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It has been a few weeks since I wrote anything. Largely due to the pandemic. At first, I had to figure out how to stretch my time to add in homeschooling. I also had to get used to my hubby being home all the time. Admittedly, like many, I felt a bit lost. I decided to lose myself in a complete backyard renovation.
For my family, the pandemic actually changed many things in a good way. My husband and I have been working countless hours and that has met pretty much passing each other most days for the last several years.
I don’t think anyone wants to live this way and we didn’t plan it but for us it was necessary and we have no regrets. After our last home and being financially unstable we decided and committed to never being in that position again.
We pulled up our big girl panties and made several life-altering decisions, albeit very hard to stick to at times, we have managed and stayed true to them. One of those decisions met I would stay home part-time to avoid child care expenses and also work from home running my own business. Anthony would work several jobs while fitting all extra time with the kids and their activities.
At one point Anthony had 5 jobs, yes… 5!
The debt paid down, savings were up, kids College funds started, RSPs in place. We still have a was to go to be where we ultimately want but I can easily say that we are well on our way!
The ultimate sacrifice was we never saw each other. It has been incredibly painful at times as my heart hurt to see him and for the kids not having dad every night of the week. Somehow between some kick-ass communication and undoubtful love, we persevered.
How The Pandemic Has Brought Us Closer Together
All of that said, the pandemic, although full of the unknown brought all of that time away to a sudden and immediate halt. In just one day, I had my man back full time. Let me tell you, I melted in gratitude to have him home. The first few weeks and even still have been the biggest blessing in disguise for my family among all of this heartache.
Luckily our kiddos have short term memories it seems and don’t remember dad not being here this much… I so wish I could do that… lol
After some long overdue hubby time and time away from any work or writing, I am back here to tell you all about what I have been up to.
Where To Start – Backyard Renovation?
I decided to dive into my backyard renovation.
It makes no sense for me to start something new. Seeing as the kid’s bathroom and the basement is not done yet but I needed something outside of the house away from everyone.
I already work from home, now everyone else is home as well and we are tripping over each other’s personal space…
The weather is finally nice here. We had what seemed like a never-ending spring that was cold and cold.
My favorite place to work is outside when the weather allows it. Especially when it is hot, the hotter the better. I even like humidity which is weird I know.
One of the best parts of the home that we are in is the outdoor space. The former owners did a lovely job of bringing life to the backyard. The one thing that has always driven me nuts is the gorgeous flower boxes because they had this awful white fungus continually growing from them. As always I spent a lot of time scrolling through Pinterest looking for inspiration.
Every summer since living here I have thought about removing them but they were just so nice that I couldn’t do it. Well, let’s just say that the pandemic finally gave me the push that I needed to get it done.
Such a puzzle as to what exactly the fungus was. I wonder if maybe the wrong paint was used, too much soil compacted, type of wood?
What Not To Use In Your Flower Bed
After taking it all apart, meaning hours of labor trying to peel back the layers I realized the problem.
Instead of a black garden barrier to prevent weeds, tarp house barrier material was used. Well, it certainly did the trick in preventing weeds but it allowed zero air flow and so became the fungal overgrowth.
In between the flower boxes is where I had built my outdoor firepit, previously the bird bath area. I decided to work in the two areas. Getting frustrated at the amount of soil packed into the beds I needed a mental break in between.
I’d demolish the firepit in between to relax a bit.
Seriously, I know, I know… I just built that firepit there last summer but I have a better plan in mind now and a different idea for a firepit. Good thing that I don’t mind hard work.
Why Do A Backyard Reno?
Oddly enough, I do not do very well with change, and yet when it comes to house change and design, I love it!
I have always loved to rearrange things, something about using the same items but moving them around, makes it feels new to me. Since I was little, I would rearrange my room over and over.
It doesn’t hurt that I tend to clean as I rearrange and that always makes me feel way better.
- Metal blade
- Leaf bags
- Pry bar
How To Remove Old Flower Beds
It was bittersweet to start this overhaul. When we first looked at purchasing this home, it was winter and we didn’t even realize that the side yard came with our property. Seriously, we thought that we only had a back and front yard. Imagine our surprise when we moved in when we saw such a gorgeous side yard.
There were so many places to start and for a moment I felt overwhelmed. My options were to start somewhere or go back inside and entertain the kids since the pandemic was in full swing and the town was in lockdown. lol… It didn’t take me long to pick up a shovel…
I decided that I needed to get rid of the fungus filled flower beds once and for all. Several screws came out easily but of course, there are always the a-holes that strip and cause so much havoc.
On top of that the flower beds were made using 4×4 board and spikes… sigh
After all the screws that I could get out were out, I brought out the sawzall. Make sure that you use a bit specifically for metal or you will risk breaking your bit. You can tell the difference because the teeth are closer together for metal and further apart for wood, most brands will say on the bit what it is used for.
I used the sawsal for both the spikes and to separate the chunks of wood that I couldn’t pry off. No idea how old the boxes were but I feel like they were very old. Part of the wood was in good condition. Most of it crumbled once I got it off.
The worst part was removing the buckets and buckets of soil packed into the boxes. Most flower boxes have a partition to avoid having to use such a massive amount of soil but not these.
We don’t have a wheelbarrow, I know crazy right but it is on the want list…
That left me shoveling soil into buckets and leaf bags until they were slightly too heavy and asking my hubby to pretty please dump them somewhere else that I had to hope would make sense later.
A few of the boards were so stuck in place that I had to get my hubby to go at them with an ax to break them apart.
Stay tuned for phase 2 soon! Coming Soon!