Monday, October 10, 2016

It's For The Dogs

In June 2015, we bought and moved to a new house. The backyard was one of the huge selling features. It was large and the fence could be moved further back for more space and it was mostly flat.
The property backed up to core property and we are on the end of a cul de sac so the backyard was also fairly private. We also determined that you would not be able to see an A-frame or dogwalk out back from the street. Perfect for the dogs!
Well, it turned out that we had a huge drainage problem and the section behind the chain link fence receives no sunlight from October to March so it never dries out during the winter.
We also found out that there is a storm drain on the next street over that collects water from about 300 feet of street and it empties out on our property line.
It also collects trash and newspapers that are lying on the street during the rain and dumps that into our yard as well.
Just 10 minutes of a heavy rain and this happened.
The river of water would cut through our backyard and continue through our neighbor's backyard. Not exactly conducive to year-around agility training.

So in February we got a few estimates and opinions.  We jumped through the Homeowner's Association and Georgia Power hoops. We crossed our T's and dotted our I's.  We got fence estimates.  This was not a project we could complete in parts.  If you were going to grade the yard, you had to take down the fence, and if the fence was down, you had to put it back up.  The shed was rotting and located in a bad place. If you have hardscape workers and a bobcat, you might as well have them haul it away and remove the concrete pad. A Big Thank You to Snookums for tearing it down! And while we could live without a shed for awhile, it made sense to go ahead and get it while the fence was down since it would not fit through the gate. So the expensive project turned into a very expensive project.... but hey.... it's for the dogs!
So Operation #NormalBackyardsAreOverRated began!
 The entire backyard was graded so it would pitch slightly to the back right corner. The gutters off the house were buried and piped out to the back.
Five french drains were installed across of the yard.

And we installed a dry creek bed to handle all of the water coming from the storm drain.
Then crushed stone and river sand mixture was laid on top of the newly graded ground. It is similar to what my other field  was topped with before the grass overtook it.
We got a new shed while the fence was down.

A retaining wall was installed.

And lastly the new fence was installed.  We did privacy down the sides and chain link across the back and around the smaller potty yard. We had to do two 16 foot gates in case Georgia Power ever has to come into the yard with big trucks.  Hopefully they never will.  We left space behind the fence so they can drive around our backyard for all of their routine maintenance and tree trimming.  It also leaves a little space for deer watching.
So here is how everything turned out.

Here is the creek bed in action.

The dog's potty yard. We put straw down to keep their feet clean when it is muddy.
Stephen built this temporary patio fence. We hope to cover the patio in the future so we just needed something that would allow dogs access to the potty yard from the back door for now.

Thank goodness we decided to grow grass.  I don't think we could have stopped it if we tried.

The grass keeps the dust down, reduces erosion, looks nicer, and is easier on the dog's feet. I will seed and water again next spring to hopefully fill in the remaining bare spots.

And then a little future garden in the corner.
All in all, I think it turned out great!  Thank you, Stephen!  I probably will not move my equipment for another year.  I really want to give the grass a chance to come in first.