…so the last time I left this topic I was discussing my plans for the middle section of the back yard, the area you see when you’re standing inside the house and looking out back. In my original post, I detailed why I was seeking a kind of radical redesign – one that would use space and light colors to create an airy kind of buffer between the east side of the back (the swimming pool and pool deck) and the west (lawn and Tiki bar deck). As I mentioned in that post, the idea was to have the patio and that area of the back yard create the kind of theme we sought to achieve in the overall landscape design: in our case, something both whimsical and tropical in the “St. Somewhere” vein, a combination of the Caribbean and the South Seas.
The original post showed what the area looked like. Now let’s do some before and after shots to give you an example of everything that went down over the past few weeks. First: the patio. Amazing what a sprayer and some white flat latex paint can do to make wicker look bright and cheery. Here’s the before:
…and here’s the after, albeit from a slightly different angle, but you still get the idea:
We also re-positioned the chairs around the Jimmy Buffet “Boat Drinks” table so that anyone walking outside onto the patio to get to the barbecue or the swimming pool no longer has to walk around the furniture. It’s all designed to make an area that’s actually quite small appear more open an allow the new “strand” area and the pool deck stand out.
Speaking of the “strand” area, just to jog your memory, here’s a picture of what the area looked like before – definitely more of an Arizona, desert-y feel than anything remotely tropical, right?
And now after, showing what a ton and a half of light-colored rock, a second queen palm, and a tiki purchased from a local artist who distributes his work at the nursery down the street can do:
Actually, to call it a “strand” doesn’t really describe how the area ended up, it actually looks more like a small tropical island in the South Pacific than anything else – especially with the palm debris that was allowed to stay right where it dropped courtesy of Mother Nature and a big windstorm we had the day after it was done. Funny thing: last Friday I came home to see the debris picked up by our landscaper Carmelo’s crew (they’re thorough if nothing else!). Fortunately, they only tossed the debris into our trash barrel, so I was able to retrieve it and put it back where it was.
I’ll have to speak to Carmelo this week to make sure it doesn’t happen again – you can’t let landscaping stand in the way of art!
But it’s not just the view from the back door that is transformed: look at the before and after pics taken from the lawn looking towards the swimming pool. Like I said in the original post, it was a jumble of stuff masquerading as an Arizona backyard:
Now the area looks bright and airy, especially after I spray-painted our patio dining set the same white as our wicker chairs. It looks especially nice in the late afternoon sun:
Pretty nice, huh? The area also looks really nice at night with the new palm softly lit and the big mesquite in the far right corner brightly lit with a new spotlight that enables you to see it from inside the house at night, thus emphasizing the four-season (actually, it’s only two, “hot” and “not”) lifestyle we have here in the Valley of the Sun.
Total cost? Between the landscaping, three tikis (I bought two others, will show you those in a later post), the queen palm, and the patio furniture painting project (including one false start due to bad advice from the True Value guy), the whole effort cost a shade under two grand. Not a bad investment for getting the back yard looking pretty close to way I originally envisioned it so many years ago.
Of course, when you own a house no good deed goes unpunished. In this case, by upgrading everything around it you end up highlighting stuff that still needs to be done. In this case, it’s the pool deck, which may not look too bad in the photos above, but it’s in dire need of resurfacing. But that’s a project for next year. Tracey has her own (strong) ideas of how it should be resurfaced; I think in this case I’m just gonna sit back and let her decide once we get all the quotes. But that’s a long time away – for now, it’s nice to just sit outside, during the day or at night under soft pineapple lights, and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment not just for a job well done, but of a vision and concept successfully realized.