The Outdoor Series – The Beginning

This “Outdoor Series” is taking place at our home.  You have seen the inside of our home, now we want to take you outside!
We had a lot to clean up outside after we bought our home. I will try to keep this to as few posts as I can, but we have gone thru a lot of steps to get to where we are now. Some of the work was done by me and my hubby and some of it was done by contractors. I’ll let you know who did what….no worries!!! 😉
Our outdoor space has evolved over the last 3.5 years we have owned our home. It was ugly to start, then got uglier for a little while and then got a whole lot better. We still have a few projects left, but I will take you thru those as they happen. So stay tuned for those posts as well, as we work thru them over the summer.
 Now let’s rewind 3.5 years to the day we closed on our home. Be prepared, because it’s not for the faint of heart. The previous owners did not take care of this property at all. All of our neighbors disliked them & their yard. And when I say “yard”, I’m talking about the whole entire property. Front, back & side yards!!!
Here is what the property looked like when we did our inspection in late April of 2007.  Not so bad.  It was still their house and they told us that everything would be cleaned up before the closing.  I could have worked with this.  Add some flowers, bushes and mulch and it would have looked nice for the time being until we had the money to really change things up.
Ok, so here is the left side garden bed.
The right side garden bed.
The front left corner garden bed.  Not really too much in this bed.
Then we walked into the backyard with the inspector….OMG!!!  I spy two swords, can you spy the two swords?  This is the right hand side, side yard behind the gate of the driveway.  There should be a driveway here, but it was nothing but their old things that they piled up there basically.  Can you also find the car that is buried in this pile?  And I’m talking about a full sized car is under all of that.
This is a full shot of the front of the house.  Covered car and all.  Not so bad since Spring had not sprung yet.  Lots of updates to do, but nothing we couldn’t handle over time.
This was the very ugly shed in the back corner of our backyard.  This bad boy needed a huge face lift.  Let’s just say that paint was involved in the face lift..  More details on that soon.
Here is the deck & pool in the backyard.  The pool is over to the right of this picture behind the decking.  It needed to be completely sanded down and stained.  Let’s just say it takes up the whole backyard for the most part.  Oh my!!!
Here is the part that is not for the faint of heart!!!  Get ready for some ugliness!!!  You have been warned!!!
Here is the front yard the way it looked when we pulled up to do our final walk thru in July for our closing that day!!!  Yes I said our closing that day.  Take a look at what we were greeted by….I guess Spring had sprung, right along with everything else that had sprung up.
Here is a closer picture of all the trash they were getting rid of that day.  I spy a rusted car jack.
We didn’t even go in the house first, we needed to see what they were doing and why everything wasn’t cleaned up already.  We took pictures of everything, because we were going to closing in just a few hours.   When we got to closing they still were not finished and we had our lawyer put money into escrow just in case we were stuck with getting a dumpster for all their trash.  They kept cleaning after the closing and into the whole next day.  We figured that if they were not finished by that Saturday night, we were calling the cops on them to get off our property.  Keep in mind that this house was on the market for almost a year at this point, so they had all of that time to clean up and they waited for closing day to start.  We had already changed all the locks in the house right after closing the first day.  Yup they were still in our yard cleaning up the next day after closing.  And we were in the house trying to figure things out.  We closed on a Friday and they spent all day Saturday into the night cleaning out the yard & shed.  Let’s just say they were extremely lazy and were not hauling butt to get it done.
Then we walk into the backyard.  O.M.G.!!!!  I still get nauseous when I look at this picture.  It was like walking into a junk yard.  All the trash and there is the full sized car I said was under all their stuff in the side yard.  It’s half covered in this picture with a tarp.
Here is a close up of the shed!!!  WHAT THE HECK!!!  They had about 2 months to clean out this property, but from what we heard, they didn’t start doing anything until the day of closing.  This is a 12′ x 12′ shed for goodness sakes.  It was full to the door.  I spy a pool pump.
Here is that car that I said was there under the trash.  Rust and all!!!  It was finally towed away while we were at closing.  Do you see all those vines or whatever they are?  We had a lot of work ahead of us…. A LOT!!!
But this picture gave me some hope.  These were our new neighbors.  Neighbors that had a nice clean yard and a nice clear pool.  There was an oasis on the other side of that fence that would give us inspiration for our own yard.  We didn’t even know if our pool worked. Boo!
Apparently this is what happens when you don’t weed from April to July.  You get 5 foot high weeds in your yard.  Gee thanks for cleaning things up for us.  Weren’t these previous owners so nice to leave all the weeding to us.  I know how hard it is to tell what is a plant and what is a weed.  Well let’s just say that most of it was weeds or plants they didn’t take care of and that we pulled out anyway.
Here is the same garden bed from the side view.
Here is the left side garden bed.
Here is the front left corner garden bed.  Good Lord, we had no idea what was what really.  In the end there were two trees, a couple of Hosta’s & 3 bushes….everything else was weeds.
Another view of the same garden bed.
Yup there is a fence under that bush in the far back of this picture.  We weren’t sure what it was, but it had to go.  I didnt want to have to try to take care of it.  We wanted a clean slate for the most part.  This bush was in the backyard behind the fence and just kept growing into the neighbors yard.  Look against the house, yup that is a Hydrangea bush.  Poor bush.  It was in about a 6-8 inch strip of dirt area.  We had to move it.  And those tall things past the Hydrangea, those are about 4 foot high weeds.  Yup there is a walkway there also under all the too high grass & weeds.
We can’t forget about our friend “The Wino”.  It used to be a light post.  He had to come down.  Two days after closing he came down.  As soon as we pulling him out, his head fell off.  We all had a good laugh, including our new neighbors that were watching us from across the street.  All the neighbors were so happy that we were cleaning up the yard so fast.  We still get compliments 3.5 years later of the wonderful job we have done to make this house not the eye sore of the block.
Next post I will show you how weeding and cleaning things up really made the house look different after that first day.
A nice story to end this post…..We actually brought a neighborhood back together.  Each house on either side of us & three houses across the street were all reunited after our closing day in July of 2007.  One by one, two days after closing, each neighbor came out of their homes and welcomed us to the neighborhood.  Ohhhhhh the stories we started to hear about the previous owners.  We brought old neighbors back together and we brought the 2 houses across the street into the neighborhood.  They had never met the neighbors on either side of our home when the previous owners lived there.  Basically everyone used to just get in & out of their cars and didn’t talk to anyone.  That is how bad these previous owners were.  About a month after we moved in, one of our neighbors had a big BBQ for me & hubby.  What a great feeling to be welcomed into the neighborhood.  We are all good neighbors now.  The greatest part, our neighbors are updating their homes too since we moved in.  Their homes were not even that bad really, but it was an awesome feeling that they wanted to improve their properties more because they didn’t have such an eye sore next to them anymore.  What a great feeling.
Do any of you have a great story when moving into your new home?  I would love to hear it.  Please leave a comment if you would like to share your story with us.

Thanks for stopping by everyone!  Have a great day!!!

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