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Transforming Our Vacant Property Into Our Landscaped Paradise

We bought our property and found that it was used by teenagers as a party spot. The first thing we did was to fence it in to prevent that while we started our landscaping. We lived in our travel trailer while we did this and built our home.
This is the travel trailer we lived in. Building of the fence and clearing the land.
Over the years we decided to put in some shady areas so we first put up a gazebo made from the metal post and canvas roof with screened sides. This was perfect until time and weather took it's toll so, we built a screened in room to replace it and then made a paver patio around it.
Behind our screened room, which we named the Crab Shack (it's a perfect place to have our crab and shrimp boils and avoid mosquitoes) I made what I call Orchid Alley. I love orchids and they love this place behind the "Crab Shack".
We love Koi and built a pond with a waterfall and what we call our pond deck and a bridge across the middle. Our granddaughters take great joy in feeding the fish and watching the water flow beneath their feet :-)
This is a view from the bridge looking at the waterfall. I have several different tropical plants around this area as well as Water Lillies
And a view from the bridge looking towards the pond deck
This is the bridge right after we built it
Our Granddaughter enjoying feeding the koi
A view from the house of the pond deck
A view from above of the bridge over the pond/waterfall
Shortly after building our house we moved my Mom in with us. She had Alzheimers and could no longer live alone so it was best to bring her to live with us. We built her a "gazebo" and put in gardens so that she could continue to enjoy her love of gardening. I also built "sidewalks" so she would have something to hold onto and help prevent any falls. Handicap friendly.
A garden next to the gazebo
A side walk to the underside of the house which we turned into an outdoor living area with a full kitchen. We found that it was safer to do most of our cooking outside and made it comfortable with a TV and we could bring Mom down, she could relax and be "watched" while I cooked. It was a win win - got us all out of being cooped up in the house and kept her safe.
This is the "living area" kitchen under the house - we built some cabinets and added a sink. There is a stove behind the left side and a fridge to the right. Directly across from this are some tables and chairs and the tv and music equipment. My husband plays music so every now and then it's fun to plug it all in and sing.
Our last landscape project was to build a double deck on our pool for easier access to go in and out of the pool and I landscaped around that as well. We have 2 projects left to complete our total design. I'm going to build a paver patio out to the burn area. You can almost see where it is on the other side of this deck. And we're going to cement under the house and put screening around the middle of the underside. My husband and I love to design and build. Our goal is to accomplish all we want to do before he retires. We have 1 1\2 yrs. to finish but I think we're on target to get there. We don't hire anyone to do our work....part of the fun is the enjoyment of "feeling it all come together".

Material I used for this project:

  • We buy all our wood and building materials at big box home improvement stores

Ask the creator about this project

  • Hannah V
    Hannah V Brooklyn, NY
    on Jul 12, 2016

    Wow what an amazing piece of land! Im so jealous!!!

    • Janet Arceneaux
      Janet Arceneaux Labelle, FL
      on Jul 12, 2016

      Thank you Hannah!! It's been a lot of work and truth be told - we were lucky to find this property. We searched for 3 years to find our perfect "forever" land. The For Sale sign on this land was buried under bushes but we spotted it - called the realtor and got it for a steal :-) Prior to this we lived in a trailer park, an apartment and a condo. Then we lived in the travel trailer...lol. We couldn't wait to put our love of designing and building to use. But the journey was well worth the destination. I love watching the water foul feed in the mornings and evenings on the little lake behind us and there are good to eat fish in there as well, ie. bass, perch, fresh water catfish and tilapia.

  • William
    William Burbank, IL
    on Jul 13, 2016

    I'm super jealous! You fulfilled what everyone dreams about.

    • Janet Arceneaux
      Janet Arceneaux Labelle, FL
      on Jul 13, 2016

      Thank you William :-) After we bought our property, we drew a map of what we wanted in the landscape. A few things did change, mainly because the home builder we chose had our drain field (for our septic tank) put on the wrong side of the property, but we worked "around" it. We love the "island feel" we've created :-)

  • Zeebo
    Zeebo Hugo, MN
    on Jul 14, 2016

    Quite an amazing transformation, and a labor of love! I can't help but notice all the drowning dangers (although lovely). Keep your eyes on your aging mother and your adorable Grandchildren. Love the outdoor kitchen!

    • Janet Arceneaux
      Janet Arceneaux Labelle, FL
      on Jul 14, 2016

      Thank you! We lost my Mom 3 years ago. We had her with us for 7 years. The granddaughters come down about 4 times a year and are never out of our sight. When they come it's for a short weekend visit and we spend the entire time "being entertained" by their magic. They are also very well disciplined and know that in order to feed the fish - the pond deck and bridge are the places to do that :-) Thank you for your concern and for the compliment :-)

  • Haysha S.
    Haysha S. Cedarhurst, NY
    on Jul 20, 2016

    Wow! You really created a paradise.

    • Janet Arceneaux
      Janet Arceneaux Labelle, FL
      on Jul 20, 2016

      Thank you!! We both had parents that took great pride in working in their yards and creating environments that were like outdoor "living areas". I think we took it to the next level...lol...not on purpose....but in loving our home :-)

  • White Oak Studio Designs
    White Oak Studio Designs Pullman, MI
    on Aug 28, 2016

    It was amazing to see the before empty lot and the after. What a remendous job you have done. Kudos from another serious gardener who understands the time, energy and stamina a job this big takes! We did something similar withour land. We bought 5-acres in SW Michigan with nothing but grass and trees. Over the past 15 years I have totally landscaped our property and created butterfly gardens, vegetable gardens chicken coop and runs. You can see this on my Small House Big Sky blog at http://smallhousebigskyhomestead.wordpress.com" target="_blank">http://smallhousebigskyhomestead.wordpress.co...

    • Ginger the farm gal
      Ginger the farm gal Corinth, MS
      on Mar 20, 2017

      That's just it Janet, you're never done, and when you get it like you want it there's always repairs and facelifts...just remember to enjoy the journey. 75 and 65 here, we still make changes and additions, but we do it alot slower...LOL...Hey ...someone will enjoy it when we're gone...I hope.

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