Earlier this year we had talked about going to Europe. We thought it would be lovely to drink Belgian brews and then hop over to the Netherlands to see the tulips. And then we said, “NAH, who wants to see a bunch of flowers that are only in bloom for a few weeks? LAME.” And that beer? Why would I travel to a beautiful, historic, European city just to drink the beer?! That’s ludicrous. We can buy all the Belgian beer we want from the grocery store that is 1/2 mile from our house.
We would MUCH rather spend our hard-earned money on a stone wall in our backyard. Yes, yes, yes, a wall would bring us much more pleasure than immersing ourselves in European culture for a week. Things > experiences… am I right?!
So, yeah, this wall was not something we wanted to drop serious coin on…. but it required enough coin that it prevented us from a week-long European vacation. Not that we are bitter about it or anything.
It took a few months to not hate The Wall of Europe (yes, the retaining wall has a name). To Wall were all like, “Oh yeah, Wall, it’s so great having you.” But behind Wall’s wall we talked so much crap, like Mean Girls style. The Wall was Cady and I was Regina George’ing it. But of course, the Wall’s true beauty came out and it totally transformed our once unusable jungle. I mean, if we are being honest, the rotten railroad ties weren’t exactly holding up….
….No, the wood was decaying and this wall kind of had an important job to do. Like hold up foundation that our decks are built on. Not that this was going to collapse at any moment, but by last fall it was looking like me unbuttoning my jeans after a big meal.
We hired Agape Retaining Walls to build us a stone wall that would give the support and make our backyard more useable. If you are in St. Louis and need a guy, Sean from Agape is awesome. And if your project can wait until the landscaping off-season (October-February), then I would encourage you to be patient. The benefit is you will most likely get a better deal and (weather permitting) the job will get done even faster because they have fewer projects going on.
Another suggestion – if you have a dog(s) and you maaaaaybe have allowed the dog(s) to use the backyard as its personal toilet you might want to do a clean up before the Contractor comes over to give you an estimate. Otherwise, the Contractor may step on a doggy-land-mine and then you will be embarrassed and feel terrible but have to continue talking like nothing happened. Awkward.
Good thing Sean is a very patient kind person who agreed to take on our job. His crew dug a massive trench which made me see exactly why we did not DIY this project. If Dean and I had attempted this, I can tell you right now it would have been the greatest marital test to date. Here’s the view looking down from the deck…
We lived with a mud pit for a few months until Harpo gave us a huge bag of grass seed. In March we planted the seed which I did not do a great job of on the first go around. I was a little chintzy with it and then realized I was being Harpo because what the heck else was I saving the grass seed for? I made a few more rounds and used up the rest to avoid bald spots. We covered it up with straw to trap in moisture and crossed our fingers that the grass would grow (so we wouldn’t have to pay for sod). We also planted six arborvitae trees along the back fence because once all the overgrowth was cleared out our backyard was wide open for all the ‘hood to see. Not that anything is going on back there, but Chuck and B like some privacy when they are doing their business. And we are here to accommodate our precious little dummies.
We want to build a fire pit in the back, a little off the concrete patio. That is on the summer project list, amongst other things. For now, we like sit on The Wall, drink a beer and pretend we are in Belgium. Cheers.