I thought that I’d share some photos of our backyard that is currently under construction. As you may have heard, we bought a new house last spring here in Napa and we are slowly but surely getting settled. It’s a perfectly symmetrical, colonial white house that is pretty unique and not very typical of Northern California. We loved the house from afar, so we jumped at the opportunity when it finally came on the market. I’ve dubbed it the #prettywhitehouse if you’d like to follow along on my Instagram page for more updates.
The house is in pretty good condition on the inside but isn’t our style, so over time we will get to all the fun projects like a new kitchen, bathrooms, etc. Our first priority upon moving in was the backyard. The house came with a nice large pool out back that took up almost the entire space except for a narrow 3 foot sidewalk all the way around the pool. There wasn’t even space for our outdoor dining table! Not to mention the safety factor with two young kids in the house. After weighing all our options, we decided to remove the pool in hopes of creating a nice safe backyard that can be used all year round. Plus we have something like eight pools in the neighborhood that we already have access to. Once we’re finished, we’ll have a nice gas fireplace with benches to allow for flexible seating, a lounge spot in the shade with custom built-in seats with cushions, a separate patio dedicated to dining, and a really cool playhouse for the kids thanks to some awesome Pinterest inspiration! The photo above is a before shot of the backyard on our final weekend with the pool!
And here is the crew hard at work on demolishing the pool. I have to say the excavation was fascinating. They basically tear up all the concrete into rock sized pieces and then they brought in no fewer than ten semi-trucks full of dirt. Pounding down the dirt and getting it wet and adding more. Over and over until the backyard looked like this.
We pulled permits for the project and the excavators did several soil tests to make sure that we won’t have a sink hole one day. I was so impressed with these guys and we all enjoyed watching their progress out the back windows. My little boys may have died and gone to construction zone heaven!
So now comes the fun part…the new backyard! This is the start of the gas fireplace and adjacent benches. I designed the fireplace to be simple and modern and opted for Napa rock on the facade and concrete on top of the benches. Behind this structure, we are planting Carolina Compactus trees that will give us a nice hedge all year round for privacy from the neighbors and to hide that ugly fence. We have six different styles of fences here at the new house. SIX!!! Who picks six different styles of fence? Ugh! The designer in me is on a mission to camouflage some of them!
Inside the fireplace is a herringbone brick, which will eventually be painted black. And I have a really cool insert coming for the fireplace that has grey concrete balls all stacked up in a row. It might be my favorite design element of the new backyard!
In front of the fireplace will be a large red brick patio laid in a herringbone pattern. Here’s a sample of the red brick that I selected. It’s a nice muddled red brick with lots of white and grey in it. This is probably my second favorite element of the backyard!
Here’s the large patio in the works. All of the existing concrete and stairs will also be paved in bricks. And there was some pretty substantial dry rot on the siding of the house due to neglect, so that has all been replaced and a new paint job will make the house as good as new! More to come in the next few weeks as they get the patio completed and start laying down sod. I hope you’ll follow along for more progress!