Backyard Projects Part 1

So we have a pretty long list of the things going on around here right now. In-between the indoor projects we're working on, we have multiple backyard projects on the go. I actually have a chalkboard in our office with all of the projects listed...yet it doesn't seem that I'm crossing a lot of them off lately. Every time Ian suggests another project, I point to that chalkboard and that pretty much ends the conversation...I think we often forgot how many things we have on the list.

Here's a quick run-through of what we're in the middle of right now:

To Do:

- Finishing the floors upstairs (hallway and all 3 bedrooms)
- Fill nail holes and paint all baseboards in 3 bedrooms after floors are installed
- Caulk all baseboards in 3 bedrooms after floors are installed
- Install nursery closet system
- Put together crib
- Put together nursery dresser/change table
- Put up blinds, curtains, photo frames, mobile and all other nursery accessories
- Sew crib skirt
- Create and paint change pad table topper
- Finish painting and sealing knobs for dresser/change table
- Finish buying major nursery purchases
- Fix all electrical/switches in house
- Finish putting plates and new switches around house
- Finish sanding and staining wood floor transition pieces
- Finish building up stairway posts
- Re-paint stairway railings
- Fix stone pathway and seal stones
- Plant tree and bushes in large back garden
- Plant flowers and bushes in smaller back gardens
- Seal deck
- Put up solar shade and patio furniture
- Prepare pool for use
- Finish mouldings in master bedroom
- Create roman shade for kids bathroom
- Put up mudroom light
- Put up new side porch light
- Fix up front garden (postpone to next year)
- Re-build pool deck (postpone to next year)


- Finish privacy fence
- Rip out old plants/bushes in backyard
- Level and rebuild back garden
- Plant clematis in front of privacy fence
- Move side gate up to house
- Complete sod
- Build air conditioner sound wall
- Prepare deck for sealant
- Paint nursery
- Paint middle bedroom
- Put up nursery light

Ok that makes me tired just looking at it all! So obviously we'll blog about these things as we finish, but we have about 2.5 months to finish it all before baby arrives, so we'll see how that goes :) To keep us on track, I've posted this list on the right hand side of our menu bar of the website...now we have each other AND all of you to keep us on our toes!

So back to the backyard projects. We managed to knock 3 of them off the list this past weekend (despite the flooring mishap we had last week that I'll blog about later on), so we were pretty happy with that.

We finished the privacy fence, moved the side gate up and sodded the lawn and built the air conditioner sound wall. When I say "we" for these particular projects, I say that lightly. Most of this was Ian. I mean, I was helping...however its getting harder and harder for me to help with these projects as I get more and more pregnant, so the easy things like watering the sod, carrying back plants, etc., become my job.

So lets talk privacy fence first, shall we? We actually built this fence last year and decided to stain the deck and privacy fence as well. Finding stain was a big challenge for us last year but after 5 attempts, we did purchase a stain that we thought we liked. Since we couldn't seem to find a long period of time when it wasn't raining, we figured we'd start with staining the lattice in the privacy fence. We ended up deciding to leave the deck staining until this year and in the process made the decision to just leave the deck natural. Back to square one. So, since we were leaving the deck natural, we needed to replace the stained lattice in the privacy fence (so everything looks consistent).

Here's the fence last year:

then we stained it....
Then we decided to "un"-stain it....i.e. rebuild it;

The process for building this fence the first time around, began with 2 posts dug into the ground and cemented in. We hired someone to come by and do this for us, so they actually dug 3 holes and put in 3 posts for us. 2 posts were used for the privacy fence, and 1 was used for the air conditioner sound fence. Once the posts were finished, Ian built the rest of the frame (we actually measured how big we wanted this fence to be first and that determined where the post guys dug their holes):

We installed the top piece of the frame and then measured the distance from the ground to the top. We divided that number in half and cut 2 pieces of lattice to that size. Ian then installed a middle piece of wood to support the top lattice and to help give more support to the frame. Always level as you go...very important part or you'll end up with a lopsided privacy fence!

Next step was to install the first piece of lattice:

 Finally the second piece:

and you're done!


So this year, the only thing that had to be done, was to remove the top finishing piece, unscrew the old lattice and insert the new pieces. It didn't take us as long since the frame was already in place. Since taking this photo yesterday, we've planted 2 clematis that will hopefully grow up the fence over time and give us some additional privacy. So privacy fence- done!

We also completed the sound wall for the air conditioner. As I mentioned above, when Ian had the guys dig the holes for the privacy fence, he had them dig one post for the air conditioner sound wall. This wall goes directly from the side of the house into the post, so we really only needed that one post dug into the ground.

Before the post was dug into the ground, we started off with this:

We basically re-did the gardens around the backyard this year, so we didn't need to remove any plants or work around much.

From that point, Ian was able to install the second post against the house and then attach the middle and bottom bracing pieces:

The boards were each attached to fill in the frame and finally the top piece to finish it off. It already makes a big difference visually and will be nice when we are sitting on the deck to mask some of the sound from the AC unit:

Lastly, we moved the fence gate up and sodded behind it. Almost 2 years ago, Ian decided to rebuild our side gate. We have 2 side gates, however the one side mainly acts as an access to the pool shed. When Ian rebuilt the gate, he kept it in the same place it had originally been, which was a good distance away from the pool shed. However, this left us with a large area of ground that either needed to be filled in with patio stones or grass. If we chose grass, he'd have to open the gate to mow it, which was a pain. The solution? To move the gate closer to the end of the house/edge of the patio stone. This would still allow us to lay sod, but on the OUTSIDE of the fence, for easy access with mowing.

Ian basically disassembled the gates and reinstalled them against the patio stone:

From this picture you can tell where the gate used to be- basically where the dirt begins:

Now that we had moved the gate up, we needed to sod the large area of dirt. Ian had a summer job laying sod once, so it tends to be a pretty quick process around here. In 10 minutes we had gone from the picture above to this:

It definitely looks much better and will be a lot easier to maintain.

So that's what kept us busy this weekend! Not a huge dent into our list of projects, but I'd say we're on our way.

Have any of you been working on backyard projects lately?!

Melissa and Ian


  1. Wow! it looks really good. Ian did a fantastic job on the fence and sound barrier ! The garden looks so much better now too. I am impressed!!!

    1. Thanks mom! The garden is definitely starting to look much better...slowly getting there!

  2. Backyard projects ... that's a funny joke around here. Neither my husband nor I really enjoy spending much time outdoors. We like to LOOK at the outside through our lovely living room windows. :)

    I have not pulled one weed from our landscaping yet this season. And there has been so much rain lately, and with our lot being mostly wooded, even the parts where we have grass take a long time to dry. It's a good thing we can only see the pretty trees when we're sitting on the sofa looking out the window!

    1. lol..its been raining a lot here too! We just seemed to get lucky the weekends we ended up doing these projects! We still have a LOT to go though :)


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