The backyard projects are almost complete! Landscaping is HARD work. I have a new admiration for those that spend their careers in this field. We have been working on the backyard landscaping for over a month at this point, and I am running out of oomph. Any body have a good recipe for “instant energy!?!” I need it.

I keep telling myself that I’m not getting old. I’ll be 30 this year, and it is a bit shocking. I’m still young, right!?! The answer is YES. :)  Plus, I am getting up several times a night with the baby, so that influences my attitude/energy too, right!?!

Well, the outdoor swing set area is completely done. Hip, hip, HOORAY. The kids have had an absolute blast playing out there for hours on end since we got it done.

My sexy man, Dan, installed a castle block border to surround the swing set. We chose specific blocks from Home Depot for this task. The castle blocks swirl around the area to separate the swing set area from the rest of the landscaping. The castle blocks also serve as a barrier to keep the rubber chips separate from the rocks.

 Dan carefully leveled each block individually, and then carefully glued the second layer in place with construction adhesive.

Then, with the help of some fabulous family members who were in town, we leveled the dirt area and carefully raked the rocks into piles and used the wheelbarrow to remove them. (What a PAIN!)

Next came two layers of weed mat. Weed mat prevents weeds from growing in the area that it is installed. To be safe, we laid weed mat going North to South, and when that was done, we started over and laid the mat going East to West. We didn’t want to take any chances. So we laid two layers to prevent weeds in the long run.

We carefully trimmed the edges of the weed mat to fit perfectly around the castle block border.

The weed mat is held securely in place with clips that we hammered into the ground. We learned from the start that the commercial grade clips worked much better with our hard, rock infested ground. The other, dinky clips bent immediately.

We decided to spread rubber mulch under the swing set since a friend hooked us up with about 35 garbage bags full of the stuff for FREE. Yep, I said free. The bags were headed to the dump, and instead ended up getting a new home. I may have done a fist pump after he called!

Doing jobs like this yourself may not seem enticing, and believe me, I know how hard landscaping is. But, we have saved THOUSANDS of dollars by doing these projects ourselves. Granted, you must know your own limits. I’m lucky to have a husband who enjoys landscape work. He is OBSESSED. As a result, I’m a lucky ducky woman who is THRILLED with how everything is turning out! Stay tuned for more backyard photos soon!


  1. says

    The play structure is amazing, what fun!! And yes, 30 is young indeed and I think being pregnant is just making you tired! I'm turning 50 this year, and I seriously don't feel any different than when I turned 30…well, actually I feel even better! Janell

  2. says

    Looks beautiful! My hubby and I put in 3 retaining walls about 3 summers ago on our old place and decided that we know why landscapers quote what they do cause it's almost worth paying every penny for someone else to come whip in with a crew and get it done and not have to mess with it. Having said that we still did landscaping updates on our new house last summer! It does pay to do the work yourself!!

  3. says

    Awesome! I must say I am super jealous of all the free things you acquire!!! I think those rubber chips are fantastic and I want to use them in my year too!! Can't wait to see the whole finished product!

  4. christy says

    It looks great and to get the rubber mulch for FREE—Wow! You are lucky. I looked into it years ago and couldn't believe how expensive it was. Yikes!

  5. The Yoder's Four says

    Woo-hoo! FREE rubber chips?! Wow, how lucky are you! Give me a holler if you find any more! :) It's looking great out there. Looks like you'll have the neighborhood hot spot for kids!

  6. says

    What a fun place to play! I am so very please you used rubber mulch…very safe for the kids…and the right price for anyone! Have fun with your kids! Wanda

  7. Katrina says

    You have incredible energy in my opinion! My son was born in January too and though he sleeps through the night half the time, I couldn't do most of the things you do. Inspirational.

  8. says

    Wow… that looks amazing! I'm definitely going to tuck away your tip for double weed protection with the landscaping fabric for later this spring.

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