Our backyard has gone through many transformations. This is how it looked in 2005 before we moved in:

The deck and pergola:

We lived with it as is for a couple of years. I used Photoshop to create some design ideas. This is one of my more preposterous ones LOL:

We slowly started making changes. At first, we tried to save the pergola and gave it a fresh coat of paint before we realized there was too much dry rot to keep it:

Around that same time, our fence was literally falling apart:

We hired a fence company to replace it:

After getting the fence company’s confirmation about our deck/pergola dry rot, we had them tear it all out. We were pleasantly surprised that the concrete underneath the deck was in pretty good shape (and not salmon colored!):

This was an unused overgrown area on the side of our house:

We decided to extend the fence to enclose it:

We continued the fence to the end of our front yard to give us separation from our neighbor:

With the deck gone, it left a huge height difference between the old concrete patio and the stamped concrete:

We always hated the stamped concrete texture and layout so we rented a jackhammer and Mike chipped away at it:

Video of Mike (our son imitating the jackhammer sound):

We moved the broken pieces to the side yard to be disposed of later:

Video of the cleanup:

We hired a hauling crew to remove all the concrete. Our son loved watching the bobcat in action:

Because of the concrete removal expense, I decided to stain the fence myself to save money:

It took all summer but I got it done just before the rainy season started. I actually didn’t mind the work, it was kind of therapeutic:

I also cleaned (with a pressure washer) and stained the old fence too so it all matched:

Mike also installed a bike track for our son using 24″ x 24″ concrete stones (set on top of a base of gravel and sand):

We also installed a retaining wall along the fence:

Our son got a lot of use out of his track. He loved it!:

Mike also rerouted the water faucet (that was in the middle of the yard) over to the side of the house. Then, we leveled the soil and planted grass seed where ultimately our son’s playground would sit for 5 years:

During the severe droughts of 2014-2015, we stopped watering our backyard grass (which I regret). All our grass areas turned into dirt and weeds. So it eventually led us to do another backyard project – (Backyard Makeover #2).









Fence, Redwood 183 ft


Removal of concrete and dirt


Deck & arbor removal


Step stones 24″ x 24″ x 42


Retaining wall blocks ChiselWall 4″ x 12″ x 142


Retaining wall caps ChiselWall 2″ x 12″ x 73


Plants & grass seed


Sand for stones and wall x 20 bags


Fence stain x 3


Jackhammer rental