Archive for the ‘Dreamscaping’ Category

No, not like that!

I returned from a business trip this weekend to these beauties in our backyard:

I mean, how GORGEOUS is our backyard becoming?

It’s ridiculous when you realize it used to look like this:

We’ve been wanting to put roses in our planter, but had to wait until the right time of year.  This is it.  Mr. Dreamer took full advantage of his bachelor-Saturday and planted 10 rose bushes.

And he also planted this:

An avocado tree!  Holy guacamole – how fun is that?!

In an effort to de-blah the white walls of the fence in our yard – he’s also been hard at work planting some desert favorites along the walls:

Alternating agave and torch bougainvillea. Purrrrdy!

With the grass now finally in – thanks to some sod and overseeding for winter – it’s finally all coming together.

There is one last little “blah” area.  See it there in the back, left corner?

Well, the big bougainviallea is saying adios and we’re putting in some EXCITING new additions.  They’ve been ordered and delivery scheduled the week of Thanksgiving – so stay tuned for that.

You’ll have to wait longer to see all of those rocks disappear.  We’re “holding” that area for a pool.  However, that is years of dreaming away.  For now, it will stay a blank slate – with one new fun addition coming soon… that may or may not increase our ability to enjoy smores.  More later…

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We can hardly believe our Dream is a year old!

Okay, that’s a lie.  She’s actually 23 years old.

But, she’s a year old to us.

Today, we celebrate ONE YEAR since we signed our lives away and got the keys to our Dream.  In honor of this special day, let’s look back on what we’ve accomplished in our first year:

Whew!  Now, we’re tired.  But, no rest for the weary!  We still have A LOT to do to make the Dream truly dreamy (including a tad more work on the landscaping, eh?  Hey, give us a break, the average temperature here right now is 104!).  Here are some of our future projects… which one do you think we should tackle first?:

We definitely have our work cut out for us.  Help us decide what to do next!

Thanks, hopefully we’ll get to all of these projects in year 2 of livin’ in the Dream.   But now, we’re off to eat cake and toast year #1!

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For our first official post of the summer, what better topic than the backyard grill/BBQ?

Who wouldn’t dream of having a custom-built BBQ on your patio?  Nice feature, huh?  Kinda pricey though.  Unless you “inherit” the sad shell of a former such luxury with your foreclosed home, which you bought with your super-handy hubs, whose ultra-super-handy-pops is always willing to lend a helping hand.

surveying the scene

So… here’s what we started with…

Ugly.  Sad. Pitiful.  EYESORE.

So bad, in fact, we put up plywood support and duct-taped plastic tablecloths over this thing in an attempt to sheild it from view during our Open Dream Party.  It was the perfect spot to serve drinks, including this YUMMY sangria, but we would never force our guests to see the extreme DIY home improvement project that awaited us underneath.

But once we did have the time/energy to tackle it – we think the results are quite impressive!

Here’s how the Dream boys got ‘er done:

filled a gaping hole in the back with recycled pavers we found in the backyard

the hole in front was measured, cut and filled so that our existing grill would be a perfect fit

after the el-crappo tile on top was removed.... the surface was re-enforced with plywood and Dura Rock

new tile went on that surface like a breeze

it took just a couple of hours to set and grout

after a little paint to cover the new stucco (DIY) job...

voila! the eyesore is now quite nice to gaze upon

The BEST part?  The entire project, which the pro’s would charge thousands to do, cost us less than $150.  Here’s how:

Mortar = $6

Bricks/Pavers to fill holes = Free!  Recycled from ones we dug up on the backyard

Plywood/wood = $19

Dura Rock = $16

Tile/grout = $90

Paint = already had

Grill = already had

Labor = FREE!

Total cost = $131

Yep, you can color us happy and know that we’ll be enjoying many a grilled meal in the future.

Happy Summer!

