I Built My Own Damn Deck

build-your-own-deckBack when I was single and ready to mingle, my girlfriends and I would fantasize about meeting someone special. Someone special who could build us a deck. Well, I did marry someone special but his deck building skills are negligible. And that’s being polite. He’s got his own talents, so no judgment.

When we realized deck building was not in our future, and neither was paying someone a million dollars to build a deck, I decided cement staining and pea pebbling would do the trick. I was half right.

The fact is, a coat of paint can save many a crap situation and as I got my daughter to paint our backyard fences, it became clear that should have been done years ago. But she was just a toddler years ago, so you know, you take what you can get.


Our fences were gross, yo. But now they’re pretty! So our cement staining/painting would have gone the same way, I thought. Let’s transform this cement into a fantasy backyard!

This is how it ended up.

Read More

Plants Make It All Better: Backyard Renovation Part II

diy-wtf-backyard-renovationCalifornia is in a major drought, you guys. I don’t know if you heard but you probably did because we’re all up in arms about it and are being forced to increase our Evian budgets. What this means for our yards could be dire, unless you go native and start planting succulents. Which I like anyway because I’m too lazy to water regularly.

We actually tried to plant succulents in our dirty dirt patch last fall and that’s when we discovered cement under about 2 inches of soil. This is not enough soil to actually grow anything and my favorite succulents bit the dust. The ones that lived are these super pointy ones you see in the ground that I found out I was allergic to when one jabbed me in the arm as I was carrying it into the backyard. Of course they live on in the 2″ soil. Assholes.

But when I decided to buy more I treated those purty plants to their own pots and repotted some lovely specimens in new potting soil. Voila! Read More

Kicking This Dirt Patch’s Dirty Ass

backyard-diy-failAll righty, then! This is our first DIY home project and we’re freaking doing it. We need a backyard we can use, and that won’t choke us out with dust. So here’s what went down.

We live in the hills which means 1) we’re super lucky to even have a backyard given the hilliness of everything; and 2) it’s impossible to grow anything that’s normal. I should add that those kids in that picture above are super up in that backyard and we need to make it kid-friendly. Which is why we knew we’d have to install a tether ball and work around that majestic piece of equipment. Besides, who doesn’t love to play tether ball? I’ll be honest, it gets me through the day.

After we put in bamboo flooring in our home to replace the awesome retro shag carpet that kids and a 15-year-old cocker spaniel (RIP, ELI) and a new puppy totally fucking wrecked, the dirt in the backyard started to show up right quick on our wood floors after we were hanging out in the dirt patch. And that’s when we realized we couldn’t hide the dirt patch anymore. We’re gonna’ kill that dirt patch. Read More