Vacationing in Your Own Backyard

For a very long time now, I have been trying to get our backyard hard-scaped with a privacy fence, a concrete patio, and a walkway to the alley. It seems as though so many other things get in the way. Last week I think I wrote about having a date set to finally get my patio poured. Well, guess what? It’s not done. With the threats of a week worth of severe storms and rain, we thought it best to put it off…yet again.

I am not certain, but I think we may have a break from anything severe for today. Today’s weather is my favorite for camping…cool, cloudy and overcast. The dampness makes me crave a campfire. Last night after the last storm passed through, DH and I simultaneously looked up at the sky and said, “Man, this would be a great night for camping.” Knowing that wasn’t the prudent thing to do, we thought about just laying out on the trampoline to watch the stars and the satellites pass over. I mentioned that we could go “camping” in our backyard like we used to when the kids were younger.

My dream for my backyard is for a place in which we would want to spend time…..a place for reflection…for entertaining or a breath of fresh air.  Money is always tight, but we generally get away to somewhere every year…even if it just over to Meade State Park for a weekend of camping and fishing. This year, I am afraid that the only “vacation” away from home will be associated with DD’s travels and it will be frugal, no frills travel to say the least. The gasoline budget will be eating up any of the entertainment dollars we might have had. To me, this makes my dream for my backyard retreat even more important.

On Path to Freedom’s Journal today, there is a post about Staycations and Staying Closer to Home. Staycations are vacations spent at home enjoy what it has to offer. That is what we are planning for this year’s “getaway”. We will getaway to our backyard. Tonight I will set the date with DH. All hard-scape will be finished, so as to not make it a working vacation. I am looking for a relaxing, maybe romantic few days of togetherness. I found the Top 10 Staycation Strategies at about.com and plan to put some in place.

What would your strategies be for planning a Backyard Staycation?

Spring is in the Air!

Spring is in the Air!

Gosh, I have been so busy outdoors that I have not taken the time to sit down and write about our progress.  My backyard has always been a subject for embarrassment to me. Although it is in much better shape than what it was prior to us purchasing the house, it is still an eyesore.

A little history of our home. The best that we can tell it was built around 1912. Considered one of the finer homes at the time, it has suffered years and years of neglect and disrepair. In the 1940’s or 1950’s a basement was added and it served as a florist. A building was added to the backyard, which in my estimation, was built entirely too close to the house, which resulted in water flow problems in and around the house. We call this the PINK building…or that is what the town called it for years. We have since painted it white. Half of the building was originally used as a hair salon and the other as storage (I think). There are huge picture glass windows in the front of this other half, so the original use is debatable.  Currently, those windows are broken and boarded up, in hopes of eventually putting in a double garage door when I hit the lottery. Of course, I have a suspicion that you actually HAVE TO PLAY first before they give you all of that money. Back to the building…for a long while the grandson lived in the beauty shop portion of the building so that he could assist his grandfather.

The first time we saw the house, it was full to the top with boxes and boxes of family collections. Several auctions were held to clear it all out.  Neighbors have told us many times that the backyard was full of junker vehicles and machinery. The brush and vines were allowed to take over the yard and the Kansas winds brought everyone else’s trash to this lot. Until we get a fence built, I feel we will be dealing with the neighbors’ trash for a long while….just as we continue to deal with their dogs’ daily duty presents deposited in our front yard every day! ‘Nother subject for ‘nother day.


Now the house is filled to the brim with our junk.  The first spring after we moved in the house three years ago, I hired a painter to paint the exterior of the main home and the trim of the pink building. DH had boarded the windows and painted over to help camouflage the ugliness. The neighbors were deeply saddened to find that we were not going to tear down this hideous pink  monstrosity, so to appease we did all that we could afford to make it look a bit better…to the street side anyhow.


This last week, DH removed the boards from the back of the building and we got busy scraping and painting while he replaced glass panes. The result is not perfect, but progress can be seen. I am looking for alternate methods of repairing the bottom of the siding where it has chipped away, as we cannot afford the panels to replace them. I hope to hang colorful curtains or at least fabric inside, to hide the inside of the building.   We felt that the backdoor to the beauty shop was too large of an undertaking, so I will hang a fabric curtain between the storm door and the wood door for now.


We chose a lovely shade of gray to paint the trim to coordinate with the gray porch on the main house.  My thought was that mistakes wouldn’t be as glaring with a soft color. I must admit that my hand is not very steady when painting small areas.

I am almost embarrassed to show the photos of our backyard, but hopefully it will serve as a record of our progress this spring. 

This is the north end of the west side of the “pink building”….before….

This is the middle of the west side of the “pink” building….

And this is the chicken house…before……