My Backyard….Let Me Show You It

04/18/2011 By Shawn Burns

It’s been a long time coming, but the backyard is finally finished. It’s not a big space, but I think we’ve managed to do a lot with it. And by “we” I mean my landscaper and his cousin. I am more than happy to give referrals to anyone on the San Francisco Peninsula who needs a good landscaper.

First, a reminder of the before:


Overgrown with weeds, a bush that served no purpose beyond catching lemons that fall from the neighbour’s tree, and a wildly growing peach tree perfect for poking at children’s eyes.


An air conditioner unit just sitting there against the back wall, and a garden shed full of old paint and tile (and spiders) taking up a huge portion of what was left of the patio space after we expanded the house.

So…there was some stuff to do.


A step to the back yard. What a concept! You mean I don’t have to leap off out of the back door anymore?


Weeds pulled, irrigation in place for what will hopefully be something requiring irrigation instead of weeds, which somehow do not require irrigation.


A covering for the air conditioner, which also covers that window in the back so the peeping Tom’s can no longer get an eyeful when I forget that it’s there.

The finished space is….better….


The lawn is in, and the cement step was finished with flagstone. Stone-filled planters border the house and the lattice-work. Two-feet tall wooden planter boxes line the fence.


Grapevines (now in the ground, not sitting on top of the rocks) are in front of the lattice work, and will grow up to provide more covering, and also, hopefully, fresh backyard grapes someday.) The peach tree in the distance is trimmed to adult-eye level, and one of the old plants has been divided up to dot the area around it. The apricot tree provides shade. Two flagstone pathways arc out from the rear step, one to the patio, one to the side of the house, helping create a full circuit walkway around the entire house when the gates are opened.


The wooden planters sit on stabilized sand surface, away from the grass and its sprinkler heads. Each box has a its own sprinkler heads, and will soon see tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, lettuce, and herbs trying to survive under my neglect.

The shed is gone, and in its place will go a table, chairs, and the grill I’ve been using back there for the past few days. We enclosed the open end of the lattice with a gate that will give us, but not the kids, access to the hose, irrigation, and air conditioner.

All of that, and there’s still enough room for a slip ‘n’ slide back there.

Seriously, if you want a landscaper, I know a guy.