Woo Hoo – it’s finally here. Fall has come to the desert and I am so ready. For Tucsonans this is a big deal. Huge. We are finally done with triple digit temperatures and this is the time of year when our town really comes alive.
It’s time for NFL and University of Arizona football (go Cardinals and Wildcats); tailgate parties; hiking and yoga in the park; fire pits and backyard barbecues; fall planting and decorating for Halloween.
It’s time for apple and pumpkin picking at Apple Annie’s and getting lost in the corn maze.
And it means fall baking – apples, pumpkin and cinnamon galore.
Fall also means nights under the stars in a warm jacuzzi, long evening walks with the dogs and maybe, just maybe, boots and sweaters (although we never put away our flip flops here in the Sonoran Desert).
Where ever you are on this glorious planet of ours, I hope you enjoy a glorious and bountiful Fall. And if you get the chance, come visit Tucson. It’s gorgeous this time of year.
After five weeks of demolition and construction we are finally done with our backyard remodel and couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out.
This backyard shouts “party over here!” It’s a perfect place to entertain during our beautiful desert nights – and just in time for the summer solstice.
We kept the furniture simple and comfy and used colorful Talavera accent pieces and pottery to decorate with. Our style is a bit ecclectic – Buddah and Buddhist prayer flags share space with St. Francis and pagan gods and goddesses.
The dogs are certainly enjoying their new surroundings too.
And when the sun starts to set, its adds a whole new vibe to the place.
Here is a before and after shot. We enjoyed many years in our “before” backyard and are looking forward to many more in our “after”.
Troy and I love quiet mornings on our patio. Chai tea for me, coffee for Troy, puppies playing and birds chirping in the shade trees under a stunningly beautiful blue Arizona sky. No shit, that’s how the mornings are around here for most of the year. Totally zen and pretty much heaven. A perfect place to write, read, nap, do yoga and eat breakfast.
But for now that peaceful little scenario has been shattered. It’s noisy, dirty and dusty — on steroids. The dogs think rolling around in the dirt is a competitive sport and every time I turn around they are dragging bits of debris inside. There is dirt in every corner of the house and it’s wreaking major havoc with our sinuses.
On the plus side the walls and seating have been built and stuccoed; the fire pit is almost finished (and looks amazing) and the whole yard is shaping up like we envisioned. Things are progressing on schedule and (for the most part) we’re staying within budget.
I think we are going to make it through this project with our sanity intact and I’m still convinced the mess is going to be totally worth it.
Week 1 of our backyard remodel is finished and a lot of progress has been made. The grass has been cleared, trenches dug and block for the seating and retaining walls has been delivered and is ready for installation.
Holy cow – I knew this remodel was going to be a messy process but I totally underestmated how messy. Keeping six dogs clean for the next three weeks is going to be impossible. With all the dirt and dust tracking in to the house my vacuum has become my best friend.
And even through the mess and dirt things are beginning to take shape. Watching our vision emerge is a lot of fun and it will totally be worth it in the end.
There is a major backyard re-do underway at our house. We spend a lot of time in our backyard and want to create an outdoor living and entertaining space we can enjoy year-round.
When we bought the house in 1997 our needs were different. We installed a large grassy area for our kids to run around and play in and that grass served us well for many years.
Here are some photos of our backyard in 1998 when after we laid the sod and planted the trees.
Newly laid sod in our backyard in 1998
However, it takes a lot of precious water and a huge amount of maintenance here in the desert to keep the lawn green, healthy and vibrant. I’m talking a shit ton of maintenance. And seriously, who wants to mow that much grass? It is so not fun mowing in the summer months when the temperature regularly passes the 100 degree mark and lands in the hundred and teens. And don’t even get me started about the mosquitos during monsoon season. Ugh.
And so, 19 years later, the time is right to build a new backyard in the style we’ve been dreaming about for a while: a mix of Southern California/Santa Barbara/hacienda courtyard with Mexican, Spanish and Mediterranean influences.
Elements include an extensive brick patio, built-in seating, fire pit and textured retaining walls. We’ll add a large market umbrella for shade, Talavera tile and pottery, and dreamy and subtle lighting for when the sun goes down.
We’ll be keeping the jacuzzi, all six existing trees and planting colorful (and drought tolerant) plants such as bougainvillea, lantana, rosemary, statice and more.
Stay tuned for updates on the progress as we build our new dream backyard.