Back Yard Beginnings

I realized you haven’t seen much of our back yard.

Once at the top of the driveway, there’s a hollowed out area for a future shop, a lame set of stairs, and retaining wall.

From the driveway, the hill climbs about four feet, extending to the patio.

At the edge of the patio is a two foot tall retaining wall with steep hill above.  Plans are coming along and we’re figuring out materials and prices, but we have a general idea of what we want to change here.

Over at the far end of the house, near the pool room is a set of stone stairs to no where.

Climb up those 18(!) stairs and there’s a small plateau area mainly used by deer.

That big rock at the top left of the picture above is nearly centered on the sliding door and fountain.  I’m standing right by that rock here:

In fact, our lot is so steep you can actually walk on the pool room roof from the back and it’s easy to see over the house from this plateau.

Solar panels from the 70’s are on the roof, but they’ll have to go because they’re causing the roof to leak into the pool.  So that whole blue angled thing will go once Ben starts the big roofing project.

We love the privacy and size of the lot, but it is a challenge, in many ways.  More research and planning and we can start working.  What are your favorite low water/low maintenance plants?  I’m looking for a mix of evergreens and flowering plants.  Everything needs to survive with minimal water because Montana summers are usually dry.  Hopefully you all can give some suggestions!

You Say Suspenseful I Say Fenceful

After this post, a lovely reader asked if we could write-up a quick post about our fence and how we made it.  Always happy to answer questions, here it is.

The fence is made up of 4 inch by 4 inch by 8 foot long posts and 2 inch by 6 inch by 16 foot long lumber from Home Depot.  Ben measured eight feet apart, used a post hole digger to make a 4 foot deep hole.  He did this for each post, 22 total on our property.  After setting each post, leaving it 4 feet above ground, we attached the 2 by 6 horizontals.  These are about 4 inches apart, for a total of five high.

We staggered the seams to keep the fence as strong as possible.  The gate took longer to finish because Ben couldn’t find strong hinges.  But, with the impending closing date looming, we knew it had to happen, sooner than later.  Ben bought a set of hinges and a latch at Home Depot.

To build the gate, Ben cut a 2 by 4 to the match the height of the horizontals.  Then, he screwed five 2 by 6 pieces, keeping the gate square as he went.

On either side of the gate we have a 4 inch square post and a 2 by 4, which is actually part of the gate.

Luckily, the hinges are perfect for the 2 by 6, so Ben installed one at the top and another on the bottom to hold the gate in place.

To protect the fence and keep it looking spiffy, we use Behr’s Solid Color Wood Stain, just like the rest of the fence.  So, that’s the simple fence we have and how to make one yourself.

Previously, we had a chain link fence, which Houdini, I mean Jack escaped from regularly.  We’re happy to report she hasn’t been able to get out of this one.  Also, this style fence can work for smaller dogs by adding 2 by 2 pieces between the 2 by 6s.

What style of fence do you have?  Why did you choose it?  To keep kids and pets in?  To keep neighbors out?