Sprucing up the backyard of the Little Bitty

With a few days off between leaving my job at the store and starting my position at the Liverpool Public Library, I decided to tackle two of the backyard projects that have been sitting on my spring list.

Hover over any gallery photo for a description. Click on any image for an enlarged slide show.

The landing area at the bottom of the steps leading down from our screened porch and the should-be-flat space under the grill to protect the lawn have both been bothering me since last summer.

Simply put, my original approaches to handle the areas just looked awful.

And I figured I could solve both dilemmas with a similar solution. I got the idea while working register at the store and cashing out folks who’d purchased some nice-looking decorative garden stone.

My dear wife Karen listened to my plan, which included bags of dirt to further level the ground in both locations before laying the new stone.

I shopped and bought at the store, after happily talking to my former boss in paint and a couple other former colleagues/now friends.

I worked hard with wheelbarrow, shovel and sweat equity, trying to get both areas just right.

Welcome to our yard.

Welcome to our yard.

I think the stones under the steps, with their several inches of height, add a lot to both the aesthetics and practicality of the yard.

Narrow works.

Narrow works.

Midway through the grill portion of the work load, I decided the initial three-wide approach wouldn’t work. It was too hard to get all the stones to sit level. Two-by-two sat nearly perfectly, though.

I still have work to do scrubbing the stain from the front of the grill. That, I believe, is from rain hitting the chain I bought to secure the handle, which broke off from where the manufacturer had mounted it.

Karen said she’d work on removing the dirt from the sides, to use it in various places in her gardening. She also wants the two extra stones to pretty up the backyard butterfly garden, near the bird bath we bought at the craft fair.

Yup. Nice start.

What projects are on your list? What projects have you completed? How would you have handled the steps and the grill?

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28 thoughts on “Sprucing up the backyard of the Little Bitty

  1. That looks great Mark. Very pretty and serviceable. That is one of the perks of working at a hardware store – you get to see all the newest stone and home repair stuff. The best product I have ever used for removing metal stains from metal is CLR. Good luck!

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  2. Hi Mark, the areas look very tidy now. I was actually thinking about painting the outside of the house. My husband says I am nuts, he thinks it is too big a job for one person. So I think I will clean out closets and cabinets. Never having lived in one house for so many years (this will be our 8th year), I never realized how much debris one collects (it shouts to me even when the cabinet doors and closet doors are closed). I must get rid of it.

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  3. Looks very neat and a big improvement! I have a tendency to stub my toe on pretty much anything, so I probably would have suggested cutting out sod to make the stones flush ground level. We had to tear off our large back deck several years ago because previous owners installed it improperly and caused moisture damage on house and carpenter ants too (all fixed). Deck is still not replaced though, so that’s always number one on the list every summer.

    Hey, good luck tomorrow! We hope to hear all about it. Gee, I hope you will still have time for your blog….

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    • That’s a big drag about the deck woes, Annie. I hope you can rebuild. They add so much in the spring/summer/fall.

      Yeah, we wanted the extra height of the stone because the last step was built too high from the ground by the previous owners. But I get what you’re saying about stubbed toes. Ouch!

      Yes, I’ll be writng about the new job here, and plan to keep up this blog. Knock on wood. 🙂

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  4. Looks great! Small projects can have big impacts 🙂 I love pavers and flagstone accents, and just a few strategically placed can add some uumph to areas.
    Good luck on your 1st day tomorrow – I know you’ll do fine!! Looking forward to hearing all about it 🙂

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  5. I’m already despairing at not having enough time for all our summer outdoor projects. That said, I spent the weekend in the hot tub reading/supervising as Sean prepped our flagstones for polymer sand.

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  6. I like these pavers – better than setting all those little ones. Only thing you might try ( in your vast amount of pare leisure time now – like you need more projects) is to frame up the entire area with timbers or pour concrete rail at the edge then fill inside that with little pebbles then sand to the pavers are easier to level…they tell you that at the store…we didn’t listen either…HA HA)
    Cheers for your project and happy new job. Hope the week goes well

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      • After a bit we eventually went with dumping some rock with sand on top and then pushing the paver blocks on top and leveling…of course with all the rain, it’s going to get lumpy again.
        Stomping hard on the original dirt underneath blocks as needed works just as much good, I think….I hate wheel barrows, rocks and concrete….Moving is a good plan….. HA!

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