Melanie Jeanne

Behind the Backyard

Oh. Happy. Day.

This house of ours came to us nearly perfect. The layout was exactly what we were looking for for our little clan. However, there was something missing. Like a wonderful puzzle completed over the holiday season that is missing the final piece, our house was missing it’s final piece. Our backyard sanctuary just wasn’t quite complete yet. Ok, there were other things too; like light fixtures, paint colors, a less than spectacular powder room, a fireplace needing refacing and rooms that we repurposed to meet our standards (a dining room turned lounge). But, all-in-all, the only true structural piece missing was our backyard sanctuary.

Our backyard wasn’t awful, in fact it was a perfect blank slate. It had nothing going for it and everything to gain. Though there were plants, trees and grass in the yard, it all felt very thrown together without intention and very vanilla. Oh, and there was one major thing missing … a pool. We are a family of fishies and we live in Arizona (the face of the sun in the summer), a pool is table stakes.

We moved in, we settled in and we started dreaming. In our last home we had essentially made it through half of a backyard renovation (the essential half) and put the rest on hold for this home. We were here, with a blank slate, old plans and some new additions. We reengaged in communication with Creative Environments (the company who had helped with our previous home) and the planning began.

Our designer Dustin came armed with wisdom. We had spent roughly a year planning for our other homes backyard renovation and we got to pick up right where we left off. The goal was to make this smaller backyard a mighty resort-style space. The Mr and I are both outdoorsy in the sense that given the opportunity we’d rather be out there than in here. Confined within these four walls doesn’t suit our happy. We both have always wanted a home with that indoor, outdoor living space vibe and we were about to make that dream our reality.

The checklist was developed – pool, fireplace, turf, pavers, cohesive landscaping, new irrigation (puppy Duke dug right into the homes existing irrigation system) and lighting. Simple enough, right?

Next came the dollars and cents of it all. We took a moment to research costs and discuss plans with other vendors because at the end of the day this invest was a sound one, but needed to be vetted. Finally, in May, we signed on the dotted line and the journey began.

What was meant to be a 5 week project turned into a 14 week adventure. A septic tank, an overflow tank and broken active sewage line stalled much of the project. The monsoons impacted it quite a bit too. And then there were the expected scheduling conflicts that came up during all of the other delays.

Y’all, it was worth every delay and stressful find. It was worth septic tank removals and overflow tank destruction. It was worth re-navigating our active sewage line and every moment when the door bell rang and another hurdle was presented. It was worth 14 weeks of dirt and dogs who weren’t allowed in the majority of the backyard. It was worth the dust that seemed to coat everything inside the house and the grit under our feet for the entire summer. It was worth what feels like an entire summer outdoors missed because now, now we have the ability to enjoy our resort style backyard anytime we want.

The pups now have freedom to roam. The Doodle is now able to head outside nearly everyday to dance, sing, play and get lost in imagination. The Mr can now sit and relax on the outdoor sofa and enjoy a hockey game (hell yes to the season starting last week), while fireside and smoking a cigar (if he wants). Our older girls can lounge by the pool with their friends and chat without all ears hearing them. And I can take my computer or the current book that I’m reading and just go outside and sit. We are all now able to extend our family living space to our backyard. And with the seasons changing and cooler weather upon us, it just seems that this is all just perfect timing.

We’ve got the nuts and bolts of this baby complete. We all seem drawn to our outdoor space and we are all certainly enjoying this backyard more than we have to date living here. Now we just need a bit of styling to complete what we’ve started. A rug or two, some added furniture, a green egg to get grilling and we may never come inside again.

Everyone’s welcome, the pool is officially open!


  1. Jenny

    October 13, 2018 at 12:01 am

    It looks beautiful! Makes me so excited for our back yard and pool. We are about half way there!

    1. Melanie

      October 13, 2018 at 7:01 pm

      It will be well worth it in the end. I look forward to seeing your update. 🙂

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