How I Turned My Backyard Into   The Perfect Outdoor Sanctuary
fire pit in backyard with orange seating

How I Turned My Backyard Into The Perfect Outdoor Sanctuary

Contents:

Materials

Designing the layout

Purchases

What we did

Getting help

Maintenance

How we use the space

When I first moved into my house almost two years ago the backyard was a complete disaster. I live in Miami, and we have frequent storms and hurricanes, to which our backyard was most definitely affected. We have a Mango tree, that had been split in half from the strong winds of our last major Hurricane.

This tree took up most of the usable space in the yard. For the first two weeks, after we moved in, we did not even go in our yard, to be honest. The one day, my brave 61 years old mother, borrowed a tree trimmer and got to work.

After a full day of trimming, cutting, and pruning our mango tree, we discovered we had this amazing space under the tree. It was all dirt, and full of leaves, trash, glass, and other debris. Unfortunately, the previous residents did not take care of the yard very well.

With a lot of hard work, we turned a disaster into a sanctuary, and I will be explained in detail how we did it, how much it cost, and what it looks like now

Costs

A breakdown of everything we have spent so far looks like this:

  • Edge trimmer:40$
  • Electric lawn mower :95$
  • Red Mulch:210$ (70$) for shipping
  • Grass seed:20$
  • Tarps:40$
  • Plywood:500$
  • Bug Zapper:25$
  • Flowerpots: 60$
  • Potted Plants: 150$
  • Solar lights :25$
  • Tiki Torches: 20$
  • Tiki Umbrella: 25$
  • Pillows: 25$
  • Screening: 30$
  • Cement: 20$
  • Laminate flooring and glue: 60$
  • Cement pavers: 65$
  • Bluetooth Speaker: 35$
  • Wood pallets: Free

Materials

The materials we used to turn our backyard in a backyard outdoor sanctuary are listed above in the costs. The plywood was for our treehouse, as well as the laminate flooring, glue, and bug zapper and tiki torches.

The cement pavers were for our outdoor dining/lounge set. As well as the wood pallets, tiki umbrella, pillows, and solar lights. We used tarps to create privacy along our back fence.

Designing the layout

After trimming and pruning our mango tree and discovering all the extra space we had to use, we were able to plan our layout. My mom went around the neighborhood to look for piles of construction debris and bulk trash, and found giant rocks and cement blocks. She then sectioned off a large area around the tree.

At that point, we did not know if we were going to buy grass sod or mulch. We had a lot of dirt areas in our yard, that were sand when you dug deep enough. We had to figure out if we wanted to use pavers, mulch, or try to grow grass in the area.

The grass area of our front and backyard was not at all even, a lot of uneven patches and unleveled ground. After we cut our grass and trimmed all the edges, my mom then used the grass clippings to regrow the bald patches and that worked!

So, after we removed all the weeds, overgrown bushes, trash, and debris from the last residence, we know had a beautiful leveled landscape. We pretty much knew at this point what we want to do with each part of our back yard.

  • We knew we want to mulch the area around the tree
  • We wanted to extend concrete flooring outside of our back doorsteps.
  • We wanted to extend concrete flooring outside of our back doorsteps.
  • We wanted seating and a table with an umbrella
  • We wanted to section off an area for a habitat for our tortoises
  • We wanted lots of potting plants, flowers, succulents, and cacti.
  • We needed privacy because our back fence was open to an alley

Purchases

Our first purchase was the hedge trimmer, lawnmower, and first set of red mulch. Mulch only last about a year if you live in a tropical, windy, and storm-prone environment as we do. We are currently on our second round of mulch, and it takes about 20 bags each time. We order it from home depot, so we can get it all at once.

We bought grass seed to fill in the yard, lots of plant pots, lots of potted plants, flowers, succulents, and cacti. We also bought tiki torches, a tiki styled umbrella, pillows, and cement pavers for our dining/ lounge area. We also bought solar lights, string lights, and got a bunch of wood pallets for free to make out benches, seating, and a table. We purchased tarps for privacy along our back fence.

For our treehouse, we bought plywood, laminate flooring, a tarp, a bug zapper, and screening. Everything else we basically found in thrifts store or we already had it, like decorations and another yard décor.

What we did

The very first thing was clearing and sectioning off the space under out mango tree. After that we leveled the ground, pulled up weeds, and put down our red mulch. My mom used pallets to make a couple of tree swings. We used tarps to make our back fence private.

Then we extended flooring from our back steps with concrete pavers. My mom mixed some cement and applied it over the pavers then let it bake in the sun. After that we sectioned off a space for our tortoises and applied rocks we found, and some leftover cement. We also planted flowers they like to eat in their habitat.

We then added a little grill for smores, and out up a few tiki torches.

Last, after the landscape was starting to really come together, my mom and my stepdad started working on our treehouse.  It took them about 4 days to complete. It was simple; the hardest part was making sure everything was leveled and secure. After the treehouse was finished, my mom found curtains, tree lights, and put some of our yoga/meditation décor in there.

Getting help

My mom and I, with my children, did most of the work in the outdoor backyard sanctuary. My ex-husband came and helped clear the yard of debris, weeds, and the branches we cut from the mango tree. My stepdad built the treehouse with my mom as his first assistant (I almost died to see his 74-year-old self on top of the roof).

We had a neighbor carry out all the extra wood and construction trash, and that is basically all the help we had.

Maintenance

Besides keeping the grass cut, and watering the lawn and all the plants, there really is not that much maintenance required. We rake the leaves from under the mango tree and sweep the concrete areas. We clean and re organize the storage room every so often. We Keep all the garden and power tools organized and that is basically it.

We make sure if we eat anything out there, all the garbage is thrown away quickly, so bugs and birds do not invade our sanctuary.

How we use the space

Since we live in a sunny year-round city, we get a lot of usage out of our backyard sanctuary. We sit out and get our daily dose of sun. We have sprinklers and water toys set up for the kids, as well as a soccer set.

We use the treehouse to work out, meditate, or just be. We also use the treehouse to have movie nights with popcorn and smores. It is great to get up early and watch the sunrise, or sunset in the evening.

Conclusion

Although it took months to make our backyard into a sanctuary the hard work really paid off. Because, now we have an extension of our home in the outdoors. We have the perfect place to do absolutely whatever we want. Living in a tropical climate where we can listen to birds sing and watch reptiles big and small show off their anti-gravity, can make you feel like you are in another world.

I can send my kids out to play, and feel safe that the entire house is gated, and the entire are front to back has been landscaped, so there is nothing them to get hurt on.

It is wonderful to have a place to receive guests, without being cooped up in the house. We can have meals outside or even just an afternoon tea. We decorate the treehouse for every holiday, and that makes it very special, especially for my 3 kids. It is very lovely to have a haven, a place to be one with nature.  I hope this inspires everyone who takes the time to read this, to work on their outdoor spaces to create your very own backyard sanctuary as well.  

Connect with me by visiting my contact page and social links. Leave me a comment and let me know what your thoughts are on this topic. I look forward to hearing from you, until next time, XO

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artofselfcaremiami_svha1q

From the San Francisco Bay to Miami Beach, I can't live without sunshine and the ocean. I am a single mom of three amazing children. I am raising them to think out of the box, and I want tom inspire others to do the same. my passions are self care, self development, wellness, minimalism, Hygge, Feng Shui, Yoga, mantras, mudras, manifestation and The Law of Attraction. I am a writer, blogger, digital media curator and I have studied business in college. I am on a journey to self discovery and exploring all the ways to live a healthy and fulfilled life in alignment with my goals and destiny. I currently reside in the beautiful city of Miami and the ocean is my happiest place.

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