Welcome to Our Unwelcoming Back Yard

August 2, 2012

I’d like to introduce you to a place you’ve probably never seen before on the blog:
My back yard.

Backyard shot with wide angle lens, deck, patio

Actually, that’s what it looked like back in April when I started thinking about writing this post (I know!). Four months and a drought later, our yard actually looks more like this:

Dried up grass in backyard

But let’s just suspend that truth for a moment, shall we?

It’s a decent-sized yard, though not nearly as large as this briefly-owned-then-returned wide angle lens would lead you to believe. The main feature is the deck, which we last stained five years ago. And there’s a patio below it that becomes covered in dirt from under the deck every time it rains. Which lately, is never.

Deck to be stained, backyard, fence

Here’s how it all looked a few years after purchasing the house, in 2007 (the swimming pool was for our dog, whom we quickly discovered does NOT like water):

Deck and backyard in 2007

We really took our time and did things right that summer, power-washing and cleaning the deck, and painstakingly staining every last detail into the fall.

Deck after staining in 2007

Cut to 2012, and we’ve basically just let the whole thing go again, especially since we haven’t been eating outside due to the heat and the two broken glass panels on our patio table (I’ve been quoted $300+ to replace them, so I’m on the lookout for a deal on a new table or set).

Deck boards weathered and patio furniture 2012

When I have the time, and it’s under 100 degrees, I’ve been going out and re-staining the deck for about an hour at a time. No power-washing, no major cleaning, just some lazy stain-slopping. At this rate I’ll get done by December.

Staining deck railing Behr premium deck stain dog German Shepherd

Because honestly, the deck isn’t even our top priority in the back yard — the fence is.

Rotting picket fence

About a year ago, our dog kept escaping from the yard and we couldn’t figure out why. We’d be chilling in the basement, and all of a sudden a neighbor girl would come to the door with our dog.

It turns out some of the fence boards were so rotten that Cash could push the bottom of the pickets with his head and the screws would go right through them.

When we first caught him in the act, it was from the kitchen window — he would actually look and make sure we were back in the house before making his “secret” escape! Of course, once out, he had no way back in.

Rotting fence

Now, I’m not sure why our cedar fence got as bad as it did. It’s my impression that cedar is supposed to be naturally resistant to insects and fungus, and doesn’t even need to be stained. But after 15 years in business, it’s time to be replaced.

And we’re staining it this time.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren August 3, 2012 at 6:54 am

Argh. Dogs are so crafty aren’t they? Don’t get me started on our dog shenanigans. They’ve finally gotten better and stay inside. Mostly. But what a task! Especially with the hot and dry and wilty summer you guys have had. Neel replaced our back fence this year (that’s where all the trouble spots were), and I dread the thought of doing the side fences. Really. Can’t even think about it


Nina August 3, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Oh wow you have a pretty big yard! That’s a lot of fence you have to take care of. We don’t even have a fence in the back yet and have to look at our neighbors mess. Hopefully that will change next year…


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