Monday, January 19, 2009

Metamorphosis Monday

I'm participating in a new weekly blog party. It's called Metamorphosis Monday and it is sponsored by Susan at Between Naps On The Porch. This is the very first week. How exciting! Be sure to go to her blog & check out all the other before & afters. It might just make you want to post your own.

I wasn't going to participate this week as I didn't think I had a "before & after". I'm terrible at remembering to take "before" photos, and even worse at finishing projects in order to reach the "after". But I remembered that I did post back in October about our backyard. So I am reposting it now with a few tweeks in order to join the party.

Keep in mind that our backyard hasn't reached the complete "after" stage. It is always a work in progress, but it is a million times better than the before. So here we go:

Welcome to our backyard. You can click on any photo to make it bigger. Most of the after photos were taken back in October right before dusk. I didn't have time to clean up anything before taking the photos. I wanted to get pictures taken before it got too dark. The before photos are from 2006 when we bought the house.

This is a before photo of our backyard.

This is the after photo. Looks much better with concrete. I just wish we could have afforded to have the concrete stamped & colored. But plain concrete is better than the before. It's amazing how much bigger the yard looks & feels now, not to mention much cleaner. We have clay dirt, imagine tracking that into your house? My hubby also put in french doors to our master bedroom & the other bedroom (turned game room) on the back of the house. He also put up the retractable awning as well. We have an outside bed in the tent canopy. We used it quite a bit the first 2 summers we were here. But since hubby put in the french doors in our room, it's almost like sleeping outside without leaving our bedroom (at least in the summer).
Notice that I didn't move the hose before taking the photo? So much for staging. Also, you can see the new pot next to the dolphin topiary. That is what it is in now. Looks much better.

This is a before photo of our side yard. Ugly huh?
This is the after photo of our side yard. Hubby built the patio for this area of the yard. He put in french doors from one of the bedrooms to access this area from the house. Eventually he will put in french doors from the other bedroom on this side of the house as well. The pillars we got on clearance from Home Depot for about $25 each. They were broken, but hubby fiber glassed them back together. He still needs to patch & paint.

This photo shows some old pin ball machines back there & a coke machine. I didn't clean up before taking photos, so everything is quite a mess & dirty. The pin ball machines have now been moved into our game room. But this patio area is still a work in progress and still a mess.

This is the before photo of the west side of the pool.
Here is the after photo of the west side of the pool. Looks much better. The lamp post came from Scotland. Hubby fished it out of a trash dumpster about 15-20 years ago. He got out 3 of them. They were broken, but hubby welded them back together and painted them. We still have 2, but only 1 has been installed. (Hubby has been moving lamp posts from house to house since dumpster diving for them). The light at the top isn't that old, only the post. We normally have 2 flower baskets hanging from this, but they all died in the summer heat & we haven't replaced them.
Our pool is my favorite thing in our backyard. My hubby always told me he would never have a house with a pool. Now that we have a pool, can't imagine living without one. Especially in our hot summers. Just wish we could afford to have solar power to heat it so we could use it year round.
The dolphin topiary came with the house. It used to be on the back hillside but was pretty dead. Hubby replanted it and brought it back to life. It almost died this past summer while we were on vacation. But it is slowly coming back. This is my hubby's baby. He just replanted it in a beautiful pot that looks old, but I didn't get a chance to take a photo. There is a photo of the pot in one of the above photos.

I love going swimming in the summer at night in the dark. It is quite cooling & relaxing. The only thing is that I start thinking of "Jaws" and "The Creature From the Black Lagoon" and I spook myself. Even though I know there are no creatures in the dark water, it still scares me enough to get out. One night I was relaxing in the dark pool when all of a sudden a bat buzzed my head, now that was something to be scared of.

In the summer time we sometimes watch movies outside. Hubby built a screen he can set up & take down over the pool. He also has an elaborate speaker system outside for watching movies or listening to music. You can watch the movie from either side. Some people watch from the pool, others sit in the warm spa & others sit in chairs on the edge of the pool. We watched movies out there all summer long. At Halloween we even watched "Dracula" outside as it was quite warm that night. (We live in Southern California.)
My favorite thing about the pool is the spa. We use the spa more than the pool as it can be used all year round. If I had to choose between the spa & the pool, I guess I would have to pick the spa. It's great to sit in it at night & look at the stars. We have seen many shooting stars from the spa. We've also had the sheriff helicopter fly over & shine a light on us as well. Normally we have beautiful flowers around the spa. But they all died in the intense heat of the sun while we were away on vacation this past summer.

