice custom look to the otherwise cheapo concrete path. Like putting lipstick on a pig. You know its still a pig, but at least you’ve got something else to look at.

Trip to the garden center for 13 bags of large river rock. All told we have 25 bags of rock under and beside the path. Wowza.
Trip to the garden center for 13 bags of large river rock. All told we have 25 bags of rock under and beside the path. Wowza.
Trough filled with large river rock
Trough filled with large river rock

After the rocks were laid, we raked and re-graded the lawn, and seeded it. We used a combination of sun/shade grass seed and white clover, and used an old EZ seed container we had laying around to distribute the seed.

Seeding Lawn
Seeding the Lawn (and looking awkward.)

After we seeded, we raked over the lawn, and have been watering perpetually ever since. It isn’t ideal to seed in July, but we will try our hardest to make this grass & clover grow! For the next couple weeks, Odin is blocked from the yard, and we will have to do walks for all his dog needs. Hopefully this will actually give the lawn a shot to get going!

Path + Rock Edging + Seeded Lawn
Path + Rock Edging + Seeded Lawn

A full reveal is a few weeks away. We’ve gotta turn this dirt patch into a lawn. You can follow along on grass watch 2014 on Instagram. Cause you know, watching grass grow is super interesting. We know how to party round here!

We also got started on our deck pergola. An update will come on that later this week!

Excuse me while I go mow down on copious amounts of ibuprofen.



Backyard Progress Report

While I don’t yet have a stunning after shot of the backyard, we are making some progress!

Here’s what we’ve been up to the last few weeks:

We painted the back of the Storefront. This was a bigger task than you’d think, after scraping, caulking, priming, and two coats of paint, only painting in mornings so there would be no direct sun on the paint, it took a whole long while! Glad to have this one done.


We almost choose a door paint color, but then decided to get sample fabrics, and decide on all the colors at once. We will be making new outdoor drapes (this time out of real outdoor fabric instead of drop cloths.) We will also be making a nice permanent cover for our outdoor daybed, again using the super durable and water repellent fabrics from Sunbrella.


We borrowed Grant’s Mum’s car, and loaded it up with HPB (High Performance Bedding), a cool rock product that is the perfect bedding for pavers, and requires no sand or compacting. We purchased 12 cubic foot bags of it from the super nice & helpful guys at Van Beek’s Garden Supplies and lugged it home and into the yard.


We then pulled up the old 30″ x 24″ pavers (man they we’re heavy!), laid down the rock, screeded, and laid the pavers back down. We really wish we had the budget for new pavers, but the most important part of this job was to fix the drainage problems.



We did have one ace in our sleeve however. We flipped over the paving stones, so instead of having a fugly textured concrete pattern, they are now just plain concrete. A lot more industrial looking, and surprisingly a big transformation. I’m not going to spoil the after yet, so you will have to wait a bit longer to see what they look like. The most important thing however is we had a huge rain storm last night, and there was ZERO lake in the backyard! No dirt on the path, and no puddles! Big win for the Storefront.

As much progress as we’ve made, we still have a lot to do. Whats left on our list?


  • Till up the grass, create and edge garden bed by the ivy, top dress lawn, and seed with clover and grass.
  • Get & install new exterior lights. I have my eye on these.
  • Get fabric, and sew new outdoor drapes.
  • Sew cover for outdoor daybed.
  • Make 2 new outdoor side tables.
  • Paint doors.
  • Add some more flowers & landscaping.
  • Replace door knobs.

ANNNNNND we found another project to add to the list. A few weeks ago we were out at a rooftop patio downtown, and they had this draped pergola shade structure.


How perfect would that be on our upstairs deck? Yep! Add another project to the list.

  • Build badass shade pergola.


So what did you get up to on the weekend? Any backyard projects?