Before & After | Backyard Makeover Part I

Just in time for fall, we're wrapping up our backyard makeover!  Earlier in the summer I shared our lackluster backyard [read that post here] and today I'm super excited to share what we did to the lower level!  What we started with was a long narrow section of the yard that we avoided.  What we got were three outdoor spaces that flow cohesively from one to the next...a pathway through a bed of hydrangeas, an outdoor dining area and a fire pit to lounge around during chilly evenings.  To see how did it read below...

For years we tried to grow grass on the lower section of our backyard but to no avail, the heavy shade wouldn't allow for it.  We considered putting gravel down, but were afraid it would look too much like a driveway if we did the entire space.  Inspired by the photos I shared in this post here, we decided on a gravel pathway.  Throughout the years we've found old bricks buried in our backyard, so we used those to pave the way of our gravel path.  To add some character we decided on a winding design.  

Once the general layout was established, we knew something needed to be added to the new garden bed in front of the boxwoods.  I LOVE hydrangeas and this was the perfect spot to put a plethora of my favorite blooms.

Now, this is the part where I get really excited!  We've got this brick paved pathway, the vision is starting to take shape, but at this point, we still hadn't decided on what the gravel will transition too.  We love the idea of grass, but again, grass won't grow.  And the thought of gravel all the way to the table area, seemed like a whole lot and would make the space feel a little more modern than we wanted.  We LOVED the idea of a brick patio, and with me loving old and wanting it to coordinate with the brick pavers on the path, we decided we'd buy reclaimed bricks to create a patio for the table area.  Now, those things aren't cheap!  We did a ton of research, looked on local craigslist and were in the midst of deciding what to cut to make the budget work, when our Fairy God-Mortar showed up.

To give context to who this lovely lady is, she's our real life Atlanta Fairy Godmother.  When Brian and I moved to Atlanta, we didn't know a soul.  She's one of Brian's co-workers and took us under her wing, so to speak.  In fact, she gave me my first paying job in Atlanta, encouraged my love of antiques (her home is to die for), she even gave Brian and I the extra nudge we needed to adopt our first dog, she herself fosters rescues!  She came to our wedding, spoils our kids and has been such a huge blessing to our life in Atlanta.  So, L if you're reading this (which I know Brian is making you), know you're amazing and wonderful and awesome and we don't tell you nearly enough!

Now, back to backyard.  In chatting with L at work, Brian mentioned we were working on our backyard makeover and we were going to buy old bricks for a patio.  Bricks you say?!  As a matter of fact, L just so happened to have a ton (and I mean a ton) of old bricks that she had in her backyard that she was looking to get rid of.

YES please!

One u-haul truck and a Saturday later we had the bricks in our possession and I got to work laying a herringbone patio.

Once the patio was laid, (truth be told, the border bricks still need to be cut) we got to work on the fire pit.  We decided grass would be great for the kids, and with the money we saved from L's bricks, we decided to sod that area.

River rock from our local garden center was the final choice for the pathway, and string lights were added over the brick patio.  I've got a whole lot more photos to share, but in the meantime wanted to show you how we made three outdoor spaces flow together on our lower section of our yard!

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