Backyard Transformation


When we first bought our 1962 Rummer House, it was not only the architecture that spoke to us with it’s mid century modern design, but the lot on which is was located.  The house is situated on 4 tenths of an acre and the house is sited so the back of the house faces north. Perfect for the houses floor to ceiling windows.  It is also located at the end of a cul-de-sac on a pie shaped lot.  This meant that all sides of the house provided generous amounts of space to create our dream backyard.

Both the house and lot needed a lot of TLC, and were fine with that prospect because it would allow us to create what we wanted.  The yard had 40 years of plant growth and a lot of neglect.  We had all of the trees identified pruned and saved in the process of the transformation.  This was wonderful that we were able to do this, as it gave the yard a sense of maturity and when the project was complete, didn’t look like a brand new yard. 

The yard originally had a lot of grass, with a good dose of weeds. The back patio was exposed aggregate and had holes cut out for plants along the expanse.  A small rail road tie retaining wall joined the patio and was completely rotted. Many plantings went right up to the house and in some cases were growing on the house.  Multiple little structures also existed on the property.  An arbor here, a random patio there, and all of the materials a mishmash, that had no uniformity.   There was a gardening shed in the far corner of the yard, and originally we thought we would do away with it, but realized while working on the project that it could serve as a great storage spot for our outdoor furniture in the winter.  So it remained a constant throughout the transformation.

We knew we didn’t want a yard filled with grass to mow and water, so we came up with the idea for a bocce ball court as a way to make that portion of the yard into something more functional for us to enjoy.   We knew we wanted to expand the patio and make it wider, incorporate a pond, and a Japanese garden.  We also would have what we were calling our “working” part of the yard, that isn’t seen from any of the main parts of the house.  This would be where we built a gardening shed and our raised beds for vegetables and cut flowers.  

Filling the yard with natives and drought tolerant plantings was also an important element in the design.  Along with creating spots for the birds and pollinators to enjoy the yard. 

My husband created the plan for the whole yard and worked with the landscaper to implement his vision. He also designed the out buildings so they matched the exact aesthetic of the house.  The end result made it seem as they had always been on the property.   I learned throughout this project that he has a real forte with rocks.  Perhaps because of his younger rock climbing days, but he knows how to envision where a rock should go so that it looks natural in the landscape.   

This project is easier to show than tell, so here are some before and after photos.  Also a video of the whole backyard transformation.    I will be doing a post about the front yard next, so stay tuned!


Here is a video where you can watch it all in more detail!

Watch the yard transformation here!


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