Backyard Phase 1

Phase 1 of our backyard is done!! Woohoo! We are ecstatic that it’s not a just a bunch of dirt anymore.

One of the main reasons we decided to move was because our old home had an extremely small zero lot line yard. This means that our neighbor’s wall was built at the border of our property with no fence in between. When we looked out of our great room and master bedroom windows, all we could really see was the yellow wall of our neighbor’s house. Additionally, their house blocked so much of the sunlight that could have been going into our home, and our neighbors were able to hear everything going on in our yard.

Although we made the most of that cute 10′ x 30′ backyard space, it wasn’t sustainable for us long term. Vince and I both knew that when decided to move, our priority would be to purchase a home with a bigger backyard for our two 45 lb. goldendoodles and our future family.

The small zero lot line backyard of our previous home.
We had a great view of… our neighbor’s yellow wall.
The area filled with gravel was previously filled with turf.

The backyard of our new home.

With a bigger backyard comes bigger design plans and bigger costs… But after having such a small outdoor space, we were willing to splurge on a nice backyard. With our lifestyle and hobbies, we knew that it would be a worthwhile investment for us. After some research and a few consultations, we decided to go with System Pavers, an outdoor design company that specializes in pavers.

We knew that we wanted a good amount of turf, an outdoor seating area, a fire pit, and enough space to plant a few trees and to build a garden… but we didn’t quite know where to start. Mike from System Pavers helped put our thoughts and ideas down on paper, and his design was exactly what we were looking for.

Why did we choose pavers?

  1. Simply put, we like the look.
  2. Pavers last longer than concrete and are less likely to crack over time.
  3. Damaged pavers are much easier to replace than damaged concrete.

Why did we choose turf over grass?

  1. We want a low maintenance backyard. I don’t want to have to mow the lawn on my days off! I’d rather spend my time working on other projects.
  2. Dog urine kills grass over time due to the amount of Nitrogen in their urine. We learned this the hard way at our old home… A few weeks after putting in sod, we noticed that the grass was dying in the areas where our dogs liked to do their business. We ended up switching to turf soon after.
  3. Our dogs love to run… and when I say run, I mean RUN. Even on dry grass, they press their paws really hard into the dirt and have to be wiped off. On wet grass, their legs get so muddy that they look like they’re wearing boots! It takes us roughly 15 minutes to hose them down and dry them off each time they run on wet grass. Turf saves us a lot of time and energy, especially on rainy days.
Leo after running around on my sister’s grass.

Unfortunately, I was at work whenever System Pavers was working on our yard so I didn’t get familiar with the process of laying down pavers and turf. From what I observed, they started out by flattening our land, marking the design, putting down weed barrier, laying down some type of gravel, carefully placing each paver, putting down a layer of Zeofill to minimize pet odor, and then laying down turf. I’m sure there was a lot more to it than that… Haha! They did a great job and were able to complete the project in about 10 days.

They flattened out the land and laid down gravel of some sort.
Then they laid down the pavers.

What we liked about System Pavers…

  1. They were referred to us by my mother-in-law’s good friend (Hi Mom! Hi Stephanie!). We saw photos of Stephanie’s yard and loved System Pavers’ work!
  2. Turf is known to get really hot, sometimes a whole 20 – 50 degrees hotter than real grass. System Pavers offers a pet-friendly turf that maintains cooler temperatures during extreme heat. Regular turf that absorbs heat easily would’ve been a huge problem for us during the 110 degree summer days where we live.
  3. They use Zeofill, a premium zeolyte pet odor infill, both under and above the turf. This product, which only requires a one time application, controls odors from pet urine and keeps the turf in good condition.
  4. They included a complimentary lighting package (low volt lights and transformer installation) with 3 lights of our choice. We went with the landscape lights.
  5. They offer various paver patterns, all for the same cost, and gave us great recommendations! We chose the haviland design for the seating areas and herringbone for the walkways.
  6. There’s a 10-year warranty for their turf and a 25-year warranty for their pavers. The warranty is transferable to the new owners of your home if you decide to sell within that time frame.
  7. They offer financing options (we’re on an interest-free 12-month payment plan) so we don’t have to pay for the whole project at one time. This helps us tremendously because this was definitely a costly project.
  8. They (Mike, Anthony, and Gino’s team) were very professional yet personable during all communication.
I love the steps that connect the two seating areas.
The herringbone pavers that lead to our future fire pit.

We LOVE how it turned out and have already been spending so much more time outdoors!

I put in my own solar powered path lights for now.
We can add wired lights to the existing lighting system in the future.

Just so there is no confusion, this post was not sponsored by System Pavers in any way. We just really enjoyed working with them and highly recommend them! If you decide to go with System Pavers for your yard, don’t forget to mention during your initial consultation that Vincent Castelle referred you!

I think it’s safe to say the dogs are LOVING it.
That’s Luna jumping with joy!
There’s so much usable space with this design!

So what’s next?

  • Phase 2: Outdoor furniture
  • Phase 3: Fence-painting (upcoming DIY)
  • Phase 4: Irrigation/drip system installation
  • Phase 5: Trees, plants, garden, and bark/mulch
  • Phase 6: String lights (upcoming DIY for string lights holder)

We’re hoping to complete the entire backyard project by mid to late summer (I know… ambitious) so that we can have friends and family over while the weather is still enjoyable! I can’t wait!!

What do you think?

Until next time,


4 thoughts on “Backyard Phase 1

  1. Your yard looks great! I’m know several people who switched to turf to save water due to our constant low water years, eliminate the need to mow/ pay a gardener while still getting the look of grass. I’ve been saving up to do pavers in my backyard. Never considered a company offering interest free payment plans. Maybe I’ll get my new backyard sooner than I thought! Can’t wait to see your fence project. That’s also on my list. 🏡


    1. Thank you so much!

      Yes, I have definitely noticed more people choosing turf over grass recently for those very reasons! In regards to the payment plant, I feel like a lot of companies, especially the bigger ones, are offering financing options now. Definitely look into that when researching paver companies! We would not have been able to get our backyard done so soon otherwise.

      I can’t wait to get started on the fence and landscaping and to share that process with you!


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