Tag Archives: backyard spaces

backyard update part 3, corrugated metal fence DIY

For the post on the making of this corrugated metal fence click here.
corrugated metal fenceThe backyard progress, part 3– the back 3 sides of my fence are now finally finished.

backyard shipping containerThe shipping container is also in place but yet to be cut into to add doors and windows.

corrugated metal fenceThe fence was build with wooden posts, 8 ft. apart, set directly into concrete. Wooden rails are held between the posts, with metal building brackets.

corrugated metal fenceThe metal we used is non-galvanized corrugated metal. Non-galvanized  meaning it will rust and with a thickness of 26 gauge. It’s actually more expensive than galvanized (won’t rust) corrugated metal which is 22 gauge, thinner, and flimsier. Galvanized seemed very shiny, reflective and contrived, if that makes sense. I was told you can remove the galvanized layer, and allow it to rust, with muric acid but due to the thin-ness of the material, it will rust all the way through in about 10 years. We decided it was worth the extra expense to go with the non galvanized metal and get the rusty, organic look.

metal fence, wood postsI like the look of the wood with the metal so I built the fence with the rails on the inside. We just stained the wood and it looks even nicer. I think it will look even better as the fence starts to rust.

metal fence, wood postsThese corrugated panels have been up for about 3 months and have just barely begun to rust. I did spray the entire fence with the hose, about a week ago, with the hope of speeding up the rusting process, but honestly I’m enjoying the way it looks now.

corrugated fenceJust the beginnings of rust starting to show, after a few rain storms and a spraying with the hose.

clear garden, metal fenceOn the south side of the house, the space was a little narrow, I put in raised beds but the beds were going to be too close to the fence to get enough sunlight to grow vegetables. After puzzling it over for months, I decided to put up clear corrugated plastic panels to let enough light through to keep my vegetables growing. These improved plastic panels shouldn’t get brittle and try yellow like the plastic of your grandma’s greenhouse.

corrugated metal fenceHere is what the fence looks like from the outside, only the posts are visible from this view. You can see the retaining wall that we put in to maximize space and flatten out the backyard.

fancy metal fenceHere’s the front ‘fancier’ part of the fence, after surviving the snowy, windy winter. I’m sad (and ashamed) to say that my gates didn’t fare as well. They were taken out, ripped off in 2 different wind storms. I don’t even have a picture of the wreckage because I was too sad and mad to photograph the wreckage. Mean Old Mother Nature. So, now I re-engineer better, stronger gates and pray every time the wind blows that they will survive, and that I won’t ever have to rebuild them, ever again.

tiny door in metal fenceOn the back corner of the fence, where the kid traffic is the heaviest, we have left a tiny door panel. I have a door (piece of corrugated) made for it but haven’t gotten it put up yet. It will be hinged into the post and on a spring so it stays closed when not in use.

metal and wood fence

garden backyard areaThe garden beds from the inside of the fence, as you can see there’s a lot more light with the clear panels than there would be with metal in place. HINT: For some tips and tricks on successful gardening be sure to visit Yard Day, they’ve got some fantastic ideas on how to start your own vegetable garden.

Also, you can see the backside weathering of the tin and corrugated panels from the fancy  front-of-the-housepart of the fence.

clear garden fenceThe tin ceiling tiles rusted a lot faster than the corrugated, I’m loving the backside non-painted look.

fancy metal fence, backThe corrugated is rusting much slower, taking it’s time in the weathering process, but it’s a nice contrast.

rusting corrugated metalThis (above) shows about 8 months of natural (no spraying with the hose) weathering. The tin isn’t weathering at all where it’s been painted.

tin ceiling tile fence, back

tin ceiling tile metal fence

tin ceiling tile fence

raised garden bedsFor a look at the making of this corrugated metal fence DIY click here.
For a look at the fence and yard after 2 years, click here.

finishing the backyard, part 1

OK, I realized this has nothing to do with sewing, but it does have to do with creativity, at it roots. There has to be a foundation and groundwork in everything even if it’s not so pretty. This project is so monumental in my life, and makes me so happy to finally be undertaking, that I really must share ‘the backyard project’.
getting ready for a retaining wallWe began this project last year, the task of finishing our backyard. This is the rocky, sloping, tiny weed patch we started with.

ready for a retaining wallSomehow, our yard and house ended up about 3 ft. higher than the house behind us and without some sort of retaining wall we were going to loose a lot of backyard square footage.

unfinished backyardAlthough it’s not gigantic (the lot is 1/4 acre) we decided with a retaining wall we could keep all of our precious inches, and feet of backyard space.

putting up the forms for a retaining wallWe mulled over rock walls of various shapes and sizes, cement blocks and eventually decided on a cement retaining wall, with the fence built right into the top. Leaving the neighbors the option of finishing their side of the wall however the like.

