Cleaning up our outdoor spaces

We moved into our new place in July, and the couple who lived here before us NEVER used the outdoor spaces. Crazy right? There is a nice sized back yard and a cute front patio area. At some point someone planted stuff but after 3 years of zero upkeep everything was overgrown and out of control. My landlord, who lives out of the country, was here for 2 months and was at the house often cleaning up the outdoors and making repairs. He basically took everything out and left us with a dirt yard and a clean slate. He told us we can do whatever we wanted to the back yard. I have never really done much gardening before except for herbs and carrots, so I have no idea what I am really doing, but my husband and I love having our friends over and hanging out outside so we really wanted to make an effort to make our back yard usable and to look nice. I forgot to take before pictures so what I have are photos from one of our summer barbecues that just happened to capture parts of the backyard. Here's what we did.

Our cute little sea foam green house. Inside the fence is our front patio area.

The back yard. There was ivy all over and and lots of beautiful green.

The walkway was non existent due to the over grown plants and flowers. Notice the pine tree branches? We had to duck under them as we came up the stairs. Our landlord trimmed a bunch of the branches to give us more light and to let us have more yard since the shade from the tree basically killed all the grass under it.

If that girl wasn't in the way you would be able to get a better look at the over grown plants and flowers along the fence. :) Note the over grown pine tree branch. No more!

This is how our landlord left the yard. No more green. :(  Didn't expect him to take out ALL the life in our yard!

We have to do some leveling and in the spring we are going to plant grass.

He left piles of old bricks and broken slabs of various stone surfaces for us to do what we want with. At some point we will move whats left.

We wanted a walkway so these pieces were perfect for that. We would have probably spent a lot more time on this and rented the proper equipment but hey, we don't own the house.

The finished walkway and garden.

We planted some zebra grass and daisies. Just need to get some more mulch to make it look even better. Also going to get something to fill in the walkway, maybe more mulch or small pebbles.

Here is a before shot of our front patio area. Talk about a lot of weed pulling!

This garden was FULL of rocks, so that was quite time consuming going through and sifting through all the dirt with my hands. But it's always fun to get a little dirty! :) I found a lot of large ones that were perfect for putting around the edge of the garden.

Cool design! Looks a thousand times better with out all the weeds!

Next project will be cleaning up around the corner tree the little plant bed with the rose bush. Then I am going to fill with the same mulch I got for the back yard.

Here is the patio now! I bought the table and chairs from Goodwill and used some Rust-o-leum outdoor white spray paint to give them a fresh new look! I planted a mint and lilac bush, some Walla Walla onions and whole lot of tulips and other spring blooming bulbs. I cant wait to see how this garden will look in the spring!

We still have a lot of work to do but I am so happy with our progress so far and have really enjoyed working on our outdoor spaces! :)