Time to Get Dirty

This week was another big starting point week for us on our renovation.  On Monday our backyard landscape overhaul began!  Bear (our furry person) is just as excited as we are, can you tell?!

When we first put an offer on our house the lawns were completely dead; like crunch under your feet dead.  The sprinklers had stopped working during one of the weeks that it as over 100 degrees and no one noticed that none of the plants were getting watered because the home was vacant, so all of the lawns and many of the other plants around the yards died or are very close to dying.  We had a landscaper friend of ours bid a new sprinkler system for the yards, front and back, as well as new lawns during the Inspection period portion of our escrow so we knew it was going to cost us a minimum of $10,000 going into it. We also knew that we wanted to add a pool.  That “simple” idea has now turned into a full blown yard renovation project that we jumped into with both feet this week.  Literally, with both feet because the yard is completely torn up and you can’t get around the dirt without walking through it, see?!

 

We also met with our Pool contractor for the first time on Monday!  That was super exciting and I can’t wait to see what he draws up for us (though I’m not looking forward to the price it’s gonna cost LOL!).  As with most of the projects we do, the original pool plan has already changed like 3 times and we haven’t even had the plans drawn up yet.  The planning and designing process of renovation often goes through a LOT of changes from first thought to final product and for me that’s the fun of it!  There’s usually a ton of different ways to do something, and figuring out what’s best for the space is like a big puzzle and coloring book smashed into one.  Our landscaper helped us get a better feel for his suggestion of the pool placement by spray painting an outline of the pool onto the ground.  That helped a ton to be able to visualize how the pool would fit into the space.  Sometimes talking through design isn’t enough to help you make a decision. If you’re a visual person like me, you have to measure it out and actually see how it will all fit before making a decision.

(You can’t see the whole pool outline but those painted lines are the edge of the pool closest to the house.  Yup, we’ll be cutting into the concrete to make it the size we want and to have a better fit and shape for the yard.  More work but it will be a much better result.)

Whoever designed our yards originally put a lot of thought and care (and money) into the yard.  Cement planter beds line the backyard and are full of excellent soil.  There’s also a cement mow strip under 90% of the fence which keeps the wood from touching the dirt and allows less critters to get into our yard.  They also put a lot of irrigation in, but unfortunately time has run it’s course on the irrigation system, so we’re replacing all of it.  The good part about replacing all of the irrigation is that the new system will be much more efficient for the plants and grass that our landscaper will be installing.  So this week, that’s what our landscaper has been working on so far.  He’s ripped out all of the old sick and dead plants that were around the edge of the backyard, as well as saving those that could be saved to use elsewhere.   He’s been removing the old irrigation lines making room for brand new irrigation.  He’s also spent a good amount of time helping us to plan out the new design for the yard, listening to our ideas, (vetoing some of my husbands overly creative ideas lol) and helping us come up with the best design for our space.

(This crazy jumble of pipes will be a lovely new irrigation system someday soon.)

At the beginning of the week our backyard looked like this, prior to any work being done:

You can see all of the plants around the edges of the yard, those are now gone.  The “grass” is still there, or at least it was when I left the house this morning, but I expect it will soon just be dirt as well.

As of this afternoon the backyard looked like this:

Less plants, more dirt, dirt, dirt.  But eventually there will be new planters, beautiful healthy plants, a huge sprawling lawn and a pool!  We decided to dig into (ha ha, I’m punny) the potential this yard holds since it was the potential of this yard that drew us to this home I am so excited to watch it become what it will be.  It’s a big dirty job and someone’s got to do it, so I’m glad we hired a landscaper!

 

CalBRE # 01984572

I’m a full time wife, mom and Real Estate Agent and I blog about the real dirty honest stuff about renovation; like what living through a house being torn apart is actually like, the real costs of upgrading, DIY vs hiring it out, etc.  If you like what you’ve read, follow this blog to receive an email with each new post!

