Make Your Yard Fantastic

img_3694When I haven’t been working on my book this past spring and summer, I’ve been working  with my landscaper friend Tim Francis ( to transform our yard into a wonderful play space for children and a beautiful and relaxing place for adults.  He did all of the earth-moving and construction, and I did the planting and accessorizing.  It has been a labor of love and boy, am I in love!  I know that not everyone can move dirt around like we did, but I wanted to share the results for inspiration.  I can’t wait till next year when our bulbs and perennials bloom!  Our property is just shy of an acre, so we have lots of room to work with.


We had to start by addressing the massive drainage issues in the yard, using an excavator to dig a ditch which we turned into a dry creek.  Because the creek cuts the yard in two, we made three ways across: stepping stones, a log bridge, and a flagstone bridge (that I can drive the mower over).  Here are some pix:

















We used the dirt from that excavation to make a Play Hill, which has a tunnel running through it and two slides that are put directly into the hill.
































We also made an enormous sand pit lined with stumps that is half sand, half pea gravel, with a sweet bridge between the two.  We added with a fire pit in the center for the grown-ups, and some grown-up furniture nearby so we can sit and enjoy while the children play.



















I got an old play house for free off of Craig’s List which I’m still in the process of fixing up.  I put mulch around it and made a “home” play space at the base of it with a table, chairs, and thrift store metal goblets and kitchen gadgets.



















Finally, we made a bunch of raised beds from pallet collars that we got from a recycling place, and used hog panels and the metal tubes you use with chain link fences to make arches between them.  They were finished too late in the season to grow vines over them, but next year they will be covered with beans, cucumbers, climbing squash, and morning glories!










Ongoing projects involve planting hundreds of flowers (many of the perennials won’t bloom till next year) and putting in little magical touches here and there.











  1. WOW. Faith, this is amazing and so very inspirational! What a magical place for the children and adults! ❤️

    • Thanks, Jackie! We had our first big picnic with families late this summer, and it was fabulous to see the kids so engaged. I don’t have an indoor space for a play program right now, but I’m thinking that maybe I should do an outdoor parent-child group in the spring… I’m not allowed to even think about it until the book is done, though. 🙂

  2. BEE-OO-TI-FUL!!! Wow, so lovely. Now you can open a Forest Preschool program!!
    How much did all that cost you?

    • Hi Joanna, It was a pretty penny 🙂 The earthmoving cost the most, and we ended up having to get lots and LOTS of topsoil in addition, because our soil was such hard clay that water would just sit on top of it. So we put eight inches of soil for the flower beds, and a layer of topsoil on top of everything. We still have struggled quite mightily with getting grass to grow everywhere, even with that extra layer.

  3. Would you be willing to show an overview/birdseye view or map of the entire backyard? I’d like to understand how big it is? Thank you!

    • Sure, I’ll see what I can do. Our lot is just under an acre, and probably 2/3 of that is in the back yard? I’ll take a photo from our back deck when I get the chance.

  4. Rebecca Hyland says

    Well done, Miss Faith! I am looking forward, too, to reading your book and adding it to our parent library at MPCS. 🙂

  5. I LOVE this. Beautiful and so great for kids! Inspirational, thanks!

    • Thanks, Charis. This year all of the perennials that I started from seed last year are starting to bloom! I’ll take some more pix and do a follow-up post soon.


  1. […] year I shared my efforts to transform my my large-but-boring back yard into a wonderful space that children and […]

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