Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Backyard relaxation

Deciding what to do with our backyard has not been easy. Every year we add a piece to the puzzle- which I believe is almost finished.

When we bought the house in July 2007, the entire yard was used as a garden. This is very common in St. Leonard. Many residents are of Italian origin and their yards are filled with tomato and zucchini plants. 

In May of 2008 we had an extension added onto the basement which also doubled as the balcony outside the kitchen. We really wanted a space for a dinning area outside the kitchen so this balcony was the perfect solution (initially there was only a staircase leading down to the yard). Also, Tony desperately wanted a wine cellar so the basement extension became the wine cellar. 

Digging the extension

All dug up. The window on the left became the entrance into the extension.

Men hard at work!
Almost done. The opening in the brick wall on the left was a very narrow exit door from the basement. Tony jokingly call it the door for the chickens- implying that only chickens could fit through the door.
All done. This image was taken this year but you can see the result. The size is 12'x14'.

We spent the summer of 2008 enjoying the balcony but we did nothing, and I mean nothing, to the yard. So it looked kind of like this:
This is not my yard but this is what it looked like. It was overgrown and crazy. My poor neighbors!
Then during the summer of 2009 we graded (sloped) the soil and laid sod. The grading was torture! The ground was so heavy and compacted after the construction of the extension. We (Tony, myself, my friend Vanessa, and a few poor souls who unsuspectingly passed by for a visit) used shovels and buckets and carried the soil to a dumpster we rented for the project located at the front of the house. I can't even begin to tell you the pain I felt after three days of shoveling and carrying buckets of heavy clay-like soil! 

After the pain and agony of grading the soil, we finally laid sod. Here was the end result:

Tony hard at work tilling the soil.
Two of the three gardening plots.  Each plot was separated by a strip of grass to allow us to work in the garden without stepping in the dirt. (My neighbor was building a shed- that's the wood structure across the fence)

The third gardening plot. The tree is actually a fig tree.

Me enjoying the view of the yard.

Over the course of the summers of 2009 and 2010 we realized that the three garden plots were too much for us handle. We aren't quite the gardeners we thought we were. Oh, well.

So this year we cut back on one plot and we bought a.....

SPA! Oh, ya baby! 
This is where I spend my mornings, afternoons, evenings and nights. It's amazing I get anything done at all! Just kidding:)

I grew up with an in-ground pool and really missed having a relaxation space in my yard. Because we don't have the space for a decent size pool we decided on a spa. After months of research we decided to purchase a Beachcomber hot tub. Beachcombers are made in Canada and are ideal for Canadian climates. They have, as far as I can tell from my research, the best insulation which will minimize the costs in the winter- we plan on using it all winter long. We also felt they were the most comfortable and loved the fact that you can choose different types of jets- I don't like the strong pointed jets, I actually find them painful.

We went with the 360 model. Considering it's mainly  Tony and I, we didn't think it was necessary to break the bank for the more expensive models.

If you're looking for a spa I strongly recommend this consumer review site. 

Do you have an outdoor relaxation spa, pool or anything else? If so, I'd love to hear about it.

Well, I'm getting into the spa so we'll chat soon,


  1. A spa! That was like an amazing twist ending to this post. :) Hold on, we're coming right over!

  2. Anna, you're welcome to come over. Don't bother ringing the door just walk right into the yard since I'll be lounging in the spa!


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