Let’s Take It Outside (Again)

Ok, so lots of people (me included) found this original exterior tour of our yard a bit hard to follow. Our first house was nice and simple. We could describe the back and the front and the sides and call it a day with this ol’ post of yore, which even included this little sketch:

But this house is just waaay more complicated. Even though both lots are about the same size (almost an acre) this one is a lot less long and narrow than the last one. It’s more fat and square-ish. And it has a lot more quirks like this little alley between the original part of the house and the addition in the back (more on that here)…

There are also areas that don’t look like our property (like this slice of land on the left, which looks like it’s outside the bounds of our house but is actually ours)…

… and little brick paths that meander around the back and side yards…

So in an attempt to make sense of it all (or confuse everyone more, you decide) I did my best little sketch of our lot for you (and then scanned it and had fun coloring it in with Photoshop). Oh and obviously it’s not to the same scale as the first sketch since this house looks ten times bigger. Oops.

And we thought that the be-all-end-all explanation would be this video that will hopefully help you grasp the whole flow of our lot’s mojo (which is work-friendly if you play it on mute- but also funny not on mute thanks to some very excited birds in the background):

And on the subject of our backyard, dude it has CHANGED (!!!) in the last few months. We’ve loved watching it green up and were so surprised that the back portion of the lot which looked very very brown when we moved in…

… now looks oh so green and lush and a lot more private thanks to lots of trees and grasses filling in. Not all the way, but we’ll take it:

We still have to plant some fast growing evergreens in some strategic spots to add to the privacy-factor (since this house not only has a house on each side of it, but one that can be seen from the back) but it’s already feeling a lot less exposed now that lots and lots (and lots) of trees have greened up and created some pretty great leafy screens between us and the outside world. We definitely have a lot to do out there, but just like our last house, we’re planning to take our time and see where we end up. Should be fun in that dirt-under-the-nails kind of sore-but-satisfied way.

Have you guys been up to any outdoor stuff? Any dream outdoor features that you’d love to add someday? Mine would be a deck for outdoor dining and some sort of elaborate tree house for the bean. Someday…


  1. says

    I see the mention of a hammock. We just put up a hammock swing and OMG it is the best chair ever. I am in it hours a day reading.

    So even if you do the hammock in the woods (love), consider a hammock chair or two as well. They are fun and awesome. :-)

  2. says

    I was a bit confused with the patio posts and where the rest of the land was but this clears it up. I had no idea your property went that far back! Thanks for the visual aid!

    PS – Do you guys use the hammock? Was it there when you moved in?

    • says

      That was a wedding present from John’s best friend. We hung it there and used it a bunch before moving, but now it’s tucked in the basement. Gotta break it out here soon!


    • says

      Oh nice! Or maybe a bunch of wildflowers! That would be pretty. Then you’d also get fresh flowers for the house.

      Also, I just learned how to say ‘liriope’ thanks to John. So thanks John. Hah.

  3. says

    We just moved into our first home and not a week goes by that I don’t call my mom and ask her if she has any idea what a plant that looks like ______ is. I need books! I need lots of gardening books and also some hedge trimmers. But the fun part really is seeing how everything changes month to month. Our lilac bushes just bloomed and I am in paradise!

    Chris Loves Julia

  4. says

    That diagram makes sooo much more sense. With all those pathways and stone circles I was getting cross-eyed looking at your pictures.
    Do you guys have any plans for the way back? Or just plant a bunch of evergreens and let it be wild and wonderful?

    • says

      I think we’d love to leave the back back (the part that’s not grass but just green weeds and bushes and trees) wild and even add more evergreens for a more forest-y look like we had with our first house. But some of the beds in the grassy areas that we have will go (just to make more room for Clara and Burger to run around). Eventually…


  5. Angela says

    the biggest shocker in that post for me: when John said “liriope”! I’ve never actually heard that word spoken before, so my attempt at pronunciation (in my head) sounded more like “leery-ope” not “leer-i-o-pee”.
    Huh. I may just have to go back and re-read any blogs that mentioned the stuff just so I can read it correctly this time.

  6. Rebecca says

    How about a sketch of what you hope to do with yard? Are you planning on keeping all of the pathways? Also, I think I remember you mentioning that you want to do another patio area in the back of the house. Any thoughts on where that would be?

    • says

      We’re not really sure where we’re going with the outside. That stuff usually takes years of indecision and mind-changing. Haha. We do want to build a deck someday and will probably keep the brick paths for now (although we’ll phase out the planting beds that interrupt the grass in the back) but who knows where we’ll end up! Our last house took about 4 years of tooling around to figure out what we liked, haha.


  7. mribaro says

    Question 1: is the whole of your property included in the scetch? It seems like you have much less woods or yard than around your previous house.

    Question 2: I am again confused as to which side does your main door look (as the floor plan that we originally saw is upside down to this house and yard plan) – is it west, north, south or east? And to which side did the main entrance in your old house face?

    • says

      Yes all of our property is included in the sketch, I’m just terrible at scale so I probably should have drawn bigger outside areas instead of a giant house! So sorry! Our first house had nearly no land on either side of it and this one has way more in the side-yard category (it’s a more square-ish lot than the long and skinny one we had before). As for the front door, it faces north in this house. And in our first house it faced about the same (a little bit more east facing, but still mostly north). Hope it helps!


  8. says

    Beautiful yard and just as I had imagined it. I really love the blue rain barrel in the new sketch…it truly is adorable….even if all it is is a tiny blue circle.

  9. Nik says

    Love the video and sketch. I gotta say though, oh to be a neighbor watching John walk around the house with a video camera talking to himself. Cracking me up!!!

    • says

      The funniest part- he did about five takes since he’d trip or there would be a car horn in the background. Hilarious! I hoped it would never end.


    • Sandra says

      Me too, thought he was doing great…except for whirling around and making me dizzy! I think it’s cool there’s so much going on, but it is a lot of brick walkways and liriope! Good grief!

  10. Pamela says

    If your wanting to plant evergreens one brilliant idea I once read about was that every Christmas you buy a real, potted evergreen, and then after Christmas you plant it and then you’ll always have a living reminder of that Christmas!

    • says

      Or if you have the patience to grow them from teeny-tiny baby treelets, if you join the Arbor Day Foundation (for just $10), they’ll send you ten little trees (of your choice) that are regionally appropriate. There aren’t great evergreen options down here in Texas, but up there, you have a much better selection.

    • Carolyn says

      My family did this one year when I was a kid. Then every year we would take a picture next to the tree. It was fun to see how the kids and the tree grew every year!

    • Kate says

      We got a plant on Earth Day a couple different years when I was in elementary school, and one year it was a little baby (no more than 6 inches tall) pine tree. I was so proud of it that my mom went through quite a bit of effort to keep it alive (mostly from the bunnies who loved anything that was still green in the winter – those young tasty needles meant it had to be covered by a milk crate all winter). By the time we moved from the house when I was in college, the tree was over 6 feet tall! It was one of the things I was saddest to leave at the old house.

      (Unfortunately one of the owners cut it down after we moved out, but I won’t focus on that part…)

  11. sofie says

    I’m so glad to finally hear you pronounce the word ‘liriope’. Things can get difficult sometimes for us non-English speaking folks.
    Loved the tour! Thanks.

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