Welcome Out-back at The Hacienda

“Kiiiids, where’s your mom?”

“She’s out-baaaaack!”

If you are ever at The Hacienda, you will be sure to hear that.

And if you are ever wondering where I am, there’s a good chance the answer is the same.

Welcome out-back at the Hacienda. So happy you stopped by! If I could, I would hand you a cold drink and invite you to find a shady spot and “sit a spell” as the saying goes.

Perhaps my favorite spot at the picnic table under the Palo Verde tree?


Out-back has not always been the most welcoming or inviting place to be though. We started with a blank slate. Actually, I wish we had started with a blank slate, it took a whole lot of work to get to the blank slate stage.

Actually, let me just show you …


This is the somewhat dismal view from the back patio looking toward the back gate.

The only thing I saw was potential.

My husband, on the other hand, saw the endless work ahead. We were both right.

I sure wish I had taken photos before we had done anything (this wasn’t my first reno so you’d think I’d know better). Before we started, you couldn’t even see the fountain from the back door. The Palo Verde branches were hanging down all over the ground and covering it along with many more Creosote bushes and other wild desert plants. What you see above is after the work of a determined husband with a new chainsaw.

What you see below is the same view as it looks today, a little less dismal, after a bit of vision and a whole lot of hard work.


But first, just a few more “befores”


The play set in the giant sand pit was a pretty big mess of splintered wood and rotting stairs and ramps. The previous owner had wrapped a lot of the wood in plastic PVC tape to add a protective layer and prevent splinters (I’m guessing). Sadly, the black PVC tape was ugly – really ugly – and had white lettering all over it. Lovely. That was done by a guy, I guarantee it!




Do you see it?

Loads and loads of potential.


Now doesn’t that look like the perfect place to put a swimming pool?

And here’s where we are today …


With kids and a dog, you have to have a little grass!


We did hire out a few things. A guy with a small excavator was a life saver.


And the lawn curbing was best left to the professionals. My husband LOVES the natural “organic” shape I designed – it is just so easy to mow. Not really. But it’s pretty.


The grass looks a little it rough right now as the winter grass is starting to die off as it gets warmer and the Bermuda Grass, which goes dormant in the winter, begins to wake-up and take over.

Yes, in Arizona, you have to plant new winter grass E.V.E.R.Y. winter.

Backyard-After-10I really do love how the “grass” side of the yard turned out. We won’t speak of the crying that occurred during the sod laying phase. Let’s just say our timeline got away from us and my husband could no longer put off heading to the airport for out of town business. One third of the yard was left to do, light was fading, the sod was soppy and heavy and stinky and had to be finished, the dog had tangled with a cholla cactus, the kids were hungry and fighting, I was dirty and soppy and stinky (see reference to sod). There were tears. But the dog lived. And the kids ate. And I finished. And took a shower.

Before we move on to the rest of the yard, I have to tell you what I did with the ugly play set.

Gary fixed all of the rickety and dangerous parts and put on a roof for shade and then I painted the PVC tape. There was no taking it off so I bought about 438 cans (or so) of spray paint – the kind that adheres to plastic – and painted over all of that crazy tape.

It is a lovely cinnamon color.

I was a lovely cinnamon color.

For days.


It won’t win any design awards but it sure looks better. Actually, I think it looks kind of cool.

Speaking of cool, how about that nice shady spot?


The lounge chair was my husband’s Father’s Day present last year. Would you like to see my Mother’s Day present from last year?


I am so not kidding.

But before you go turning my husband in to the “worst Mother’s Day present ever” police, this is what I asked for. I’m not a jewelry girl. When I say I want “rocks”, this is what I mean. Besides, they came with a labor agreement from the sweet man who got me a big pile of rocks for Mother’s Day.

Incidentally, I bought the lounge chair for him after I sat down a the picnic table to take a break from shoveling and hauling my Mother’s Day present and with head in hand thought to myself “I sooooo wish I could just lay down right now and take a nap. Right here. Under this tree in the breeze.” 

The picnic table was not comfortable.

So, I ordered a chaise.

“For my husband”.


It’s a nice spot for a siesta. It was so nice of me to think of him.


Moving on. Remember this side of the yard?

Pool-After-5Didn’t I tell you it was a nice place for a pool? Those are some of my rocks.


The pool. The pool. The pool. That is a subject for another post.

Pool-After-3Let me just say, putting in a pool is not something I want to do again anytime soon. “Monica” plans and supervises pool construction. Remember her?

