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Backyard Plans & A Great Play Set

We are finally wrapping up our backyard landscaping project and we are so happy with how it turned out! Jeff and his dad worked so hard on this and I wanted to be sure to include all of our vendors and how we got it done. Creating a "wall of trees" has been something we wanted to do since we moved in. I grew up with woods behind my house and while there are a lot of opinions about retention ponds, I genuinely don't mind ours. It's great to have the view of the trees and there are bullfrogs & ducks that Bodie loves to see swimming - in this instance, it was the right decision for us when it came time to choose the lot for our house, so long as we did the landscaping correctly! The goal was to create a barrier to keep the kids away from the hill, to house the playset, and to hang on to as much usable yard space as possible as the kids grow older. Jeff's dad went to school for landscape architecture, so while he doesn't do it for a living, he's professionally trained and has spent a lot of time perfecting their back yard. Without his advice we likely would have made countless mistakes doing it ourselves and we are so grateful for his assistance.

As you can see, he put together a really solid, intricate plan for us and actually measured everything out very precisely. This made the actual labor a little less strenuous. Jeff dug everything on his own and has really been pulling double duty to get this done! We procured all of our mulch and the wood chips for the play set area from Venetia Landscape Supply, which is owned by a friend of ours and comes highly recommended if you're in the Pittsburgh area.

Onto the play set, I did a lot of research but admittedly, I think given COVID and everyone realizing they'll be spending a lot of time at home, had limited options for our play set. I found Cedarworks play sets from another blogger and was blown away by their options. Are these not the cutest play sets you've ever seen? They're made from a cedar, so no splinters, no painting or chemicals needed to seal, and of course I loved the lighter color scheme. We built the area around it so it's more enclosed and included in our landscaping - entirely Jeff's dad's idea, we had plans to put it to the right of our stairs from the deck, which in hindsight, makes absolutely no sense. The kids are really loving the picnic table underneath the landing, we've been taking their lunches outside and getting some playtime in.

I should note that I actually chose the least expensive, least intricate of the play sets - this option had literally everything we wanted - the Play-A-Round! You do have the option to fully customize and I looked into getting one of the cool, wider slides that are that great light blue color, but at the end of the day opted for ours! I'm sure the kids would have loved the castles and bridges of course, maybe some day! Jeff opted to build it himself though there were installation options locally (they are headquartered in Maine and ship directly from there via freight) - he wanted to do this for his kids so I totally get it, it came together really easily, with great instructions and only a few of hours of work! My nephew called it the "sturdiest play set on the street" so we are proud of that important seal of approval. I worked with Matt Kincaid there and he was so responsive and kind, I can't say enough good things about this business - if you reach out, please let them know that I sent you!

In terms of next steps, we'd love to add concrete outside of the basement door and over to the stairs of the deck that matches the flow of the mulch bed. It's so nice to see the outside of the house really come together after about two years here! It was absolutely a lot of time and effort but totally worth it! We can't thank my in-laws, Cedarworks, or Venetia Landscape Supply enough for their efforts on this project.

Molly Knorr
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