Backyard makeover

With three high energy little boys, getting the kids outside becomes a necessity for my sanity.

When we first moved here, the yard was pretty pathetic. Neither of us could figure out the weird deck-like structure in the middle, so that was the first to go.

Slowly we added more and more to the yard, filling it with life and color. I don’t know about you, but I think our tiny yard is a playground paradise.

Step 1 was the fence. Chain link wasn’t my favorite option, but it was the cheapest. And we could install it ourselves with a little elbow grease and a lot of quickrete.

Next we tackled Andy’s grandma’s old porch swing, which we turned into a swinging bench. I snagged a couple of oversized wood letters and some outdoor pillow covers from Hobby Lobby. A few coats of paint and this section was done.

Our most ambitious project was the sandbox. This thing is HUGE. I was so thankful for a local place that sold sand in bulk, because there was no way this baby was going to be filled with bags. I love how the accent wall turned out. The kids have already started making waterway systems with bridges and tunnels. We created a buffer zone out of bamboo and filled it with rocks and blue decorative stones. The kids pretend its water. I’m just happy I don’t have spilled sand in my grass.

My kiddos are loud. (Sorry neighbors). We mean it when we tell them to use their indoor voices and they let loose with their outdoor voices as soon as they can. So why not. I added a little music to the chaos. Some PVC pipe and thrift store tins and the music wall was done.

Next was the ball run. I think it might be too high for the littles, but maybe they’ll grow into it. We made a little step, but the ground is uneven and I’m just waiting for the crash to the ground. But he seems to be having a dandy time with it.

To complete our trio of activity boards, we put together this fun chalkboard.

The tire climber took a fair bit of trial and error, but it’s up and painted and my kids have already begun giving me heart attacks by climbing to the top. Maybe a net underneath…hmm..

The wobble board was probably the easiest project to complete. The boys pretend they’re surfing.

My original objective for the backyard was to make it as natural as possible. I really want the kids to explore and learn rather than play with toys. We used some left over quickrete and these puppies aren’t going anywhere.

The hopscotch stepping stones turned out pretty well. I don’t think they quite understand how to play the game, but for now it’s a nice way to skip to the swing set.

The swing set came with the house (thanks previous owners!). But it wasn’t going to fit in that space. We ended up cutting it up and reassembling it a foot and a half shorter. Three sets of hooks. Perfect for three little boys.

I added a few little things that I thought would make play a little more special. The kids love the roadways for the sandbox.

I also got some dinosaur skeleton molds and plaster of paris from Michael’s and buried them in the sandbox for them to unearth.

My son helped me paint a bunch of rocks to liven up the rock garden.

And I used my wood burner to etch the alphabet into wood slices we made from the tree we took down by the shed.

Oh! Can’t forget about the tire. This thing was enormous! And as we were digging the hole to install it, we happened upon an old dry well. It actually worked out nicely because we filled the hole with all the concrete we dug up from the side of the house. Two birds. One stone (or concrete block).

My biggest worry was that the backyard would look cluttered and too busy, but I think we did ok.

What do you think? Would you play in our yard?

4 thoughts on “Backyard makeover

  1. It is a wonderful backyard for the boys!! You and Andy did a wonderful job designing and implementing them!!!

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