The “Discover What’s Missing In Our New Home” Game

We moved into our new house one week and one day ago. There are still about half a dozen boxes or so that need to be unpacked, which I’d say isn’t too bad considering the kids started school last week and we both work full time. Pictures and art still needs to be hung on the walls but the house is functional, for the most part.  One “fun” thing we’ve been doing this week is playing the “Discover What’s Missing In Our New House” game. Now as mentioned before we downsized by almost 1000 square feet so I’m not talking about size that’s missing. Rather this game is about discovering the things you expect to be in a home because they were in your previous home and in most homes but you soon discover when you go to use it that they’re not in your new home.  Simple game, really “fun” lol.

As a Realtor I often point out to my buyers things that are missing. For instance many homes, especially new construction homes or homes that have been flipped are often missing window treatments, like blinds. Something to consider when you as the buyer are the one who will be spending the dollars on that item and they can get pricey.  Our house was no exception but that was an item we took into account.  Since we’ll be doing a bunch of renovations, including adding and moving windows in several locations, we’ve opted for the highly classy and mostly functional but mainly cheap peel and stick paper blinds for our bedrooms for now and everything else is blind free for the time being.

I know you’re jealous of my gorgeous paper shades, don’t act like you’re not lol.
One of the items we noticed missing during our fun game is towel bars. One of our three bathrooms was staged while it was listed and it has a towel ring and towel bar, the other two main bathrooms, the master and our kids bathroom have none! And I didn’t even notice until I took my first shower! Seriously a rookie mistake and I’m no Rookie! So for the past week our bathrooms have looked like a locker room with towels laying wherever they happen to land. Towel bars were not something I planned on purchasing right away since we don’t plan to remodel our bathrooms until later on down the line, but unless I wanted to feel like I was getting ready in a locker room (though my husband would probably appreciate being snapped with a towel), towel bars, rings, hooks were a necessary expense. So I went and purchased towel bars and rings and they’ve been sitting on the counter for the past 4 days lol, so my bathrooms still have towels on the ground, but a least we’re half way there.


I know you all want my beautiful blue sea shell sink and counter. It’s the newest trend, didn’t you know? 😉 Thanks 90s for your rockin laminate style.

Another item our game made us aware of was doorstoppers. No joke, not a single door in my entire house has a stopper on it. That probably should have been my first purchase because my kids are not the most gentle of door openers so I may end up patching some walls as well. So yeah, those are on my “must get” list and will be installed this weekend.

Look! There’s even a hole where the stopper goes but no stoppers, anywhere, in the whole house. Oh well, cheap fix.

The absolute worst discovery during this fun game this week has been the discovery of no Internet. Ok maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, we can get Internet services, we just don’t have any yet. But people I’ve been without the internet for over a week now, OVER A WEEK and I’m a Realtor. A lot of my work needs to be accessed online and working from my phone just isn’t cutting it. Why do you have no internet you may ask? Well, I called our previous internet provider only to discover that they do not service our new area. So I arranged with another provider who told me I should be able to set it up on my own and then they could activate the service. Later that day as I’m connecting all the parts and wires and I call to activate I’m told my equipment isn’t supported by their system. Day 1 of internet frustration. Day 2, I head to the store buy myself a fancy shmancy new modem and router and get them all set up only to realize I’m missing the main cord I need to connect it to my cable connection. So back to the store I go. I call to get it activated after I’ve set everything up and they can’t find my cable connection. So they suggest I plug it into another outlet, which is in another room, which is NOT where my computer will he set up. Yeah, no, that’s not going to work. Day 3, I call back and finally get the company to set up an appointment to send out a technician to get it all set up. What they actually said was “due to self installation failure, we will send out a technician”. Today is that day, day 5, two days since that call and the technician is currently climbing through my attic and under my house trying to run the correct cords so I can have internet. Yeah I’m pretty sure there was no way I would have succeeded at self installation lol!!!  So while I sit here and wait for the wonderful miracle of the internet to be installed in my house, I’m tapping out this post with my index finger on my phone screen, now that’s dedication to this blog if you ask me.

So if you’ve moved recently or you plan to move soon I’m sure you’ll be playing the “discover what’s missing in our new home” game too. I’d love to hear what fun things you discover! And if you’re out looking for a new home, keep your eyes peeled (random note, that’s seriously the weirdest quote ever) for those things that you’ll need to spend money on right when you move in. You might be surprised what you don’t find!

CalBRE#01984572

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