“Kiiiids, where’s your mom?”
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.
I 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.
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?
Didn’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.
Let 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?
She 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.