We have spent many, many hours 'in the garden', aka the backyard, making it into what I think of as an oasis. I love our backyard now...pretty much.
These are the 'befores'--of the back door and adjacent patio. I had always despised these great big jagged hunks of concrete randomly placed all around. The patio pavers were 'ok' but didn't go with the house. I wanted brick. Old brick. Old brick that was affordable. A tall order!
This concrete is all gone now! Well, it's still in the driveway. These are now flowerbeds.
And here's the new back stoop, looking like it's been there forever. The brick cost me $25 (very, very lucky. I salvaged it from a woman about to throw it away). The biggest cost was the sand. Later I found out our neighbor has sand, so that could have been free. We used their sand for the patio though.
Now here's Rob knocking out the patio. Woo hoo! These bricks AND the sand was free, so all it cost us was time.
We took up the brick pavers shown at the top of this post and put in thin brick paver walkways here between the raised beds (got them free, too).
A friend gave us several limestone pieces, which I used along with various other leftover whole and broken bricks.
I worked on this brick patchwork when pregnant with Calvin. Now it's looking sufficiently aged!
Rob brought me some ferns for our anniversary this year and I planted them by the lilac on the side of the house.
It's like a secret garden, shady and full of wonderful things.
When we moved here, there were flowerbeds with potential along the privacy fence side, above. They were so overgrown with weeds that we didn't know until we started working in them that they were lined with field stones. Lots of field stones--117 to be exact. I have moved almost every one of them, expanding the gardens and moving the path. This picture above is the 'before'. I haven't gotten an 'after' yet...because the grill and patio stuff is in the way, since we're still working on the patio.