We were lucky enough to have some landscaping done in the front and back yard when we moved in. There were two corners already sectioned off with decorative brick, similar to the ones in the front. We planted two knockout rose bushes, and they've gotten really big since we put them in. Paul added a second area for a banana tree that he got from his parents' house, but it didn't survive last year's winter. We replaced it with this plant - no idea what it's called. Below is our rose bush on the other corner.
The biggest change was our patio. Originally, we had a small little patio area big enough for just our grill and a few chairs. We wanted a place to put a patio set, so Paul decided to extend the area by removing the grass, and adding pavers. I think it was a little more work (and money) than what Paul expected, but I think it was worth it. Here are some before pictures from 2010.
Paul pulled the grass out all by himself. I was useless at this point. I did help him carry the stones to and from the car - thank you very much. We laid out the pavers on the existing patio first so it was easier to transfer to the actual area. It was a puzzle, but it was worth the extra time. Once the pavers were in place, he filled the cracks with sand, wet it, then added more sand to pack it in. And this is how it looks today.
So that is our humble patio (sorry for the mess). It's not perfect, and yes, it's diffierent from the existing patio, but we worked with what we had. Now, we have a place to have romantic dinners outdoors. We actually tried eating out here the night we bought this patio set (from Walmart), but it got too windy, so we moved back inside! Romantic night fail!
This is the other side of the patio. Paul planted some oleanders and this bush in the middle, which is growing at a VERY slow pace. I don't think it's changed since last year, although Paul disagrees.
And that's our back yard. Hopefully we'll spend more time out here during the summer and actually enjoy it. How's your outdoor space looking lately?