Where's the "After Picture"??

The house I currently live in is very modest. It's about 1300 sqft, has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a lot of the original 20-year old installations (including our AC unit). Our house-buying experience was nothing short of an endurance run. We put offers in on something like 7 homes before we finally got this one. It was a combination of bad luck, a misfit of a realtor, and bad advice, but eventually we got it straightened out and the house was ours! Yay!

Homeownership is a weird thing. Everything I do I think, "Will I get my money back when we move??" It's not about whether I love it or need it, it's if I'll get a return on it. Since this isn't our Forever Home, I think it's a prudent approach. Anyway, that's how we've tackled all sorts of interior changes and we're pretty much at the point where we can't do anything more without really investing more than we want to.

The backyard, though... that's another story entirely. I am completely stumped. The previous owners had a love of all things paving stone, and I mean ALL THINGS PAVING STONE. Flowerbeds were lined with scalloped paving stones, the shed is built on a paving stone foundation, there was a weird little paving stone "patio," a paving stone dog run, and a paving stone swing base. These people lived here for ten years and I can't wrap my head around why they used such a material, but whatever. People are weird.

So far, I've removed all the scalloped flowerbeds at the bases of the trees (the lantana spraying everywhere looked like tree pubic hair, so it had to go, too), I'm in the process of pulling up the weird little patio they put in the middle of the yard, and , in the vein of recycle, reuse, revamp! I've found new uses for the dozens upon dozens of rectangular slabs of cement at my disposal: steps!

I'm going to have two paths: one to the shed and another to our fire pit. Another temporary use of all these damned cement pieces is to block off landscaping boundaries so we can imagine what it might look like someday. But it's OH SO FUCKING HOT here and I can't seem to do one more thing outside until it cools off than just lay the stones everywhere (which also makes mowing a super challenge and so we just don't do it!). This morning the windows were fogged up because of the dense humidity; it felt like the fucking rain forest - no joke. I can't go out there with Hollis and do manual labor, I'll pass out! BLECK!

So our backyard looks like a backwoods hillbilly labyrinth. It's embarrassing. I don't know what I think I'm doing, honestly. I kill everything I plant (see my attempt at a rosemary bush transfer from my neighbor's discard pile?). I want a native Texan backyard, though. Something with sustainable Texas vegetation that I don't have to think about and will survive against all odds such as spraying cats, peeing dogs, drought, torrential rains, and an absentminded gardener.

I'm so overwhelmed! My best friend is a budding landscape architect and she's promised to help me, but I still feel like our yard is a big ugly pit of dog crap and mosquitos that has no hope of a new life despite my, or anyone's best efforts. I should call one of those makeover shows for help, like HGTV or FineLiving Network. Ooh!! That's what I'll do! I'll let you know if anything comes of that!

Woot! I'm like a penniless woman with three jobs putting all her hopes and dreams in a lottery ticket!! Now this is what I call real improvement! I'll let someone else spend all the time, effort, and money on my backyard all in the name of entertainment!

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