Monday, March 29, 2010

Worth the Wait

When my husband and I built our house 8 1/2 years ago we made the choice to spend our money on permanent features and eliminate virtually anything that could be added later. This meant no kitchen island or butler’s pantry, no air conditioning (for two years), crown molding, bead board or wainscoting, no driveway, landscaping, patios or sidewalk, no built-in cabinets, finished basement or gardens. The outside of our house looked like this the day we moved in - not a blade of grass, bush or tree, and no hardscaping to be found.

I mentioned in an earlier post that my husband is quite handy and talented when it comes to projects around the house. I wanted to share a few of the many incredible outdoor things he has accomplished.

Retaining walls were the first project on the list as they were necessary to hold back the hill behind the house as well as the dirt around the side of the house. The first picture below shows where we started. My husband had help on the first wall from his Dad but after that he was pretty much on his own. I helped out by carrying rocks but everything else he did.


This is what the side of the house looks like today.


Next came the sidewalk and front retaining walls. We lived for five years (yes, five!) with just a dirt path to the front door.  Below is a picture from Mother's Day 2005.  You can see we still do not have a sidewalk or retaining walls around the front light post (which also has been changed).  We have just finished planting my present - a red maple tree.


Here is a view of the front today - lots of landscaping and a sidewalk.  My husband lined the bluestone sidewalk with Belgian blocks to keep the bluestone from moving over time. We also designed and planted everything you see.



The upper patio and steps were then added. Unfortunately, I do not have a before picture of this view.  It is enough to say, however, that all that was here was dirt.



Finally, the patio behind the walkout basement was completed.


It has taken 8 years of hard work to get to this point. Since we do not own a tractor, my husband and I used only a wheelbarrow, shovel, level, and circular saw. We bought materials as we could afford them, one load of rocks and bluestone at a time. When it came time to build the sidewalk and patios, we wanted only “blue” bluestone. Each time our local supplier received a new shipment, my husband and I went and chose each piece for our projects by hand.



The overall landscaping has also been an ongoing process.  We planted grass seed in stages and then developed the flower beds and other gardens. My husband and I dug up the oak trees that line our driveway (You can see the branch of one of the trees in the picture above of what our house looks like today) from the woods behind our house. Most of the trees and shrubs are Mother’s Day presents. Instead of going out to dinner or buying a present, every year we have lived in this house I have received a new addition to our landscaping.

I obviously am proud of what we have accomplished. It has taken years of hard work to get to this point and it has definitely been worth the wait.

66 comments:

pk @ Room Remix said...

You SHOULD be proud! It looks awesome! What a great feeling that you didn't overextend your budget to do it either, but did yourself as you had the resources. Great job.

The Real Me! said...

It looks fabulous. And I can totally relate. We moved into a very "needy" house and we've been here for 11 years and it's still not completely done. We just do things as we can afford, but it does look a whole lot better than when we first moved in.

I bet you feel great about what you all accomplished on your own. I love the walkway and the patio.

Blessings,
Kim

frugal farmhouse design said...

I love your philosophy when it comes to your home. Very wise of you and your husband. My husband and I live the same way - why mortgage something you can add to a home in the future. I also have a center hall colonial style - very similar to yours. I love the way your garage is on the side, your incredible stone work and landscaping - AMAZING! All the best, Lori

ann marie said...

What a great yard! I guess one of the benefits of doing the yard over time is that you really get to know what you want and need. Enjoy!

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Just beautiful! Love the retaining wall and walkway stone you used. It is a lot of hard work ~ I know because even though our house wasn't newly built we did a lot of outside work, too. I think my muscles still carry those memories, too!

Sunshine of Seven said...

You have a beautiful home and landscaping..good things are worth waiting for! (I love the red door!)

linda said...

Everything looks absolutely amazing! You and your hardworking husband should feel so proud of what you have accomplished! Your home is gorgeous!

Maria Killam said...

Gorgeous! Your husband is truly talented! You have a house to be proud of!

Traci said...

It's beautiful!! I love the retaining walls & steps!

Living It At Home said...

Wow you guys are tough! What a project you took on. I love the result. Looks so professional. I find it hard to wait for home improvements. I guess it is worth the wait when you finally get what makes you happy. Great job and very impressive!

