Papa Bear

Backyard DIY Projects and Savannah’s Playhouse Update

Last summer Alex and I moved out of our downtown loft style apartment building and into a neighborhood starter home. I say starter home because number one, it is our first house, and number two it has a LOT of room for potential DIY projects! The previous owners ran a daycare out of the house. Our backyard isn’t quite Narnia, but it is unique in comparison to our neighbors. We have four big trees in our backyard, I call them Cedar Pines. They aren’t the Christmas tree kind; they have a big trunk and then the pine needles begin fairly high up. The needles drop all over the place and kill the grass. Then there was the trampoline. We had them remove it when they moved out, but they couldn’t remove the giant dead spot of grass it left behind. From the dead spot of grass in the far back we move towards a square patch between the patio and the sidewalk. A patch of ground where they kept the biggest dog kennel I’ve ever seen. Big enough to comfortably hold three dogs. Of course, there was the four different piles of various sizes of firewood next to the three barn/sheds. Some of the wood has been burned, some too big to burn, and the rest rotted away. Did I mention the three dogs… you can imagine the digging and the running in circles, and the poops and how all that impacted the grass. Finally, the playhouses. Originally, there were three, but the other two were more like random metal things that didn’t really match the wooden playhouse. We both agreed to remove the trampoline and the two metal things but keep the wooden playhouse. Savannah’s playhouse.

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Savannah’s Playhouse

About two months ago we decided we wanted to touch up the wooden playhouse just to give it a little more character and make it just right for Savy. It really isn’t in bad shape or anything but some sanding would be nice, possibly paint it, clean up the area around the outside. The inside is full of old pine needles and cobwebs and I noticed there are some nails sticking out. I did think about just removing the entire house and getting a new one, but Alex really likes the character of this one. It’s old and has a certain aesthetic to it. I wasn’t and still am not sure where to begin…

I decided the first thing I wanted to do was sand it. My parents have an electric sander and so I asked to barrow that. It arrived and I then found out I didn’t have one of those giant orange extension cords. I tried to string six small extension cords together and I was able to reach one side. So I sanded that side. Then I hit a stopping point which was a bummer. Not to worry, I plan to get that extension cord this weekend and pick back up on the sanding. It will be nice to have an extension cord anyway. I’ve started to realize that is sort of how home ownership works. You decide you want to do something and find out you don’t have a tool or something that you need so you go and pick it up. Pretty soon you start to accumulate stuff. My goal is to get the extension cord this weekend and finish sanding by the Sunday November 15th.

In the meantime, I have already removed the pine needles and cleared out the cobwebs. Then there’s the area around the outside. I’ve been looking on Pinterest and all over the interwebs at backyards projects. There are so many options. I’m considering using mulch and some sort of brick barrier. I would like to go around the playhouse and even extend it to around the base of the trees since grass isn’t going to grow there anyway. I would like to put some plants around the back barrier to clean that space up a little bit. Alex mentioned wanting a firepit in the backyard where the trampoline dead spot currently resides. I dread the realization that we will probably need several more things before we can get started. I’m guessing there is no way around buying a wheeler barrel and multiple shovels. I actually don’t mind it as much as I like to joke about it. These are the things that make our house feel like a home.

Needless to say, we are at the very beginning of the DIY project on Savannah’s Playhouse. I am really excited to keep working on it. Soon after it’s sanded, we will figure out what color to paint it and then that’s the next step!

Alex’s Garden

Alex said she wanted to try her hand at gardening in the spot that used to be where the massive dog kennel sat. It had overgrown with weeds that were over a foot tall. I asked my Mom to bring down her plow and then I went and purchased a gardening shovel. I was able to shovel the whole thing and then get it plowed. The weeds are gone, and the dirt looks nice and soft. Plus, the previous owners already had a patch of mulch that lines the border of the house. I’m already pleased with how much better that patch of the backyard looks.

We are all excited to see what Alex comes up with to plant in her garden next year. I’ve always thought of gardens as one of those things that look really neat in other people’s back yards. I’m not exactly jumping up and down to spend all of my free time in the summer heat tending to the garden. That being said I have the utmost confidence that Alex is going to rock it! It will be fun to figure out what to plant and how to take care of it. It feels very Neville Longbottom to me. I hope she plans some flowers too!

The Woodpiles

As I mentioned before, when we bought the house it came with four piles of wood in the different nooks and crannies of our back yard. Last winter we burned through two of them. One of the remaining piles looks like full size tree trunks. The other was rotten. I have basically removed all of the rotten stuff and I’m still not sure what to do with the tree trunks. I don’t have a chainsaw and I can’t use an ax. I truly can’t because I’ve dislocated my shoulder four times and I don’t trust it anymore with the ax swinging motion. They actually don’t look bad and they aren’t rotting so they could be cool to use as a sort of decoration.

The Yard

The last thing I want to touch on is simply the yard itself. It’s a complete disaster at the moment. I mean it isn’t as bad as all that, but it is full of weeds and Ghost has already dug up two holes. My grandpa came down last summer and helped me put weed and feed on the yard which did help. The weeds are still thick, and it’s been hard to overcome. I’ll probably need to buy a spreader and lay down grass seed and fertilizer. I just don’t know enough about how to take care of a yard at this stage. It can be overwhelming, honestly. It’s a good challenge and I’m sure it will be rewarding when it’s all done. Our goal is finish all of these projects by the end of next summer.

Wrap Up

Alex and I are going to be making some changes with the upcoming posting schedule. I am going to try and take on some new roles to help grow the blog. To help give myself some time back, I am going to cut down to posting every other week. We will see how this goes for a while. We really enjoy sharing our lives with everyone and hope that you all are getting something out of reading these posts. We really do want to know what you all think. If you have any thoughts or tips on how to build an awesome backyard let us know. You can reach out to Alex on Instagram or Facebook. Thanks for reading and happy parenting!