Finally, A New Back Yard (Mostly)…

Word! It’s Hubby here!

So after 2+ years of planning, killing all grass in the backyard, tilling, re-killing all of the grass, re-tilling, re-planning, and more of the same… I have finally been able to turn our backyard into something that I am proud of.

FIRST, It started in 2008 when we bought our home.

As you can see, there is a huge missing chunk of our cement patio missing. The previous owners were going to put a spa there, but didn’t. Then used the broken cement to create a flower bed, but since they didn’t have enough cement, they used other materials to finish the bed. Then you had dead trees, ugly (to me) bushes, a multitude of bricks, a backyard mostly of weeds and not grass, among other things. BLAH!

THEN, in 2009, I wanted to do some work to the yard, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do or if I had the money. I started a small vegetable garden in the back right corner that was very fruitful.

I started to remove bushes and dead trees that was quick and easy for me to do. Next, I tried to remove the large chunk of cement that was left, but it was almost 12 inches thick! I couldn’t do that unless I had heavy duty tools! Also, another element that our yard lacked was irrigation. I have never installed an irrigation system before, because in the South, we have what us Southerners call… “RAIN”.

Anyways, so I re-thought a plan. Why don’t I fill that missing patio with cement, then install an irrigation system, move my garden to a different part of the back yard, redo the flower bed, and fix the grass!??!

I’m so bless to work with such incredible people. Our co-worker and neighbor, TommyG was the biggest reason our yard turned out so nice. He helped me (or really, I helped him) mix and pour out the cement the redo our patio! He also taught me the art of irrigation and sodding among 5000 other things in the last 2 years!

Here’s what it started off looking like before we poured in the concrete…

And here’s the finished product…

You can see my yearly attempts to kill everything green in the yard minus the plants. We also installed a below ground fire pit because I don’t like raised ones as much and it would be easier to make.

For the total costs of this project:
Bags and Bags and Bags of Cement – Approx. $250.00.
Boards, Supports & Nails for the molding – FREE (already had)
Float, Hand tools & other Cement project type tools – Rented for 1 day – $25.00.
Bricks for the Fire Pit – FREE (already had plenty)
Labor – FREE (dinners as payment)
Cement Mixer – FREE (our work let us borrow it, score!)
Sunburn – FREE (bonus!)

GRAND TOTAL of approximately $275.00!


As you can see, when you add new cement around old cement, the texture and color looks different. Not until last month I found out that you can fix this problem for CHEAP!

First, remove all furniture and clean the patio good!

Then fix all of the cracks with cement putty.

Then purchase a cement stain. I got this color from the Home Depot. It is some good stuff. Only 1 coat and only 1 gallon!

HEY BOSCO, you’re not working hard… you’re hardly working! MOVE!

For the total costs of this project:
Cement Stain – $25.00
Roller – $2.00
Roller Handle – $2.50
Paint Tin – $3.00
Cement Putty – $5.00
Labor – FREE (me, myself and I)
Sunburn – Denied!

GRAND TOTAL of $37.50


Unfortunately, I’m not always quick to remember to take photos of things that I am doing. I don’t think, I do! Anyways, in 2010, TommyG helped me do the irrigation in the front yard and with that lesson, I was able to do the backyard solo! It did, however, take me 4 months to complete because right when I was about to complete the task… Rain happened, then Winter happened! BLAH! So instead of being done in late 2010, it was more of early 2011. Anyways, I made 4 stations for the back yard. 2 for the garden and 2 for the rest.

For the total costs of this project:
Irrigation piping – Approx. $50.00
All of the values and sprinkler heads – Approx. $75.00
All of the extra parts I had to get because either I forgot or didn’t know I needed until I was doing it – Approx. $50
Tools – Approx. $25.00
Outdoor Sprinkler Timer – $55.00
Sprinkler Wiring – $20.00
Labor – Around 50 HOURS OF FREE (myself)
Sunburn – Rejected!

GRAND TOTAL of approximately $275.00


So the previous owner of our house was a general contractor. And the backyard was their equipment storage, idea testing lab and lost and found among other things. To this day, I have found several hundreds pounds of BURIED concrete that I have no idea was it was buried under the ground. I also use to always find bury nails, 2 buried forks, a buried clay and other super random things. Anyways, I was left with approx. 150 brick and recently I decided to replace the halfway made flower bed and actually extend it, starting with the bricks I already had.

I went to Home Depot and bought an additional 450 bricks to complete the project.

For the total costs of this project:
450 Red Clay Bricks – $150.00
Labor – FREE (myself)
Sunburn – No Mas!

GRAND TOTAL of approximately $150.00


So this was the beast that took an entire Saturday while Bobbi was out at the Ragner Relay. For 2 years, I have wanted this, but I needed to first complete my irrigation system, then kill all of the grass/weeds, finish my flower bed, get out my tiller and work the yard and lastly remove all dead grass and level the land.

So I had about 1000 sqft that I wanted to cover with sod and so I got a quote. $750 to sod my back yard. That comes out to $0.75 per sqft for all of the sod, delivery of the sod and installation of the sod. Now, I do hear that that isn’t a bad rate for nice new sod, but I didn’t want to pay that! So I did some research. There is a company in a nearby city that offers sod for $0.30 per sqft! And on top of that, if I order 1000 sqft, they would deliver the sod to my house for FREE! So, in an effort to save $450, I decided to do it myself! Talk about trial by fire! This was the first time I had ever done anything like this and with some advise from TommyG on what my game plan should be, I went head on.

WOW, I can’t believe I did all of this by myself in just one day! I had to bring 2 pallets worth of sod from the front yard to the back yard, place, cut and fit all of the sod together. I actually purchased a back brace because I knew it would get a workout!

My dream has come true!! I also added a brick step off on the north side of the porch, added brick around our orange tree, and added mulch to put the finishing touches on everything!

For the total costs of this project:
Sod (with tax) – $325.00
Delivery – FREE
Back Brace – $25.00
Grass Cutter – $4.00
30 Extra Bricks – $9.00
30 Large Stepping Bricks – $24.00
2 Bags of Mulch – $10.00
Other Tools – FREE (borrowed)
Labor – FREE (myself)
Sunburn – @*$%@!, It got me.

GRAND TOTAL of under $400.00!!!!

So let’s recap:
Patio – $275.00
Stain – $37.50
Irrigation – $275.00
Brick Flower Bed – $150.00
Sod – $397.00

GRAND TOTAL – $1134.50 (all over a matter of a year from start to end)



To finish the creation of our new vegetable garden and to also start to put it in use! More to come soon!


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