Here are all the details for my backyard! When we moved into our house, the yard was not safe for children, and there was no way to work with what we had. The patio area was not to code and could potentially destroy parts of the house. There was gravel everywhere, no fence, and a lot of the vegetation wasn't kid-friendly, so we demoed everything and started from scratch.
I was a preschool teacher for over three years, so I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to create a kid-friendly yard. I created the design (not to scale) in PowerPoint, and our contractor worked with his designer to create an accurate blueprint.
Here were the top 6 things I wanted when designing the yard
- A bike path: This has been the best component of our yard. It is where my sons learned how to ride a bike, and of course, my husband can't get enough of riding his skateboard on it. This was also great for me after I had my third baby. I wasn't able to walk far or long weeks after having her, so I would put her in the stroller and take walks along the path in the yard!
- Additional side gates: This was so the kids couldn't run to the side of the house and be out of my view. It also created a space for storage that would be out of sight!
- A designated play structure area that was padded
- A large grass area for running and practicing sports
- Plants that provided privacy, were safe for kids, and low maintenance
- A patio area that would be family-friendly but perfect for hosting.
Here are the top 3 things I wanted but had to let go due to cost and maintenance.
- An outdoor fireplace: Built-in outdoor fireplaces are insanely expensive. Once you learn a bit about how they are constructed, you understand why. We then looked into getting a fire pit but decided against that as well. We had a fire pit with the old backyard, and it was a nuisance with having little kids. They were always picking up the small glass rocks and trying to put them in their mouth, climbing the ledge of it, and it was impossible to relax while it was on with the kids trying to get close to it.
- A built-in BBQ: Again, expensive and I couldn't justify the cost when you can get a nice regular BBQ at Home Depot
- An in-ground trampoline: Not only did we lack the space, but apparently there is so much more that goes into an in-ground trampoline then just digging a hole and sticking it in there. You need a retaining wall (which, if you ever have had to get a retaining wall, you know they aren't cheap) within the hole, a proper pumping system for when it rains, and a perfect fit to ensure nothing can fall underneath or get stuck.
Check out the photos to learn about each plant we chose! I labeled them within the picture to make referencing them easier. I live in a suburb of San Diego, about 30 minutes inland from the beaches, so we chose plants that would thrive in our hot climate.
I did want to touch on one topic, and that is storage. The biggest reason we did a backyard remodel was to create a safe space for the kids to play. To ensure I was able to see them at all times, I had side gates installed. This not only prevents the kids from running down the sides of the house where I can't see them unless right there, but it also added another area for storage, and the extra gate is an added measure of security. This also created two side yards. On one side, we store some of the kid's bigger toys and garden tools, and on the other, we store the BBQ. We use to have our BBQ out near the covered patio, but the kids were constantly trying to play with it. My husband also likes grilling in the side yard because it is safer when toddlers are running around, and I am pretty sure it's his area to hide from everyone during a party under the guise of "grilling."
To store their everyday outdoor toys such as bikes, scooters, balls, shovels, etc., I got this plastic shed and these plastic storage bings. These storage bins make organizing your kid's toys easy! They stack on top of one another and can hold all my kid's toys!
(The pavers are more of a gray color but look tan in this photo due to lighting and the fact that they are wet.)
All other details are listed below! I hope this is helpful for anyone who is looking to renovate or build their backyard!
Fence: Ply Gem
- Height: 6ft
- Color: White
- Material: Vinyl
Pavers: Belgard Catalina Grana pavers with borders
- We went this route instead of concrete because they are easy to replace if one gets damaged.
- They were made and laid to be just as smooth as a slab of concrete.
- They end up costing the same amount as concrete in the end because they don't crack and weather the way concrete does
- They look really nice!
- This was the longest part of the remodel.
Lawn: Artificial and Real
- We got gopher wire put down on both! This was essential given we had a HUGE gopher problem before.
- We divided the yard into two sections, artificial grass with real. We couldn't afford to do the whole yard with artificial turf, plus both my husband and I have fond childhood memories of playing in the grass and running around. Especially in the summer when the sprinklers would come on!
- For the turf, we had gopher wire laid down as well. From what I researched, gophers will still try to dig their way up. I didn't want to risk our turf potentially being damaged, so we had it installed underneath as well.
- We also had layers of padding put in underneath the turf. Since the kid's play structure would be here, we wanted that extra security for them.
- This was provided through our contractor. We had it installed around the perimeter of the bike path and uplighting installed at the base of our trees.
Please note that with summer approaching there is a high demand for sand tables and play structures right now.
Storage & Sanboxes: