It seems we spend so much time doing things to the house that it needed to have it's own page.
We purchased and moved into the current house in Aug 2004. The previous owners who only lived in the house a few years, really hadn't done much with it except build a nice retaining wall in the back that separates the hill from the lawn area and a small 3' high planter wall that runs the length of the lot. This has given us many opportunities to build on.
UPDATE 07/2010: Scotty... we need more bricks!
We have made major changes to the back yard. The Koi pond has been removed and the fish have been donated to MC's mom. Between fighting the algae, constant water changes and the two high volume pumps running the filters, it just became too much. It's been replaced with a much smaller water fall and a tropical like garden area. Our electric bill immediately was cut in half!
As well, MC decided she wanted lots ofwalls up on the hill to give her more planting area up on the hill. Well, 800 bricks and many weekends later, this is how it looks now.
Here's what the house looked like in the summer of 2007. The small willow tree you see in the front yard has grown into a very large tree that is at roof level.
This is the hill before the massive brick laying project began
Now, here's a few photos of the front and back shortly after we moved in back in 2004. As you can see, the backyard has lots of room for improvement.
06/2005: P.P.P. -- Palms, plants and Pain-in-the-back
We decided we wanted the backyard to look a bit greener. We have this hugh hill and so much of it looks like ... just dirt. What seems like a 1,000 trips to Home Depot, Lowe's and various nursery farms, over the next year or two, we planted a few of these, a little of those, etc. It wasn't long and the we now have a ton of flowers, grasses and shrubs up on the hill.
This started another trend to sculpt a few walk ways into the hill that would make it easier to get up and down. We used some slate style rock from Mexico and things started to really look good. The jungle has started!
We also dig into the hill and added a few retaining walls up on the hill to create a number of flat areas to add planters or just a break in the landscape.
10/2004: The Koi Pond & Water fall
Sometime shortly after we settled into the Castle, MC decided she wanted to make a water fall and Koi pond. The pond has gone through a number of changes. Several years later (Jan 2009) MC started suggesting that we upsize our 300 gal pond to something in the neighborhood of 3,500 to 4,000 gals. YIKES!
The plans are drawn and I think we now understand the filtration and pumps needed for such a large pond. However, with the many jumps in water prices over the past few years and the water draught in California, I'm not too sure this will be a smart decision
Scotty, we need more concrete.
With three cars, a newly purchased BBQ island, a desire for a fire pit to sit around a socialize with friends and family, we hired a local contractor to do some major re-work in both the front and back.
We added extra parking area to both sides of the current driveway. This now allows us to easily get in and out of the cars without banging into each other. It also added a bit of style to what was a rather drab looking front curb
The same cabinet makers built us a nice insert for the home office for storage. It looks a bit more red in the photo than it really is.
The wood color matches the His & Her dual sided desk. I know I have a photo of it somewhere. I post it too