It has been 2 years since we started working on the backyard and with all other updates about the garden this one begins a few years late.
This is how a part of the backyard and it's main centerpiece (the pool) looked on the day of the move in. You don't see the dead lizard that was also floating in there !
The pool was what people in the trade called a "liner pool". It was 38 * 17 ft (approximately) and about 14ft deep on the deepest end and occupied the pride of place in the backyard.
One of the first things we agreed upon right away was that we should get rid of the pool, and the events that happened in the next few days just expedited the process. I realized fairly soon that the pool pump was running constantly trying to replenish the fast evaporating water. Being the penny pinching self i proposed that we turn off the pump because we were going to get rid of it anyway. And voila....one morning we woke up to see that the liner had developed cracks (thanks to Mr. Sun) and almost all the water had magically vanished. I was elated that we don't have to rent a submersible pump to pump all that water out !
Later, Guru explained that things aren't all that good and i was just not seeing the BIG picture....we could have foundation issues if all that water was going to unsettle our foundation structure. Well, nothing ominous happened and thank god for that !
After spending the full summer trying to figure out pricing from contractors and the like, we decided on going with one of the guys who gave us some free fill dirt (from a construction site he was digging nearby, that we found on Craig's list). This was our first big project (and we did it with all the permits and by the book) and we were pretty much running against time to get it done before the rains showed up. In all this, we missed reading the finer details on his scope of work.
After all the pool work, the guy said he would just remove the asphalt on the driveway (as per his contract) and not the base rock that was underneath the asphalt ! So we were left with 5-6 truckloads of base rock kind of junk debris that he claimed would cost us close to 5 grand to get rid of.
After bidding adieu to the guy and vowing never again to use him, we decided to let that base rock lie in our backyard. We didn't have any major plans nor the money to do any work, so might as well let it be there. Ads on craig's list brought in some people who took some base rock for free during the fall/ winter of 2008.
Spring of 2009, we got some renewed enthusiasm and found another guy who offered to clean up the place for us for lot cheaper. The rains had done their part by promoting the vigorous growth of weeds all over the area.
Finally in Spring/Summer of 2009 we had a clean backyard to start working