From Beast to Beauty: Taming Our Overgrown Landscape

My husband and I share a great interest in gardening and landscape. This is one of the main reasons we wanted to buy this house. In our previous homes, we had to do a lot of work to rework the landscape of the properties. We were both so thankful to find a property that needed minimal work. The front was stunning, had a great patio, and a lovely fish pond with a water feature. However the back was terribly overgrown and needed a lot of attending to. My husband and I tossed a bunch of ideas around – but the solution was more than I could have dreamed!

First Looks and Issues – When we first went to the backyard it wasn’t so bad. But it definitely needed a major haircut. There are hydrangeas, monkey grass, ferns, cast irons, magnolias, palms, camellias, tea olives, and gardenias – all of which are stunning and I love having these plants back there. But there was also tons of blackberry vines, poison ivy, Carolina creeper and several other invasive weeds as well. The overgrowth became overwhelming and became a snake and armadillo haven.  My husband and I wanted to make room for a future outdoor kitchen, seating area, fire pit, and overall add to our entertaining space.

{Picture Taken by Lauren Carlisle: Before picture of the backyard}

{Picture Taken by Lauren Carlisle: Picture of the backyard after overgrowth was cut}

Walkway Troubles – When we first bought our house there was a massive live oak tree (4ft in diameter) that was growing into the foundation of the house. We had to have this tree cut down – but our tree service was willing to cut us cross sections of the trunk and leave us some limbs to use for a future walkway. We also collected some wood from friends and neighbors as well. We began to put the walkway down right away. We ended up having to pull it up more than once but we eventually got the overall look we were going for and couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. It has certainly become the center of our backyard for entertainment and conversation. I love looking at the walkway because I think it pays homage to a beautiful tree that we wished we didn’t have to take down.

{Picture Taken by Lauren Carlisle: Building and finishing of our walkway}

Rocks and Patio – With the fear of constant overgrowth and needing to keep up with the maintenance, my husband and I decided that we really needed to make an outdoor patio of some kind. We went back and forth about what the best option would be. We ultimately decided that our best decision would be to cover the entire backyard with gravel and to put together a paver area that would ultimately hold a fire pit. Putting together this area was backbreaking work. We moved 24 tons of gravel via wheelbarrow and placed the pavers ourselves as well. However the result is stunning, requires minimal maintenance, and really adds to our entertainment area to our home.

{Picture Taken by Lauren Carlisle: Continued work on the patio area}

{Picture Taken by Lauren Carlisle: Finished Product… For now)

Future Improvements – With all the improvements we have done to the yard of course there is always a plan for more. The first will be to install a fire pit and update one of the hammocks. Even though we live in Florida, fire pits are always fun and useful.  We also hope to add in an outdoor kitchen complete with grill, outdoor oven, smoker and prep station. My husband and I basically live outdoors so it makes sense for us to add an out an outdoor kitchen for entertainment and cooking purposes. From there the potential is endless!

Firepit Inspirations

Outdoor Kitchen Inspirations

Working outdoors makes me feel so happy. The sun in my face, heavy lifting, sweat, tears, and sometimes blood can be difficult. However, seeing such a drastic change makes all the sacrifice worthwhile. We have already made great use of the space. My kids basically live in the hammock. My husband and I were able to observe the solar eclipse from the backyard. We also have entertained friends there as well. We intend to set up a projector on certain occasions for football game viewing out there as well. I can’t wait for all the future memories we will make in our newly renovated backyard!

Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor ciao_laurencop_sig-01of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on FacebookTwitterPinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

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