Thursday, May 19, 2011

Backyard Beach - "How To"


Aloha! :-)

Since posting the pictures of my backyard beach on Houzz.com, 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!

8 comments:

  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

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

    ReplyDelete
  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!

    ReplyDelete
  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)

    ReplyDelete
  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! :)

    ReplyDelete
  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!

    ReplyDelete