Home Improvements – Pros & Cons

Our new home had been vacant for a month and a half before settlement. Amazingly, the front yard was very healthy looking and appeared to be well taken care of. The backyard on the other hand had been totally neglected for quite some time. It was essentially a barren, muddy moonscape, complete with a dead tree leaning towards the house. We learned from our neighbor that her husband was so upset about how the property was being neglected that he personally fertilized and watered the front lawn with his own water source to maintain the front yard. We are fortunate to have such great neighbors. Our neighbor was shocked to see the condition of the backyard, she said it was beautiful in the past. She said that the dead tree was a beautiful ornamental plum.
We tended to the essential repairs and improvements that needed to be done – the roof and the patio cover. Our next major project was to get the backyard back in good condition and to provide Judy with her new gardening space. We had the railroad tie planters installed a while ago but the irrigation system had to be replaced before the re-sodding could be accomplished. For the last 4 or 5 days, Alex and his crew from Wildomar Lawncare transformed our muddy moonscape to a beautiful greenscape complete with a new irrigation system in both the lawn area and the planting area.

CLICK on PHOTO for a LARGER image
After 14 days or so, Judy will finally have her Garden Playground! No more steep hills to climb or rocks to stumble over, finally – level ground with completely accessible planters. Judy will be busy for sometime planting and tending to all the plants she brought from Pennsylvania, and new ones from the region. Once the sod has had time to take hold, Alex and his crew will plant the Apricot and Tangelo trees in the new greenspace.
  • Fixes things that have to be fixed.
  • More efficient utilities use –  Cost Saving!
  • Provides comfort and amenities.
  • CARTER, the next door cat, may now stop using our backyard for his cat box.


  • The California Quail may now be infrequent visitors since our backyard will no longer be a “grit” source.
  • The House Sparrows will no longer entertain us with their dust baths.
  • The patio cover partially blocks the great view of the mountains from the kitchen. Judy says she can see them fine, “You’re just too tall,” she says.
  • Home Improvements COST a lot of MONEY!

Our next, and hopefully, final project for awhile will be to get the SPA in working order. It appears to be working, so hopefully it will just need some cleaning and tuning up. It will also have to be made more accessible for Judy.

When the lizards are active at 7 AM, it is going to be a warm day!



3 Responses to “Home Improvements – Pros & Cons”

  1. chris says:

    Hey Jim:
    SOD?!Why not a xeriscape?

  2. Judy says:

    Love the photos so I can share with some friends too

    Chris, How could I leave some my ‘kids’ back in PA?
    31 years of tending them made such a close bond…. esp. some dear friends gave me like Peggy Ginnivan and others that have passed

    So looking forward to trying alot of natives here

  3. Robbin says:

    OMG..the yard looks amazing!!! I love this new blog Jim and the video was just gorgeous too! I’m so thrilled to see the progress and am soooo happy for both of you.
    The little salamander is so cute and I’m glad you didn’t do what I did..I accidentally killed one a few weeks ago..not sure what kind he was, but it was an accident, I swear..still feel so bad about that little fella..he had a nice burial in the backyard though, lol.

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