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So, Mr. & Mrs. Dreamer – the two people who feed us SCRUMPTIOUS kibble twice a day – are outside working on something, so the Bulldogs are taking over this blog.

your guest bloggers for the day, Paris and Bowdoin

You can read more about how awesome we are here.

As you can imagine, this whole “Dreamscaping” nonsense totally rocked our world.  We had already spent several months peeing and pooping all over the backyard – making sure every inch was designated Bowdoin/Paris territory.  Then, this crazy “bobcat” invaded…

Dad calls it a "bobcat"...

…but there’s no way in the vet’s office that’s a cat.  I mean, we can totally take down a cat… but this sucker… (was a bit beyond our abilities.)


So, we just had to sit back and let it scoop up all of our favorite pee spots, then dump (rock) on them.


there was one incredible benefit to having this “cat” in the backyard.  It’s big paws churned up the BEST DIRT PIT EVER.  It provided endless good times…

for wrestling...

for playing "where's Paris?"...

what did you say?

I know, I know. I look like a beached whale. Shut UP!

we got our tongues...

and our noses caked in dirt.

In other words, it was AWESOME!

In fact, we’re kind of sad that it’s all cleaned up now – and so are we.  No more dirt pit meant the dreaded trip to the groomer for us.  BOO!  Stinky is so in right now, someone needs to explain that to our owners.  Anywho, we’ve about exhausted our word-base, so we’ll sign off for now, until some other crazy project rocks our world and we feel compelled to bully into the blog again.

'nite 'nite!


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Any idea what weighs 45 tons?  Hmm… let’s ask Google that question…

this GE switcher/4-axle diesel locomotive...

this whale, who had an unfortunate run-in with a cargo ship...

the crane that took out this house (yikes!)...

and (of course) the world's largest time capsule...

So, perhaps that puts into perspective the “Dreamer Load” dumped on our yard…

these two piles represent about half of our load

That, my friends, would be 45 tons of landscaping rocks.  So, why would we subject ourselves to this rock invasion?  Well, we have a few good reasons:

1) We live in the desert – so grass is not only difficult to keep alive, it requires a lot of water – which is a precious resource in these parts

2) The city we live in offers a rebate if we convert our grass into “desert-scape” that requires less water

3) Desert-scape landscaping is easier to maintain

4) We think the rocks – with some soon-to-be-added desert plants – add to the southwest charm of our Dream

So, with that decision made, we headed out on a field trip – to rock quarries – to check out the rock options.  What we found was a dizzying array of choices.  First, we had to pick a color:

(work with us here... we have yet to invest in photo shop)

Then, we had to pick a size…

size matters

We both agreed on the size, 1/2 inch screened.  Too much bigger looks chunky.  Too much smaller looks dirty/sandy.  However, we did disagree on the color.  Mr. Dreamer preferred a red tone, while Mrs. Dreamer leaned towards brown.  In the end, Mrs. Dreamer proved most persuasive and we went with Apache Brown.  It’s not the cheapest rock available – but we decided that this was a job we only want to do once and we might as well spend a bit more cash on a color we really like – instead of the cheapest one.  It ended up looking very nice and we’re quite pleased with the choice.

With that decision made, now we needed to know how much rock it would take to cover our yard.  From the professional estimates we got, we knew that 1 ton of 1/2″ rock covers 120 square feet with a two-inch depth.  But how much square footage are we working with???  To find out, we used a super-cool website, www.floorplanner.com, for free! (One “pro” offered to do the exact same thing for us for $250.)  We just walked around the perimeter with measuring tape, sketched out what we planned to do, plugged in those numbers and voila! Here’s what it looks like:

our lot is 1/5 of an acre

The brown areas are where we planned to put the rock.  This program allowed us to calculate the square footage of just that area.  Turned out to be 5,400 square feet – plug that into the earlier equation and it turned out we needed 45 tons!

