Creating a Beautiful Backyard

I can’t believe its been four years since we moved into our current home. We had a huge to do list. One item on that list was working on the back yard. The semi custom home we had built included the front yard landscaping. That was a sore spot for Monte but he got over it, not really but eventually stopped complaining about the decisions they made. Monte is a yard guy and likes to have control of what is planted and the way things look.

The backyard had a cinderblock wall and the water line for underground sprinklers pulled to the back. That was it. We had a very ugly red dirt yard that was in need of some work. The first thing on our list was get the pool going. We had budgeted the pool in our home purchase and had a good idea what it was going to cost. Because we had custom pool installed in our last house I had a better idea of what I was wanting.


When it came to the yard design we started with the pool. I like straight lines and crisp corners inside and outside. I wanted the pool to be rectangle with a little dimension to elevate the space. We started with some string and spikes to hammer in the ground so we could get a visual of how big the pool would be and how much space remaining to work with. After we got it laid out and our pool design confirmed we started taking about other elements we wanted in our yard.

Starting the pool

building a beautiful backyard

The dirt in Arizona is so red and hard. It is hard digging. When they started excavating the pool Monte decided to jump in the mini excavator for a pic one night after they were done. He didn’t do any of the work but it was fun snapping some pics that made it look like he was hard at work. It only took a couple days to dig and haul away the extra dirt. Some of the best money we ever spent was have the excavator dig us four holes for our fruit trees. We knew where they were going to be so it saved us a lot of work trying to pick away at the hard ground. I think we paid him $50 for 4 holes that took him less then a minute to scoop out. Best $50 we’ve ever spent.

building a beautiful backyard

Living in Arizona has so many ups and a few downs when it comes to plants. Our summers are HOT but our winters get colder then most people expect. Not Southern Alberta cold but definitely colder then what tropical plants can handle. Because we get so hot and cool a lot of tropical plants don’t survive. They usually survive the summer months if they get a little shade but they don’t handle the winter when we dip below freezing a few nights of the year. We have replaced so many plants and trees due to the cooler temperatures.


creating a beautiful backyard

We love a lot of trees and wanted to incorporate them all around the perimeter. Our plan was to add queen palms around the pool portion of the yard and fruit trees around the grass portion. We had fruit trees and queen palms at our other home and knew they managed the heat and cold. I also wanted to incorporate pigmy date palms with the queen palms to add dimension to the yard. The taller trees were to give us some privacy and the smaller trees to cover the ugly brown cinder block wall. I don’t mind seeing hints of the wall but it’s a lot of brown if you can’t cover some of it up.

We got the fruit trees planted before we had the sprinkler system installed. There was a rush to try and beat the summer heat that was coming on quickly. As soon as the pool was under way we were able to see where the first trees and palms needed to go. We then got working on the sprinkler system.

Fruit Trees

a beautiful backyard
a beautiful back yard

We love fruit trees. They can hang on in the summer heat and can usually manage the cooler temps. We also love the fresh fruit in the winter months. A fresh picked orange or grapefruit can’t be beat. Because we had fruits trees in our other yard we knew how much fruit to expect from the different trees. We also had a pretty good idea about their growth patterns.

Our favorite grapefruit is the oroblanco. The tree is beautiful and green but doesn’t produce as much as we like. Or we keep moving before they get mature enough to really produce. Because of that we decided to plant two grapefruit trees. We also love having lemons and limes. Which have a way of producing more fruit then one family can every use. We are always giving away lemons and limes in the spring and juicing a lot to freeze. These trees not only produce yummy fruit and look beautiful they also provide us with privacy.

a beautiful backyard

Our sweet little grand daughter loves to pick fruit. She’s pretty good at eating what she picks. It’s tricky keeping her from picking the fruit that is just growing and not ready for a few months. She loves to check out the trees and spot the fruit hanging from the branches.

Beautiful bushes and vines

creating a beautiful backyard

I really wanted some beautiful vines to cover up some of the ugly cinder block wall. This passion fruit vine is my favorite. The flowers are stunning. It brings me so much pleasure. These flowers only last a day so when it is blooming I spend time looking and enjoying this vine.

creating a beautiful backyard

I also love this vine that grows these beautiful flowers. This vine has a beautiful green leaf and flowers several times a year. It especially loves the early spring when it’s just warming up but not too hot yet.

Beautiful pool

creating a beautiful backyard
a beautiful backyard

Around our pool we decided to make it more tropical. We planted queen palms and pigmy date palms. It is a beautiful space to relax and enjoy all the beauty that has been placed on this earth. We recently added a birds of paradise plant that is loving the location behind our water feature where it gets plenty of shade.

a beautiful backyard

Creating a beautiful back yard is a work in progress. We have added new plants and vines and had to replace a couple things that didn’t make it. Monte loves a beautiful back yard and I love having a space where we can spend time with family. There are still a few things we’d like to do but we love the look of things right now.

build a beautiful backyard

It is crazy to think that just four years ago this was an ugly dirty space. Our yard is so welcoming. We absolutely spending time here twelve months of the year.

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I am passionate about cultivating home. Whether you like DIY, design, decor or organization I want to help you cultivate the best home for you. One space and step at a time. Small simple to maintain changes with big results.