Our Growing Vision for the Backyard.

Today we’re showing you what our backyard and pool are looking like after moving in and making some changes. Some of you already took the outside tour of what the backyard looked like while the prior owners were living here; so you’ll more fully appreciate seeing how it’s shaping up!


Clearing the way for the view.

It was literally Day 1 after closing and taking official possession of the house that I grabbed my clippers and went to town on this overgrown area.

It took waaaaaaaaay longer than expected, but it was worth it.

woman cutting down overgrown shrubs blocking view

Show me those mountains!

view of mountains over stucco wall
You can get a full tour of our backyard (before we went to town on it!)

So satisfying to see that cleared out, right?

I discovered two hibiscus bushes there, which I just trimmed back, but removed the rest of the bushes as they were completely random. Then, to the left, I planted three feijoas.

While most Americans wouldn’t recognize them, feijoas were massively common in New Zealand. We grew to LOVE them while we lived there.

So naturally, upon moving back to the U.S., I was on a mission to

  1. Find out if I could grow feijoas here, then
  2. Procure as many as possible.

They’re known as feijoas in NZ (and pronounced FEE-joe-uhs there but differently in other countries). Here in California they call the same plant pineapple guava. No matter what they’re called, I found some! The fruit comes in autumn and WE WILL BE READY!


Taking stock of the tree & plant situation.

Because the house and yards were neglected for so long, only the hardiest of plants seemed to survive. It’s been a great education on what will grow well here in this specific spot, on our little hill, in this soil, with the wind we get. We’re still learning.

Some of the finds have been wonderful, such as these birds of paradise (helloooooo fresh-cut tropical flowers in my house!) and the hesperaloe next to it.

hesperaloe plants and bird of paradise plants

(Growing WITHIN the hesperaloe are Mexican fan palms, which got there via seeds dropping from the big fan palm trees on the hillside, but that’s another story.)

We’ve also found, in addition to the two huge ficus trees we fell in love with, that we have two camphor trees by the pool:

backyard with pool and trees
Our complete backyard remodel!

(And yes, Eagle Eye, we did get that broken pool tile fixed around the jacuzzi! We were AMAZED to find someone who still had a match for that 1980s pool tile. And we’re still amazed.)

Several people have asked about that short half wall near our full property wall, wondering if it’s another seating area. No, that’s a wall that “hides” the pool equipment.


Thinking ahead.

We added a trampoline to help get out all that childhood energy that seems to come so easily to little people. Our plan is to “sink” it so those same little people are supersafe getting in and out of the trampoline.

This huge California redwood provides amazing shade at the right time of day!

large redwood tree with trampoline in foreground
3 Quick-N-Easy steps to sink that trampoline down low!

We’ve also been thinking ahead to what we’ll do with this backyard space, including the pool. So many possibilities, but we want to live with it for awhile before making any big changes.

backyard pool with palm trees
How to save some serious money on your backyard reno!

You can see a lot of the brush I cleared out above, as well as the large loquat “before” to the right, which leads me to…


Removing the loquat.

We made the decision to remove the large loquat along our back fence.

empty space where loquat tree was

It opens up the space—and the view—even more.


Working on plants, putting up umbrellas, etc.

Just generally moving ourselves in and feeling like we’re at home!

pool with blue umbrellas next to it

Even though it may still look scant, we have a growing vision for this pool area! We’ve done a lot of clearing out dead or dying plants, trimming up overgrown ones, helping the plants we want to keep, and doing some planting of new ones here and there…

backyard pool with umbrella
Click here for our FREE interior design guide!

…before we do major landscaping work back here.

Our work is cut out for us. But we can see so much potential!

See our plans for our entry courtyard, and how we got rid of all the grass in our front yard. (I’m still so happy about that one!) UPDATE: Our final backyard renovation can be viewed here!

backyard pool with palm trees

Or find what you need in The Complete List of our backyard remodel!

➜ Our complete list of every single home project is viewable HERE.

➜ Grab our FREE interior design guide!

➜ And if you’d like our help right now check out our plans & guides!

Leave a Reply