pouring the concreteThe footings were poured first, then the forms installed and the wall poured the next week.

retaining wallSkip ahead to this summer- with about 5 dump truck loads of fill dirt, then 4 loads of top soil, we are getting there, making slow progress. As you can see the cement needs to be repaired on the top of the wall in the closest corner and the fence posts aren’t all the right height (oops, cement dries fast) this should be fixed very soon and we’ll be ready to fence ‘er all in.

cement pad for shipping containerThis cement was all poured this week, a big pad in the side yard for boats (we have a nice collection of old boats- Hobie Cat and 1977 Sea Ray) that both work part time.  The narrow portion of cement sticking out into the yard is for a shipping container we hope to plunk down and use for storage but not without making it snazzy on the outside, I’m picturing something like this:

shipping container outbuildingBut maybe not yellow… we’ll see.

topsoiled yardA view from the other side, we extended the back patio too.

rounded cement patioThe original back patio pad, that came with the house (lighter colored chunk) was ridiculous and probably just put in to pass inspection. We extended it with curved edges and added a step down because it was way too high (14 inches tall or so) without something to step down onto. We also took out a rickety wooden step (that had been built to step out of the house) and put in the two curved steps.

garden shedThis shed, that looks a bit like an outhouse, came with the house and has been an eyesore sitting in it’s random spot in the yard waiting for placement. At first I though about selling it to whoever would haul it away but then thought better of it. I mean who doesn’t need a little more storage? So, we poured a cement pad on this south facing side of the house to give it a permanent home and title of ‘garden shed’, since the garden will be right where those tomato plants sit in their pots.  And when I’m done with it, it’s going to look something like this:

tiny garden shedI can’t wait to rip off the stupid aluminum siding, find some funky old windows, maybe even a new door, and go to town jazzing up my shed like this one.

corrugated metal fenceAnd here’s what we’re thinking about for a fence- corrugated, probably galvanized metal sections placed between the wooden posts. I’m still doing the research on this option, as opposed to an all wooden fence. But I like the look of the metal and it will probably age better than wood, less maintenance and staining every summer for the teens.

For backyard ideas I’ve been collecting (and photo sources) go to my pinterest board. I can’t even think about plants, trees and shrubs yet- but when that time comes it’s going to be a-w-e-s-o-m-e!

Stay tuned for more…

I dream of summer- outdoor showers

Winter. She’s still looking pretty good at my house in the mountains but I’ve had to venture down into the winter inversion filled Salt Lake valley (nicknamed the “dirty dirty” this time of year by Park City locals) frequently and for boring reasons like taxes and the like. Record breaking bad air quality, smushy brownish melting piles of snow and accounting has made me reflect on warmer, greener climes and a simpler schedule those places bring.
Adding to my angst and worry- my 16 year old is leaving on Thursday for a 6 month foreign exchange in Costa Rica (more about that later), I’m trying to figure out how to fit into her suitcase.

If there’s one fantastic thing about summer and warm places  it’s the water and more specifically outdoor showers on a hot summer day is what I long for… again.
Years ago we had an outdoor shower, at the first house house we owned. The house was over 100 years old and had capped off hot and cold water pipes coming right out of the back of the house to what once was perhaps a laundry room but was gone before we arrived. With minimal expenditure, we built a cedar fence enclosure, put down gravel then bricks (no drain) for the floor, extended the pipes and added a shower head for what became the envy of all our friends- not necessarily the neighbors- I think they assumed we were weirdos. We used it from April until October, then turned it off so the pipes wouldn’t freeze. When we sold the house, I think it was the first thing they tore out- who’s the weirdo now? I’ve always wanted another outdoor shower, even if the water is heated with one of those solar shower camping device. Washing that soap right out of your hair under a bright blue sky, sun rays beating down on you- euphoria.

outdoor-shower6source Very similar to the shower we once had, fenced in, with a changing area and bench.

outdoor showerThere are plenty of fancy outdoor showers out there, I’m going for beautiful simplicity.

simple swimming poolsource And maybe a pool someday, not too fancy, tiny or narrow and long for swimming laps.

outdoor shower1source From a hotel on Mykonos, Greece, an island we visited a few years back on a most excellent sailing adventure, I wish we’d visited this exact spot.

outdoor shower2source This is more like my climate, flora and fauna and what I’ll end up with someday, but seriously, loose the roof.

simple outdoor showersource I or you could totally make one of these. I’m planning it out in my head… it looks portable or moveable too.

outdoorshower3source Our old shower looked similar to this, but even less fancy.

outdoorshower4source

4-outdoor-bathroomsource Taking it to the next level. See what you can do with a recycled toilet, some rocks and cement? I’m all over it.

outdoor-shower-5source Ok, you might need to be doing a little house remodeling for this one, but still fairly simple.

outdoor shower7source See how easy Martha makes it look?