DIY: Backyard Makeover

I read online, who knows where, “the month of August is one long Sunday night for teachers.” How true and how depressing. As my last week of vacation slips through my fingers, here’s what I’ve been up to this summer. And I use “I” loosely. You all know projects around the Ray households take a village. Dad, the visionary and carpenter. Mom, the expert seamstress and chuck-wagon cook. And me, the supervisor, as my Papa often describes me which really means I’m a bossypants. However, I have learned that while my strengths may not lie in the use of power tools, I can haul rocks and shovel crushed granite with the best of them.

We sprouted the idea for a backyard makeover while on our trip to San Diego. Our rental had the cutest backyard space with composite decking, and it was all downhill from there. I extended my patio with 8 ft. composite decking from Lowe’s. It’s made of recycled materials and doesn’t have to be stained or finished like traditional wood decks. I’ll let you know in a few years if it’s still as great as they say it is.

After the deck was finished, we replaced my sad little patch of dying St. Augustine with decomposed granite and few drought-friendly plants — red yucca, purple fountain grass and Mexican feather grass (This is a popular species, so I suggest purchasing early in the summer. I went to eight different nurseries that were sold out before hitting the jackpot. I had quite the bee in my bonnet.)

For finishing touches, mom made some gorgeous cushions/pillows out of duck fabric from Hobby Lobby to compliment all the orange and gray I have going on. Don’t buy the fabric when it’s on sale for 30% off. Wait until it’s regular priced and then use your 40% coupon via the Hobby Lobby app or your local newspaper for your single cut of fabric. I also snagged some pots on sale at Lowe’s along with my best bargain  of the summer — clearance plants. Did you know Lowe’s has a shelf, usually in the back of the garden center, with plants that have seen better days? I had no idea, but this little gem of a discover has changed my life. The manager on shift decides what plants need to go, and if you hit it right, you can save some big bucks.

So come out on the deck, pull up a chair with your iced tea and enjoy. (And let’s pretend it’s 25 degrees cooler while we’re at it.)

Happy summer.


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