Pool-Project-8She has meltdowns over un-authorized white grout in her otherwise “natural” color scheme.

The grout didn’t stay white. Monica had them fix it.


In the end, it really was well worth all the headache (and bank account ache) because it was all about the kids and they LOVE it! Actually, we all love it. I just love it a little warmer than they do.

So that is our back yard. Out-back. But there is also a “Waaaaay Out-back”.


Just through the back gate.

(That is my peach tree in the foreground, a Brazilian Pepper to the right of the gate and the three tiny trees along the wall are a mandarin orange, ruby red grapefruit and a Eureka lemon – inside the fence I have two limes, an orange, a Meyer lemon and a fig tree). Love my fruit trees.


The way out-back remains open for possibilities.

There is talk of a basketball court and a chipping green. But I think it is the perfect spot for a small commercial kitchen for recipe testing and catering.

What? It would be small. And a business.

And there would still be room for sports.

Barefoot Contessa has a barn. Barefoot Contessa can afford a barn.

Oh well, a girl can dream.

For now, I’ll just be happy with another big pile of rocks.


Thanks for joining me out-back this afternoon. Come back, you are always welcome.

30 thoughts on “Welcome Out-back at The Hacienda

    1. Welcome Company with Danielle Post author

      Thank you Suzanne! We are pretty thrilled at how it turned out and came together. The pool is great and was worth the headache; it is so much fun to see how much the kids love it and is such a BLESSING in the hot summer!

  1. Keep Calm and Eat On

    You have the most amazing out door phase. I think I want to move out there after reading your last few posts. I share the same passion for houses and decoration like you but you have so much more energy and determination than most of us. Our passion for home and garden are a lot similar I realize. The work you put into your house is brilliant and the last few posts were so much fun to read. I hope to read more posts such as these. If I ever go to Arizona I will so want to go visit you and sit under the Palo Verde tree and drink lemonade with you and your family! 🙂

    1. Welcome Company with Danielle Post author

      I would love for you to move out here! I am pretty sure we have A LOT in common with a love for houses, decorating, gardening and cooking. And antiques and props. We have a lot of antique stores, it could be dangerous! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed the posts on The Hacienda. I will post about the interior someday soon. If you ever do come to Arizona, you absolutely must visit us. We will have that lemonade and do a little antiquing! And I’ll spoil that sweet little girl of yours!

  2. Tracy :)

    You have done amazing work! You are truly gifted at seeing the potential and you have the determination to see it through. You’ve done a wonderful job!

    1. Welcome Company with Danielle Post author

      Thank you my friend, you need to come up and hang out in it with me more often! You were there with me when I walked through the door for the first time and knew it was the one and you saw the potential too. 🙂

  3. musingmar

    It was lovely to see your vision for your yard come alive through your photographs. It’s beautiful, and I can just imagine the hard work it took to make it that way. From my vantage point in Ontario, it seems strange to hear you need to plant your grass each winter. Lucky for us, it’s dormant in the winter and refreshes each spring. But then again, your yard is what I dream about during our times of ice and snow. They offer their own charm, but …

    1. Welcome Company with Danielle Post author

      It was strange for me at first as well. We don’t have to plant it and can just leave the Bermuda brown and dormant until it comes back in the summer but it is nice to have a green lawn year round so we plant one late fall every year. I grew up in the Northwestern United States with lots of ice and snow. I am so acclimated to the warm desert climate now, I don’t know if I could survive a true winter anymore?! 😉

  4. fawn

    Great job sister! I imagine you out there…trimming bushes….pulling weeds….raking rocks…hosing the deck….all to make it a wonderful place for your family to enjoy. That family is lucky to have you!

    1. Welcome Company with Danielle Post author

      Thanks Fawn. Most of the time it doesn’t really even feel like work (MOST of the time) because I love it and I love having people over to enjoy it and of course, my family. They are luck to have me, aren’t they? 😉

  5. jalal michael sabbagh.http://gravatar.com/jmsabbagh86@gmail.com

    So gorgeous and serene .A home where to relax and be comfortable ..Life is beautiful.Blessings.Jalal

    1. Welcome Company with Danielle Post author

      WOW! Thank you so much, Cindy. That means a lot coming from you. You are an amazing photographer and certainly know what a story a picture can tell. Sometimes looking back on the photos, I can’t believe it used to look that bad and how far it has come. You should see the inside. Same story – I will share it one of these days. It truly has been one of my greatest pleasures to work on this home. It is such a blessing!!


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