Backyard Boys

Did you guys know the Backstreet Boys are on tour? They’ll be in OKC in June in case anyone cares. I don’t. I was already a grownup when they were big. But you know something that I do kinda care about? Okay, I don’t really, but it was amusing. Jordan Knight from NKOTB is joining up with Nick Carter to form a group called Nick and Knight. They will be on tour in the fall. I’m not making this up. I was hoping it was an adorable joke, but it seems like it’s for real. So yeah anyway. This post is about my backyard and boys. Nothing to do with backstreets. Or boy bands. But you’re welcome for that little piece of news. You can look for their album in September.

Warning: I feel like this jumps all over the place. Be forewarned. I was just typing as thoughts came to my head. I didn’t really know how to do an adequate job explaining this yard nor what the hubs has done to it, so it’s picture heavy and scatter brained. Enjoy!

A very long time ago (I think the first week that I was blogging) I told you that my boys loved this house so much for two reasons.

  1. The stairs. I really don’t understand what it is with kids and stairs, but they love them! Every kid I know would take a two-story house over one if given the choice. Six months in, and they’re still enamored with the stairs. My middle son uses the hand rails like wide parallel bars. He’s always doing flips or swinging around and jumping from the middle landing to the main floor. Eleven years of parenting and three boys have still not yielded any broken bones, but if it ever happens it’ll be that kid.
  2. The backyard. I promised to do a post about it someday. It’s still so far from what I hope it can be, but I figure now is a great time to post about it since it’s getting warm and we’re spending more time out there. If I wait until I am satisfied with it to post about it, it might never get done.

The yard is tiered. This neighborhood is very hilly and many of the homes have retaining walls and/or tiered or very sloped yards. I love the variety of elevation in the neighborhood as a whole. It’s so much prettier than when they just clear out everything (trees included) and build a neighborhood addition. Don’t get me wrong, those definitely have their perks. Like I can run without dying. And my kids can ride their bikes without calf cramps.

I guess in order to keep all the elevation and old trees that make this neighborhood so charming, they had to tier several of the lots. When we first looked at the house, we were loving it (not how most people love houses that they look at to buy, but more like, “oh, it’s filthy and dated and kinda smelly. Yes, please!!”) and then we went out the back door. I just knew the kids would be totally disappointed. They weren’t.

This is not the type of yard where you get out there and throw around a football. You can’t play dodge ball or baseball or soccer. Pretty much nothing that requires you to run around chasing a ball. You might fall off a tier and break your leg.

It’s also a horrible yard for a trampoline. We didn’t already own one, but I’ve considered one for years. Good thing I never got one. (The neighbors/cousins/friends have always had them, so my kids aren’t suffering through their childhoods without the necessity that is the trampoline. Don’t worry.)

It is a great yard for imaginative play. For hiding. For exploring. For climbing. For pretending. For digging. My kids are way more into that stuff than sports anyway, so it’s perfect for us. I realize it is not ideal for everyone.

middle tier

He’s hiding from his brothers on the middle tier, and it looks like he’s ready to shoot lasers if found.

Here’s what it looked like when we moved in. Notice the Christmas lights (I think they’ve been up for years). They’re still up, by the way. Haha. But I think the satellite dishes have been removed.

back circled

That tree thing that is circled is an overgrown bush. There were five of them.

back yard numbers

I’m not sure it is obvious here, but they are nearly as tall as the second story roof line. I was afraid they would push out the railroad ties if they got any bigger, and they we’re taking up what precious yard we had, as well as blocking sunlight into the kitchen. All but the corner one has been removed, leaving an exposed area where no grass was growing…but we’ve seeded it. Hopefully it will take.

seeded

There was a jungle behind this point of view. There were vines grown all up into this huge tree, and vines all over the place. There were also about five years worth of leaves.

vines

So the boys love the yard. What about me? What about the hubs?

Well, it wouldn’t be either of our preference. The hubs has to haul the mower up each tier, so there’s that. I’m kind of at a loss for how to actually use the yard. I don’t know where to put the outside toys and things. I don’t know where the patio table should go. I don’t like how my neighbors are higher than we are and can see down into our yard. Sometimes a middle-aged mom just wants to lay out in a bikini, ya know?

neighbor fence

Look at the house beside us. Their fence is only waist high, so they can plainly see everything that is going on in our yard. It’s a little old couple in their 80’s, so it’s not a huge deal, but I definitely want to put in a taller fence if/when they move/pass away. (I’d do it sooner, but don’t want to be rude. She likes talking over the fence to us. Sweet lady!)

Here’s a picture of the house behind us, taken from a second-story window. Their backyard is even with the top of that last retaining wall.

house behind

Their fence is also not regular height, but they have a lot of greenery providing some privacy. If they were to walk right up to it, I think they could see over down into our yard. Again, it’s not a huge deal. I just wouldn’t prefer it.

Here’s my son standing next to the highest retaining wall, so you can get a feel for how tall these tiers are. He’s past my shoulders these days, so you can see it’s pretty high.

tallest tier

This is the tallest one, but I’d say that from the bottom of our yard to the top is maybe 15 feet. And then we have that tall tree in the corner that is probably 20 feet tall (so 35 feet in the air?). It feels so majestic from the bottom level.

majestic tree

That’s taken from the second level of the yard. (The first tier? Or is the second level also the second tier?)

The bottom level is all pavers. The entire thing. It’s kinda weird not to have any grass out here until you go up.

pavers2

There was a major plumbing issue that we required to be fixed before closing. They fixed it but then didn’t replace the pavers, of course. I guess we should have been more specific in our negotiations. Lesson learned.

play

My youngest has claimed this area as his digging spot. That kid can stay out there digging in the dirt through all of Math, Grammar, Vocabulary, and Spelling (we measure his time being entertained in school subjects completed 🙂 ).

playing (2)

See all those pavers that need to be re-laid? The Oklahoma red dirt is about the same color as the pavers, so it kinda blends together in the picture, but that whole area is pavers except around those pipes where he is playing in red dirt.

pavers

I’m not exactly sure how to re-lay them with all those pipes there now.

The hubs (and his little helper) have done a ton of work out here.

help mow

help

I love how it looks like they’re discussing a plan of action and then my little guy goes off to handle it.

the plan helper

This lot was so ridiculously unkempt. It’s just a normal sized, suburban neighborhood lot, but the hubs hauled away more brush than we probably have from all of our other homes combined. In twelve years.

saw branches remove bush

remove bushes remove bushes2

My father-in-law loaned us his 16 foot trailer and the hubs filled the entire thing up five feet high (that’s after cutting many of the branches down so they would fit). I think it was also five feet wide. That’s 400 cubic feet of brush! I don’t know how to explain everything he did, so here’s a photo story for you. (I don’t have a pic of the trailer filled up because he got up super early and hauled it all away on a Saturday morning before I was even coherent. He apologized for not taking a picture before I even asked about it. Ha. This blogging thing is still so new to us. We often forget pictures.)

dead vines dead limbs

brush4 brush3 brush2 brush1

yardwork_1

patio

brush

So pretty much, I wouldn’t have chosen this house FOR the yard, but the yard was acceptable to the kids and I loved the neighborhood so I settled on the yard. Hopefully we can get some thick grass growing and finish clearing the rest of the lot (there’s more to do on the sides of the house). Also, I’m hoping to figure out where to place things so this feels like a welcome place to play/cook out/etc instead of an overgrown dumping ground.

junk2 junk

Anyone who reads this is welcome to come help!