Thursday, May 19, 2011

Backyard Beach - "How To"

Aloha! :-)

Since posting the pictures of my backyard beach on, I have been getting a lot of e-mails and questions about how I pulled this off. Firstly, everyone told me I was nuts to even attempt this. But alas, four years later, I still LOVE it!

My very large evergreen was just ugly and it was $1,000 to have it removed. R U KIDDING ME? So I borrowed my sister's chain saw and started to chop away. HUGE job but I saved lots o' money! I kept the center trunk as a support for the ladder and climbing up to get the high branches. One day, I thought - HEY, this would be a great place for a hammock! The grass around the bottom of the tree was gone due to the low branches and I thought maybe I would fill it with dirt and flowers. Way too expensive and too large a space. Then came the idea for a "beach".

I am a huge Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney and overall fan of the "islands". Living in Chicago - you don't see too many palm trees so I decided to create my own patch of paradise.

I cleared out the debris and cut a large circle off the deck where the tree used to be. I then used a heavy vinyl landscape fabric and laid it out in the shape of the circle and secured it with landscape fabric u clips. I then purchased the mini log border and placed it around the edge of the landscape fabric. I then had sand delivered on my driveway. I think it was a yard of play sand and it was $125 with delivery. Since I was still healing from two breast cancer surgeries, chemo and radiation, I could only move a very small amount of sand at a time. So I used my lawn spreader! LOL - not kidding. It worked out perfectly. I couldn't ask for help because I would have gotten the lecture on how stupid this was.

I filled it in and it was WONDERFUL! I bought a plastic tiki umbrella and used u clamps on the back side of the tree to hold it in place. It is also very easy to remove the umbrella for a storm and for during the winter. Here is when I didn't remove it in time for the summer storm.

I have since painted the adirondack chair bahama blue and the beach is still awesome. During the winter it sits under tons of snow and when spring comes, I simply get a shovel and turn all the sand over and rake it. The hammock pillow is from LL Bean and it is fantastic. I have it monogrammed to say "ISLAND GIRL". The tiki lights around the umbrella are awesome at night and I also have a light up flamingo who sits in the back. I also added fake grasses I bought at Dollar Tree and it looks pretty authentic. Yes, animals do play in it - among other things. I have yet to find any fecal matter in it and the bunnies love to roll around in the sand. It is pretty funny.

I use a sand sifter toy to get out any leaves or berries so I don't lose too much of the sand. I am going to repeat it in the other side of the deck where I took down a second tree. The lifeguard chair is from Blizzard Beach water park in Walt Disney World - EBAY! I also found a Lilo n Stitch authentic surfboard - given to the animators as a thank you gift from Walt Disney Studios. Pretty cool!

I love to sit on my hammock and put my toes in the sand. Life is good today! Good luck!


  1. That is so cool and I bet my kids would go bananas to have their own beach in the backyard. My only concern would be the high population of roaming cats in our neighborhood. :P

  2. Love your blog and all your projects, thanks for visiting mine!

  3. Your private beach is pretty awesome and so creative! I love it!!!

    Just wanted to let you know that your word verification is on and you might want to turn it off! :) It is really easy to leave the page before you see that you have to type the word verification in and then your comment isn't posted!

  4. How cool is that!?!? I love it, you're so creative. What a great space to chill out.

    I'm visiting from the Blog Party/A Vintage Summer today - hope you can come over and say hi sometime :O)

  5. Love it~ We have a beach in our backyard too! So much fun to relax on the chaise and sink my toes in the warm sand! Love your touches and your charming umbrella! :)

  6. Such a great spot. It wouldn't work at my house, my neighbors two cats that hang out in my yard more than their own would make it the worlds largest cat box!