This clock is another of Hubby's "before & after" projects. It didn't look anything like this when we got it. It was missing the clock face & was broken in 2 or 3 places and it was aluminum. Hubby welded it back together, painted it to look old. He also handpainted the clock face, then he cut the glass, added battery packs & the clock was finally finished. He has painted our last name at the top since the photos were originally taken. It's great knowing what time it is when you are in the pool or spa.

Hubby also made the fire pit. Luckily the area was already piped for natural gas. He stacked the pavers, added the lava rocks. It's fun being able to make s'mores in your own backyard.

Here is a close up of the clock face. You can tell the time from either side of the clock.

Here is a wooden swing just outside our son's bedroom. Hubby made this swing many years ago. I'm sure lucky to be married to someone who is so handy.
This is my rusty mermaid that I bought on vacation this past summer in Cave Creek, AZ. I found it at a salvage store & just loved it. So of course, it had to come home with me. Looks great on the edge of my pool. It has been knocked into the pool once since bringing it home. It is quite heavy so someone has to dive in to retrieve it. Luckily is hasn't fallen or been knocked into the pool this winter. Water is toooooo cold. If it does, I'm not retrieving it. Knock on wood.

Well there you have it. I've shown you the "before" & "afters" plus all the favorite things in my backyard. Just don't look to closely at all the mess & dirt. I didn't clean up prior to taking photos. It had been quite windy at our house when I took the photos (the infamous Santa Ana winds), so there is dirt everywhere. Plus there are no pretty flowers in any of my pictures. I'm hoping to have beautiful flowers again this spring. Can't wait.


Dee Dee said...

Your yard is really beautiful. Mike's sure a handy guy!

Wendy said...

Your backyard is beautiful. I would love to have a pool. Looks like you and hubby have been hard at work and it has paid off.

The movie thing is neat. I bet all the neighbors want to come to your house.


Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) said...

Kim, Your back yard is truly a paradise! I would live out there every evening! I love the shape of your pool and really love all the projects your DH has done! The lantern and clock are such great features! Love that you can watch movies, cool is that! :-) Thanks for sharing this great transformation! Your hard work has really paid off! Susan

pammiejo said...

That's a talented husband you have even if he does complain sometimes about your ideas - I have one of those too. I think they just think they "ought" to complain so you won't know they actually enjoy doing it all! Love your backyard! PAM

Ma'dame French said...

What a paradise this is!!! I so want to do something similar to my back yard....hmmm Susan's porch and your pool and yard Yep that's it;) French

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Wonderful Met Monday...gorgeous pool area!

A Hint of Home said...

What a beautiful oasis, right in your own backyard. Hubby did a great job and you are very lucky .

Jodi said...

Nice Backyard.

Katie and Seth said...

I love your backyard!! It looks so peaceful yet fun!! Very beautiful!!

Momovthree said...

This is just gorgeous! I can picture myself with a cup of iced tea relaxing in this yard. Great job!

ellen b. said...

Hi Kim! Boy oh boy what a fabulous transformation in your back and side yard. How great that you documented it with photos. It really has a beautiful atmosphere now! Hats off your your hubby! You must really appreciate getting rid of all that dirt, too. Lovely, lovely!!
I'm late in getting around to "Met" this week. Happy Tuesday to you :0)

Kira said...

Way cool back yard! I switch ya! We have snow and underneith that some grass! Do we have a deal?

auction girl vintage said...

Lovely back yard. I sure understand flowers (and everything else) dying in the heat, I live in Bakersfield where we have summer 5 to 8 months per year.


mbkatc230 said...

What a beautiful yard. Your husband sure has made some great finds, and I love your mermaid! Beautiful job.

austin and cherisse said...

I love your backyard and so do my kids!!!!!

Chloe's Couture said...

Ok, so I love your pool!!! If my 9 year old saw this picture he would totally want to move in with you whether he knew you or not!! Your husband is obviously very handy, what a blessing!! So what brought you to Scotland years ago? Lovely, lovely, lovely! I would never want to leave my backyard if it looked like yours!!!