Coffee Talk Monday #60- Backyard Edition

Apr 2, 2012

I’m a midwest girl at heart. I love green grass, beautiful flowers and LOTS of color. In a nutshell, NOT desert  ;). That doesn’t add up too well for this now AZ girl!

Back story time!

Joe put an offer on our current house without ever having seen it. Yup, that’s right! He sent me out with the realtor and trusted that I knew what he would like. One of the main things he wanted was a low maintenance yard which in AZ means rocks, gravel and cacti. When I looked at this house, I knew it was ‘it’.

It had a cute pool and a nice desert landscaped backyard. Even this midwest chick was down with it. I felt like I could officially call myself an Arizona girl; I had a rock backyard!

For 2 years, we enjoyed our low maintenance, rock pile of a yard and things were great UNTIL we got our dogs. Then it was HIGH MAINTENANCE ALERT!!!

Let me count the ways:

1. They started jumping in the pool 3, 4, 5 times a day, causing me to go through a bizillion towels a day. Please don’t make me do laundry any more than I have to!

The fix: We got a pool fence. Great!

2. They decided they liked to dig. Did I mention it’s straight dirt under those rocks?? Ehhhh.

The fix: We got a dog door on the side of our house and put up a fence creating a dog run area that kept that out of the majority of the yard.

3. They started digging up their dog run area. The dirt….OHHHH THE DIRT!!! Did I mention the newly exposed dirt was their FAVORITE spot to lay? Let’s not even discuss the amount of dirt that would get in the house!

The fix: Our temporary fix was SO ghetto. Like truly. Joe used huge rocks and tiles that were sitting outside from the previous owner to cover up the major dirt holes. It’s laughable. Let’s just say this didn’t really work.

4. The pool fence impeded their typical ‘catch’ route, so they would run as close to the fence as possible causing HUGE ruts in the dirt.  Every time they ran, they would kick up SO much dirt, much of which got in their coats which got into the house; on the floors, on the rug, EVERYWHERE


And that’s exactly what we did this fall/winter. I am finally getting around to posting about it :). Here is our backyard transformation (so far).

This is what our side yard area used to look like. Little red rocks, LOTS of dirt and several pokey, accident-waiting-to-happen type plants.

Sweet Lord, please forgive them if they harbor ill thoughts after seeing this ghetto dog run area ;). I warned you. It was straight up NASTY! But don’t neglect the creativity aspect. I mean, tiles in the dirt holes? That’s pretty genius ;).

Remember those ruts I was telling you about? Yea, I wasn’t joking!

Okay let’s go in order, shall we? First we tackled the dog run area. This is where ‘the girls’ spend most of their time and where they were picking up the most dirt.

We had one goal. Make it near IMPOSSIBLE for my pups to dig. So my engineer hubby came up with a plan.

First, we started by removing all of the existing rock, tile and nastiness and dug down about 6 inches. Oh my lanta! Do you know how hard it is to dig Arizona dirt? Whewww! We had our work cut out for us.

Next we laid weed barrier over the dirt followed by chicken wire.

Then we got 3-6 inch river rock to place atop this contraption. This type of rock is much heavier and harder to move then what was there before. Good luck now, puppy!!! (for those of you who are wondering, we have been 3+ months without any digging over here! woo hoo!)

*note that the main goal over here was get rid of the dirt and not so much the overall look. Anything other than random tiles was an upgrade if you ask me ;)

Oh, and the chain-link fence is a recent addition. You can read about why we switched to that HERE. 

Next we tackled the main side yard area. I FINALLY convinced Joe that we should get grass. I had been asking for grass for SO long and I finally wore him down ;)

Remember it looked like this:

After a little of this:

It now looks like THIS (notice my crazy pups wrestling each other in the corner. They LOVE their grass):

Our next plan of action was to GET RID OF THE RUTTING! We figured they can’t get through pavers, thus a wrap-around pool patio was born :).

Until it looked a little something like THIS:

We were loving the grass area SO much that we thought, why not do the rest of the yard as well??! So more prep work…

…lead to something pretty sweet! (yup, there are my crazy pups again!)

Sooooo, what do you think??!



  1. Ann Lee says:

    Wow Stacy! That’s an amazing change! It looks totally different. I’m also amazed at how seamless the grass looks. It’s beautiful!!!

  2. Amy says:

    It.Looks.Amazing. Nice work, you two!

  3. Jen says:

    Loooove the green! Glad those deadly cacti are gone – imagine those with a little one one day?! Looks like a ton of hard work – hope it serves you well this summer!

  4. Candice says:

    Your yard looks AMAZING and even better in person!!! You & Joe did an awesome job. I’m not going to lie though hearing your story about all that dirt scares me and the winter/summer grass,(which still cracks us up lol). I’m def a little hesitant if we have to move to AZ. I love our midwest yard!

  5. Suzanne says:

    Looks great! And good job taking before and after pictures. I always forget to take the before pictures:)

  6. Emily says:

    So glad to finally see these photos! It looks soooo great!! Nice work guys:)

  7. Connie Barr says:

    Wow! Loved reading the blow by blow account and it looks wonderful! Such a lot of planning and then work…you need to send this Nate Berkus…

  8. Jessie says:

    Holy cow that’s impressive! Gorgeous! I’m definitely jealous… our backyard is still all dirt and we’ve lived here for 3 years

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