our backyard is back

even though we have a more fun, more satisfying project on the go right now, we haven’t forgotten about the mudroom renovation, which has been limping along since may. the heavy lifting (excavation, foundation, framing, drywall…) was done by mid-july, but lots of stuff remained on the to-do list. eaves troughs were pressing, and we finally got those in early august. stairs also seemed like an important thing to have and those arrived in august, too (although they still need to be stained). but the state of the yard was a constant reminder that the job was not yet (might never be) done.

IMG_4254IMG_4255IMG_4258while most torontonians have been enjoying one of the nicest summers in years, our bbq was rendered impotent and we haven’t hosted a single friendly gathering. we hired landscapers greenspace to grade our yard, lay sod, and set reclaimed brick patios under our gate and for our bbq. like most home improvement companies in toronto, they have more business than they know what to do with, and we had to wait months for them to schedule our project. when they finally did show up, they did a great job, though our sod, while still alive, has yet to “root.”

IMG_4401IMG_4402IMG_4403we had a reclaimed brick patio underneath our kissing gates before, but it hasn’t quite been the same since my brother drove a bobcat over it. i removed all the bricks and greenspace reused them for this job, but this time they laid 8 inches of base, did a simple pattern with the bricks, and put a metal retainer around the rectangle for me. this should hold up way better than my version.



they did the same thing around the far side of our house, making this space the nicest it’s looked… ever. that top photo is from 2011, back when we had the old addition, a dinky cement pad, no gas line, no a/c, and lots of weeds.


surprisingly, i had most of these bricks (various kijiji scores…) but we did need a few extra to complete both patios. we got the extras from kreitmaker in leaside, a yard that sells reproduction historic bricks for obsessives like myself.

IMG_4404IMG_4413finally, grass! even though we went to copenhagen for two weeks just a few days after the sod was laid, we came home to a green lawn. with much help from our neighbours, we used an automatic sprinkler timer to keep the grass wet and netting to keep the raccoons from rolling the sod up, but they are officially the worst and we can’t seem to get the grass to root into the soil. pierre chased three the size of bears out of the yard this morning and then ordered a contraption off amazon called the yard enforcer, which he’s in the process of setting up (cue maniacal laughter).

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