Round Back - Before and After

I am struggling to think of what I should call the view of the backyard.  Not curb appeal - no curb.  Whatever you call it, I feel it is important to the overall look and feel of the house.  But, like everything in our house, the backyard is a work in progress.  We've spent a lot of time since finishing the addition on remodeling our backyard, and I'll post about those recent changes shortly, but I thought it might be helpful to first post about how far we've come!

We're going way back with these pictures to the day that we put the bid in on the house when we were very young - just over 8 years ago in 2002.

It's a little bit hard to tell but there was a huge clothesline that stretched from one side of the yard to the other.  This thing was a beast in every way with metal poles cemented into the ground with HUGE cement blocks (like 3' cubes!).  There was also a half-dead tree of uncertain descent in the middle of the backyard.  Because the house was previously owned by a 90 year old woman, the yard had not really been maintained in recent years and the gardens had become way overgrown.   My dad and Jim took both the tree and the clothesline down the first weekend we lived in the house which opened up the yard for a lot possibilities.  It would take 8 years to fully realize those possibilities though!

We tore out most of the plantings across the back of the house and put in a patio (set in sand).  Eventually we also replaced most of the mishmash of metal fences in the yard with a beautiful custom cedar fence which I had seen in a magazine. This picture was taken recently so you can see how the fence has weathered in nicely.

Here's a picture of the backyard just before the addition.  You can see a small part of the patio and the small fenced area around our exterior basement stairs.  The preformed cement stairs to the back porch were a huge eyesore but we knew the addition was coming so we chose to ignore them.   

In January 2009, we broke ground on our house-doubling addition.  It was a huge process but generally a positive experience which I really enjoyed.  The result is gorgeous and we are so proud of it.

When we started working with our architect, Kaye Orr, I was adamant about not adding a box onto the back of my brick box house.  I wanted something with style and that would stand out.  I gave her a pile of pictures and directed her to a few nearby houses that we liked.  We went through many iterations and made loads of changes to the plans (and a few window placements during framing), Some may say that the only people that get to enjoy the back of the house are the neighbors, but I think it was well worth the added time and effort.  We certainly love the result.