Location: Highland Park — Los Angeles, California
Our small backyard is a tranquil, shady oasis even on the hottest summer days in Los Angeles. But it wasn't always this way. When we bought our house 8 years ago, the entire backyard was paved with concrete and ringed by a cinderblock wall. The yard was a work in progress for several years… First we skim-coated the cinderblock walls with stucco and planted some shrubs. Eventually my husband (with the help of several friends) chipped out all the concrete; built a redwood deck, planter boxes, and an L-shaped bench for lounging; laid sod, and then — when the sod died in part of the yard — set down pavers and stones to make a patio.
We found 2 large concrete planters on Craigslist and turned one into a recirculating fountain and the other into a firepit. All this was done with 3 (now 4!) young children underfoot. The heavy labor was worth it — we finally have a year-round spot for relaxing, making s'mores, and hanging out with family and friends!
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