~jamilyn

Isabella & Max Rooms said...

Outstanding job!! It all looks beautiful and professionally done...Janell

Pine Tree Home said...

Beautiful - hardscaping and plantscaping really make it look welcoming. My husband has vision...so I let him do our yard. We've been here 12 years and its ever evolving.

Mary Beth @ Live. Laugh. Make Something said...

Fan-Freakin-Tastic! What a beautiful project! Dropping by from That's so Cheri... Hope to see you at my place!

Heather said...

I just found you and your house is so beautiful. Amazing!

Boxwood Terrace said...

I keep coming back to look at the stone work. It's amazing as is the entire outdoor space. So inspiring to see what can be done with time and DIY work.
Deborah

Boxwood Terrace said...

I keep coming back to look at the stone work. It's amazing as is the entire outdoor space. So inspiring to see what can be done with time and DIY work.
Deborah

mishebe said...

Hard work and looks fabulous!

Leanne said...

It's so beautiful. You guys have done an amazing job.

Shropshire Suz said...

Hi thanks for dropping by my blog
What a fabulous house and you should be proud a fantastic job well done loving the grey stone
Suz x

Meredith said...

Hey Stacy! Thanks so much for your comment on my blog. I am so impressed by your hard work and patience with your house! You have definitely built something to be proud of!

Http://welcometoheardmont.com

Laryssa Herbert said...

WOW! You all did a wonderful job. We are in the process of redoing our landscaping.

You won my giveaway at Shabby Chic Cottage! Just email me at: laryssa@lherbertdesings.com and let me know what prints you want!

Lei said...

Amazing transformation! It's lovely!

kayce hughes said...

Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful pictures.

Viera said...

Your husband did a fantastic job. I love all stone work.
X
V

Carrie @ Dittle Dattle said...

How wonderful! I'd be sitting outside all the time looking at that beautiful yard!

Quiet Footsteps said...

Absolutely beautiful. I'm amazed.

Cyndi said...

I know that was a long wait but WOW it looks amazing. That is a great lesson on patience!!!
Blessings,
Cyndi

Kifus said...

What a lot of hard work! It looks lovely so it was well worth it.

Have a great Wednesday!

The Hip Hostess said...

You & your husband have the right attitude. I think every home is a constant work in progress, ever changing & evolving. What a magnificent job you have done. I am also of the opinion that a Red Door just says Come on in!

Melissa said...

Holy smokes! You guys did a wonderful job!

Many Blessings,
Melissa

A Life In Focus Photography said...

love what you did. a truly beautiful home...

Mammy said...

You've done a beautiful job. I know you are proud of yourselves--and you should be. Congrats!

Jason and Jill said...

Wow that looks great! Love this! I would love for you to come link up over at my blog! I've got prizes :)
-Jill
http://womenwhodoitall.blogspot.com

Brenda said...

I am brand new to your blog...found you just today. Wow you are so talented! Thank you for sharing all your ideas with all of us! Congratulations on your home...it looks wonderful! My hubby and I also built kind of "bare bones" so we could add things we couldn't add later. slowly we are adding those much wanted items...but I think we won't be done until we have been in 10 years. lol we are on year 3 right now. I am so glad I found your blog! Thanks for taking the time to share!!!

Room to Inspire said...

Your title is correct - worth the wait indeed! You guys did an awesome job. Truly professional work...thanks for linking it up to Be Inspired today!

Chelsea

Pam @ Design Fanatic said...

Wow! What a wonderful job! Looks beautiful. That was a huge project you took on! The landscaping looks great, too.

Holly said...

It is simply gorgeous. I can only imagine the work...our yard is quite different in design but with a wheelbarrow and shovels...it has taken quite awhile.
Holly
504 Main

stefanie said...

oh, its gorgeous...looks just like one of those home and garden shows!!! love it.

Pat Harris said...

I admire all the hard work and the persistence in making your home "Your Home". It's absolutely beautiful. You have also taught your children many lessons by example in all you've accomplished.

Thank you for visiting Junkblossoms. We hope you'll visit often. Blessings, Pat

One Cheap B*tch said...

WOW! What an amazing transformation. The stonework is gorgeous - I love everything you did!

Debbie said...

