So this is one of those projects that I was super excited about! When we moved into our home, we knew that the backyard would definitely be an area that we’d want to tackle. The garden frames were the rotted 3×3’s, we had about 3-4 different types of stone/cement for our walkway, we often had a mud-pit where should be grass and our grading was a disaster! We were never entirely sure exactly what it was that we wanted back there but after 4.5 years in the home and multiple rain storms and winter thaws, it was time to get this done! See my inspiration photo below. Awful.
Where did we start?
The actual design of it was pretty easy. We didn’t want to rip out our back deck as we were happy to keep that as is and we weren’t removing the shed, so ultimately it was deciding what to replace the existing stone and grass/dirt with. We narrowed it down to some type of interlock stone and artificial turf. We chose our team based on the grade of turf that they worked with, the options they had available and the actual make of the product. We have a large pup, so she had to be factored into this decision. We went with a higher grade turf with a more permeable base, and a higher pile with thatch included for a more natural finish. For the stone, I always recommend going to the stone yard to make your decision. Although much of our decision was based on the options available that fell within our budget that were emailed to us, they can look very different on print vs. in person. So off to the stone yard I went! We knew we wanted to go a bit more of a modern style stone so it would work nicely with the actual turf. I always feel turf leans to a more modern feel, so we embraced this and decided on a grey interlock type stone in various sizes.
How things played out…
When the team began our project, I definitely had a moment of “What the hell did we do?!” But, as with most projects, things need to be taken apart and made worse before they can get better!
The existing collection of stone and concrete was broken apart and ripped out, the rotten garden frame was removed and excess dirt was taken away.
They then began leveling the area off and correcting the grading. As you can see in the photo above, whenever we would have a heavy rainfall or winter thaw, we would get a nice little pool over our walkway, that was definitely the low point in our yard.
Once that was complete, they began bringing in a ton of crushed limestone which was the base for our stone work. They began in one corner and worked their way along lining up the stone, leveling and ensuring a good grade as they went. The majority of the stone work was complete with all the cuts, garden edge and precise pieces done once much of the patio and walkway were complete. The grout is mix of sand and cement. It has a bit of give to it when wet, so it doesn’t crack, but solid enough that you don’t get weeds growing through.
Once all the stone work was done is when they started working on the actual turf area. I felt like this was a bit backwards, however they want the level of the turf to align with that of the stone, this way the little ones won’t stub their toes when running around out there. Makes sense to me!
The turf area was dug down, more screening placed down and our piece then cut to size. We were lucky because the space we were working with was small enough that we could use one sheet of turf, which means no seams! We also gave our stone/turf joint a bit of movement with a curve on one side. I feel like this makes it feel a little more natural. The guys tacked it all down and finished off with a sand that they brush in. This helps keep the fibers standing up more like real grass. And that was it!
We have an entirely new backyard, with great drainage, grading and looks pretty good if I do say so myself! I have a little bit more homework to do on my end….I’ve weeded the gardens and cut back the trees/shrubs. I still have to add some mulch and switch out our lighting and fire pit that we set up on the stone patio…..but I’m thrilled with the way it’s turned out!
Easy upkeep and more importantly, no water concerns. It was a big project, but one of those exciting ones where you see a substantial difference in the end.
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