So, now we knew the color, size and amount of rock needed – we just needed to pull the trigger and make the purchase.  We thought that by skipping the fancy landscaping show rooms and heading straight to the quarries, we could cut down on the cost.  We were wrong!  The average cost for the Apache Brown rock we wanted at those places was $45/ton.  So, Mr. Dreamer took to one of our favorite websites, Craig’s List, to hunt down a better deal – and we got one!  For just $33/ton – we were able to buy the exact rock we needed through an independent trucker.

we highly recommend Justin at Phoenix Materials, Inc!

Our order took two double-dump truck trips… and the delivery drew our neighbors out into the street to check it out… who doesn’t love watching big machinery at work?

Check out video of the action here.

In his wake, Justin left behind four HUGE piles for us to work with…

the tough part is about to begin

The rocker-pro’s who so willingly offered us free estimates on our dreamscaping… were going to charge us $25/ton to spread the rock.  With 45 tons, that’s $1,125!  (Yes, that’s in addition to the cost of the rock itself.)  That was a bit steep for us…  So, we managed to convince some (totally awesome) friends and family to come over and help us.  With our eight-member crew, we were able to spread most of the rock in one Saturday – and all we had to pay for was breakfast and lunch… SCORE!

But before we could spread the rock… we had to demo the yard…

bobcat vs. random brick fence eyesore

clearly, the bobcat is the winner here

the bobcat also scraped away the struggling lawn

the sections the bobcat couldn't get to had to be hacked away by hand

Once those areas were clear, the back-breaking job of shoveling and raking all 45 tons of rock into place began…

mr dreamer shows us how it's done

Not too many pictures of this phase, since all 8 sets of hands were working hard.  We were all quite impressed with what we were able to accomplish in one day!  Keep in mind that this is still in the “during” phase of our dreamscaping process… but here are some after shots of the great rock dump…

Look pretty blah?  Actually, that was our goal during this phase.  We needed to get our long-neglected foreclosed-upon yard back to a blank slate so we could start from scratch.  Next up:

the plants we selected to dress up our rocks

But first, I fear some rambunctious bulldogs may take over the blog to tell their side of the story…

huh? did someone say bulldogs?

*Rail car photo found here, Whale photo found here, Crane vs. House photo found here, Time Capsule photo found here.

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Hiya!  Remember us?  Yeah, we’re The Dreamers.  That fun couple (probably friends of yours, lucky dog) who started this blog about renovating their new home (a foreclosure) all by themselves… who then got so lost in that DIY process they stopped blogging for a whole month!  SHAME. ON. US.

But, we’re ba-a-a-a-ack!  And boy oh boy do we have some progress to show you.  Here’s a glimpse…

Yep, we’ve been sweating up a storm transforming our hideous landscaping into something, well, not so hideous.  Actually, we think it looks pretty darn good.  I mean it wouldn’t take much to improve on this:


We’ve never done the landscaping thing before.  After getting a couple of estimates from the pro’s, we thought – to heck with their several-thousand-dollar-pitches, we can tackle this puppy ourselves.  And we are SO GLAD we did.

Just to prove to you that we are serious about this blogging thing, we’re saving the good stuff for a few different posts.  Here’s a sample of what’s to come in the coming weeks:

how we handled 45 tons (yes, TONS) of rock

the demo process (mr. dreamer had way too much fun with mr. bobcat)

the bulldog's take on the process

how we transformed this ridiculous eyesore into a beautiful and functional bbq

the awesomeness of helping hands (read: free labor)

which plants we chose, why and the GREAT deal we scored

Worth the wait?  We thought so!

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Pile of Dreams

Sorry we’ve been MIA for the last couple of weeks.  VERY exciting Dreamscaping progress is taking place.  So, we haven’t actually been “missing” – just lost in our own backyard.  However, after this weekend, we may lose it.  Check out what just landed at the Dream:


…and that’s just half of it.  Srsly.  This is the first truckload of the 45 tons – yes, 45 TONS we ordered.  Please send ibuprofen our way.

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