Backyard Debacles

August 17, 2017

The yard was to be conquered this year!  No more unusable landscaping!  Little did we know, there would be a lot of backyard debacles.  Here’s how it unfolded.

When we put in our two additions on the back of the home, the original backyard took a beating.  Not that it was in pristine condition to begin with, but at least it had a functioning sprinkler system, some infrastructure, and overgrown landscaping.  Here’s what it looked like on closing day.

Because we had big plans for two additions off the back of the house, we weren’t overly concerned about the state of the backyard.

In order to dig the foundations for the additions, the crews had to rip out the old sprinkler system, which basically left us with a breeding ground for weeds and a worthless backyard.  Here’s a look at the progress:

Last summer I was hugely pregnant and we spent a lot of days at the aquarium or museums escaping the heat.  This year, we knew the girls would be begging to go out and play in the yard so the muddy, messy, weed infested pasture look wasn’t going to work.  This is our year to change that.

We wanted to get started early and had just the kick in the pants we needed to jump start our project– an amazing collaboration opportunity on our patio with two of our favorite brands (more on that in my next post– stay tuned!).  We laid out our plans for our dream yard including a beautiful concrete retaining wall to replace that crumbling rock wall, chop down several massive 60-70 ft trees (more on that later), level the yard, put in a pergola over the new master patio, a playground, a tramp, a splash pad for the girls, an outdoor kitchen, a modern shed, a garden structure and new landscaping.  Whew!  We had our work cut out for us!  You can see all our dream plans HERE.

Our goal was to just get the retaining wall in and the yard leveled and ready to go by the time we had our big shoot/company collab.  We tracked down a contractor, referred from a neighbor, who said he could do the work within our timeline no problem.  We had him sign a contract outlining the work, put some money down, and the next day the crew showed up and got to work.  Huzzah!  We were off to a smashing start!

Smashing….. speaking of smashing, that’s what the contractors ended up doing.  To each other.  On the first day of the job.

I was laying Vivie down for a nap when I heard quite a commotion outside.  My phone started blowing up with neighbors calling me, asking what in the world was going on in my yard.  It was about that time the pest control man showed up at my door and hurriedly asked if he could come inside, as there was a knock out, throw down brawl happening in my yard.  For real.  I had to call the police to break it up.  Just classing up the neighborhood over here.

After that, it just continued to go south.  They would show up for a bit, move dirt around, make a HUGE mess, then leave.  It was like pulling teeth to get them to show up.  They kept asking for money for equipment, etc, and we cautiously paid more.  There was a LOT of anxiety about our deadline but we were repeatedly assured everything was fine, there was plenty of time.  I would look out my dining room window and see this and have panic attacks.

Then came the biggest setback.  The poured the foundation for the retaining wall.  WRONG.  Then an inspector showed up (yeah, pretty sure a lousy contractor we weren’t able to get a bid from in time because they were too busy called the county on our project) and stopped progress.  We were scrambling to hire an engineer, which the contractor told us we wouldn’t need originally, to draw up plans for a new retaining wall.  We realized it wasn’t going to happen in time for our shoot and our yard looked like this.

I mean the stress levels were real, people.  We frantically came up with plan D (because we had already been through the other letters in the alphabet).  Bury the bad foundation.  Build a faux retaining wall just for the shoot.  Clean it all up as best as we could.  Then when the shoot was finished, we would tear it all up and start over.  It was painful, but destroying valuable relationships by cancelling the shoot would have been excruciating.  We proceeded with plan D.

I mean, can you even believe it looked like this?!?!?  There were many tears and sleepless nights.  Then the contractor fell off the planet. Like literally stopped coming, refused to answer calls, poof.  Gone.  And so was almost $10,000 of our money.  Then this happened.  Two days before the shoot.

Not just a little bit of snow, like a ton of heavy, wet, thick snow.  On dirt.  Which then created mud.  Basically a mud bomb explosion at the #staggreno.  Yeah, not good.  Not good at all.

Wondering how this story could possibly have a happy ending?  With important people flying to Utah from all over the county for a shoot ON MY PATIO in less than a day?  Stay tuned for the next installment.  It’s a good one.


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We're a full-service design firm and home furnishings shop built around the philosophy that a well-designed home should be beautiful, personal, cohesive, and complete. We think home is the most important place on the planet and when you live in a home that is perfectly you, it changes your life. Don't believe us? Stick around. We're confident we'll change your mind.

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