The Backyard Extreme Makover Edition I.

Brian has always been pretty discourged by the backyard. It is three terraced rows with no flat grade anywhere and an upper and lower deck made of beautiful redwood but very dirty and railings made of real glass (scary!). Because of this steep grade (the before pictures are actually quite deceiving, it is not as flat as it looks), Brian has been frustrated with not being able to have a place to kick a ball with Andrew and for the kids to play safe in the backyard. I tried to make it look pretty by laying down new bark and placing landscaping paper down to minimize weeds which were rampant the year before after we had torn out the overgrown shrubbery. Well, Brian decided the backyard needed to move up on the priority list. There is a member of our church who lives 2 hours away who builds retaining walls for a living and does most of his work here in Medford. He told us he could come in, dismantle the backyard, build the wall, backfill with soil, build a sprinkler system, and have sod down in 2 weeks (I said yeah right!). Well, he wasn’t kidding, and in 2 weeks I had a new backyard. Now, don’t look too close because we still have a lot of landscaping now to do but for now it looks pretty fantastic!


Upper Deck april-42007-029.jpg 

South Lawnapril-42007-030.jpg

Lower Deckapril-42007-031.jpg

Lower Patio and Deck april-42007-032.jpgapril-42007-033.jpg

Brian’s project included dismantling the stairs connecting the lower and upper deck, removing the railing of the lower deck and dismantling the stairs on the lower deck.  He did this over several days. Then made a makeshift railing up top so the kids would not fall off the deck. It was dirty work!


I went to volunteer in the girl’s preschool class for 2 1/2 hours the day the Hartshorn’s (guys who did the job [father/son]) started. When I got back, they had bulldozed the lower deck, All the old trees/shrubs had been removed, they had removed the wood from the deck and a concrete breaking machine was there to break up the concrete that was full of rebar. We had enough fill/stones to backfill the yard without ordering more fill. We even had to have a truck come and remove a truck full of fill.


All the wood products were put in the biomass container[33 ft x 8 ft x 8 ft] (which we filled two of them to the brim with trees, deck, and shrubbery) within 24 hours. Biomass then removed the containers and then a semi-truck came and unloaded pallets of pavers and stone. We had all together 43 pallets dropped off in our front yard. 2 semi-trucks worth.


They used the south side of our yard as the entrance to/from the backyard. It was pretty chewed up. Fortunately our neighbors forgave us of our mess despite the fact we even killed one of their shrubs. We made amends with them, had the shrub completely torn out and then paid for some yard waste to be removed for them, along with putting up a small retaining wall for them and new shrubery. It actually looks better now. Brian has also worked diligently on minimizing the amount of sprinkler water this side of our yard receives because of the drainage issues that occur in our neighbor’s yard because of the water flowing down hill.


Then, the wall began to form. They laid over 100 yards of gravel behind the wall, placed a geo grid, tarp and protectants to ensure the wall did not fall.  They also started laying all of the gravel for the walkways and new patio that we decided to have done too. 


They also paved an inner and outer walkway on either side of the wall.


The wall and the walkways began to take shape!


Then the sod arrived along with top soil. Brian loaded all the top soil in the CAT, then unloaded it in the backyard, then he and his dad raked the ground level. He then proceeded to put in the sprinkler system.


And then, we had a sod partly late one Monday night and laid sod until 9pm at night with the Hartshorns. Here are the after pictures. Now, since these were taken some of the empty spost have been filled and more landscaping has been done.

South Lawn92007-backyard-remodel-093.jpg 

Upper Terrace92007-backyard-remodel-094.jpg 

View from the walkway toward the house92007-backyard-remodel-097.jpg

Patio Walkway and garden area92007-backyard-remodel-101.jpg 92007-backyard-remodel-100.jpg

Patio 92007-backyard-remodel-104.jpg

Wall and upper/lower walkway92007-backyard-remodel-105.jpg 92007-backyard-remodel-109.jpg

(We have ordered a wrought iron railing to prevent kids from falling off the wall. It will be in place October 22.)

Wall at its peak (6ft) 92007-backyard-remodel-106.jpg 

South end of house with walkway up the side of the yard



 Now we are currently remodeling our deck which will include a wrought iron railing, trex decking on the upper deck and a new deck below.


After the deck is completed and the wrought iron railing is on the retaining wall I will send updated pictures.


7 responses to “The Backyard Extreme Makover Edition I.

  1. Your new yard looks great. I still need to get my buns out to Oregon one of these days.

  2. Holy smokers, that is unbelievable. Can’t wait to see it in real life.

  3. seriously…wow. it’s things like this that make me terrified of being a grown up, and buying a house!

  4. I can’t believe you guys did that much work in two weeks! Amazing!

  5. You guys are amazingly ambitious! It makes me tired just to look at pictures of all the work you do!

  6. WOWZERS! That should be on extreme home makeovers- backyard edition. Although I don’t think a Dr. and a NP would qualify =) The yard looks beautiful! I can’t wait to see it next spring when your plants have filled in. Good job guys!

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