You should be proud! 8 years is a long time, but very much worth it indeed! It looks fabulous! Enjoy you certainly have curb appeal:) and a wonderful backyard retreat! Have a great weekend!

Rachelle said...

Are you KIDDING? That's AMAZING! I love it!!

Rosie@Journey to Charm said...

You have every reason to be proud. That's a lot of labor and sacrifice. Boy is it gorgeous. Just fantastic.

Susan said...

I am so jealous!! You and your husband did a wonderful , fantastic job on your home!!

alwayslearning said...

wowza, think of all the money you saved doing it yourself!

Manuela@TPOH said...

Fantastic! I love it all! I do the same, always ask for trees etc for Mother's Day!

Manuela

Elizabeth (blue clear sky) said...

That scale and beauty of a project if done by a professional landscaper would have pictures of the project in their company's portfolio. But to have been completed by yourselves is a huge accomplishment. You should be very proud of yourselves.

AutumnBrooke said...

It looks absolutely fabulous!

Autumn
TheFickleHobbyist.com

The Cozy Chateau said...

Absolutely stunning!! This post was so timely for me to stumble upon as we are in the midst of designing our walkway and other landscaping (we too built our house and put off some projects - such as this one - that we could do later). I'm a new follower!
Nicole

Ann said...

FABULOUS!!! Your home is enchanting!

hello gorgeous said...

Hey gorgeous, this is a truly stunning achievement...you should be immensely proud of yourselves....Oh! to be the owner of a house like this ;o)

Happy Easter weekend

hugs

hello gorgeous xxx

Katie said...

Gorgeous! I get plants for mother's day, too. And for my birthday this year (yesterday) I asked for mulch!

simplydesigning.blogspot.com said...

What a great transformation! I love how you are working on your house little by little!
Thanks for linking up.
Come join me for my giveaway!

Wendy said...

Fabulous! You should be so proud of yourselves! This is absolutly fabulous! Love every detail! Pavers are the best :)
Wendy

Amy Kinser said...

Fantastic job! It looks so pretty.

Paula said...

We are in the middle of a huge landscaping project right now. What you and your husband have accomplished is amazing!

I'm your newest follower.

Paula

AtOneWithHim said...

I'm as green as your lawn! We bought this newly built house 4 years ago.. uugggh, it's no where near finished. Dirt dirt dirt and rocks. I hope we get as far as you did within the next 4 years. Pray.

Maryann @ Domestically-Speaking said...

You guys have done a great job on a HUGE area... it's beautiful! We're still working on our yards... we've been here 2 1/2 years and some days it feels like he will never finish.

alissa said...

Your landscaping is absolutely beautiful! I can not belive that you and your husband did the work yourself! Just amazing.
Alissa

The DIY Show Off said...

What a beautiful change! I'm so envious! Great job!

R
Ps. Can you tell I'm catching up? lol ;)

MeenyMoe said...

I am amazed and love the work you and your husband have done on your property. It looks absolutely wonderful and you can tell it has been a labor of love. What I love best, though, is that you did it with patience and didn't blow a large chunk of cash at once. By taking your time, you have created something very personal and dear to your hearts. It will last for many years to come. -Karen

AM from White House, Black Shutters said...

I love the way you approached your yard and the way you did it a step at a time is truly inspiring. As first time homeowners who inherited a yard with lots of work, there is so much we want to do right now, but realistically we don't have the tools, it's not in the budget, nor can we physically do it! Hiring someone is no where near our budget so it is nice to hear from true DIY-ers like you who put in time, hard work, and love into their yard!

Your before and after is amazing and I look forward to browsing your site! New follower! :)
-Ann Marie

Grace said...

That is a truly amazing transformation, and all done without any fancy tools or paid help. Wow!

Pacific NW Blogfan said...

Wow, that looks really awesome. Congrats!

for the love of a house said...

It turned out beautiful... certainly worth the long wait! I know this was a lot hard work, so congratulations to you and your husband!

best,
joan

Christina said...

thanks for this post. i read so many blogs where it seems that everything is perfect overnight. this post helped calm me down about my not so perfect house. i have had a half done walkway (thanks previous owners!) since we bought our home in the fall of 2008. not sure if this is going to be the year to fix it either. things take time and this post helped me see there is light at the end of the tunnel. thanks :)

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