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My Tiny Backyard: More Rock Landscaping and Plants (ORC Week 4)

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Hey ladies and gents, it’s week 4 of the One Room Challenge! Our tiny backyard is coming along nicely, and I’m starting to fall in love with it. Here’s week 3 if you missed it.

So this is one of those weeks where I don’t feel like there is much visible progress. We finally discovered the location of not one…but TWO wasp nests in the rafters of our second-story deck. After a targeted assault didn’t do the trick, Mike took everything off of the deck and pretty much doused the entire area in wasp poison. We were seeing an uncountable number of wasps every day, so it had to be done. Sorry to mother nature and the entire wasp family tree we eradicated. Scorched earth was the way to go.

Once the area no longer smelled like the site of a chemical weapons factory (also thanks to some heavy rains we got the day after spraying), we went back in, hosed everything down, washed the dec with Sal Suds (my fav multipurpose cleaner), let everything dry, and put it all back together. Oof. Thankfully, though, we did have some unseasonably warm weather to work with, which allowed us to make up for some lost time.

Extending the rock landscaping

As I mentioned in last week’s update, we decided the extend the rock landscaping all the way down to the garden bed on the right. The slope in that area of the yard made putting another garden bed there challenging, but I wanted to nix some of the grass. I also thought it’d be a nice area for some of the full-sun container veggies I’m planning. So we focused on that. It’s that area where the lawnmower and black pot are below:

How to build raised garden beds

We followed pretty much the same steps I outlined in my week 2 post. We also ended up using the drainage rocks to make the slope a bit more level and then filled the whole area up with Delaware stone. We got it from a local nursery at $6 for a five-gallon bucket.

I leveled out a few pavers for bigger potted plants, too. For smaller ones, I’ll just set them down in the gravel.

Tackling the gas meter area

We also worked on the gas meter area, which was a hot ass mess. You can see it here before the deck went in:

My tiny yard: Before and plans

Once the deck trim was finished off, I dug that area up, buried that random cut wire because I was too scared to do anything with it, and rocked the whole area to match.

Change of Plans…

So we were done with rock landscaping…until I decided that I liked the clean look of the rocks and pavers so much that I decided to extend it all around the entire deck, connecting the two areas that we had rocked. Nothing like a major mid-project change of plans. And more work, but I think it was the right move. This strategy will also help keep the white trim around the deck from getting cut up by the weedwacker accidentally or getting badly stained by grass (it has already showed some grass staining).

I decided to put three pavers off the area of the deck we want to be the main walkway to step off. Then, I put some other pavers off the side of the deck by the gas meter where I’ll put some potted plants. Again, we had planned to do another bed here and put in some tall greenery for added privacy, but the slope here would make the garden bed challenging. More rocks it is!

We just used a simple no-dig black landscaping border, large pavers, and the same Delaware rock. One tip for rock landscaping…have an extra bag (or, in our case, bucket) handy to tweak the levels after your first big rain. Especially if you’re near a gutter.

DIY rock landscaping around platform deck

DIY rock landscaping around platform deck

DIY rock landscaping around platform deck

DIY rock landscaping around platform deck

With obviously the best assistant staying delightfully occupied in her new unicorn swing Mike hung.

DIY rock landscaping around platform deck

Bringing in some plants

This space was looking really nice, but I was dying to get some greenery in there. You can see bits of the greens in the previous photos. I love, love, love Pot Klips and have used them for a few projects before (hanging succulent planter, vertical outdoor garden, key rack). Highly recommend. They are super sturdy and durable, and they help you maximize the sunniest spots in your yard or home by going vertical.

I chose to use these for my herbs up along one of the second-story deck footers. Here’s a front and side view. You can see how they really work in the second photo. (I just spray painted these pots.)

Alright, and that’s a wrap for this week.


  • Build a platform deck (not DIY—having a licensed contractor do it to make sure it’s done right)
  • Add additional lighting—hanging? string?
  • Clean up area around the AC unit and the gas meter/gutter using rocks
  • Build table and benches for deck (Done, actually. Just need to finish them off with some no-slip bottoms because the Trex is very slick.)
  • Build screen for AC unit and all of those wires and boxes back there
  • Hang plants
  • Build veggie beds and lattice for climbing veggies
  • Hang swing for Ramona
  • General landscaping around the fence perimeter (flowers, bushes, etc)
  • Maybe: Privacy screening for the deck area (depending on the cost, and I don’t think I want to DIY this)
  • Major maybe: Let myself do a little shopping for some fun items like a large outdoor vase planter—budget depending

Shop things used for this week’s progress on Amazon:

See the finished backyard post here ?

Modern design ideas for a small backyard // DIY rock landscaping around a gray Trex platform deck // Hanging herbs // DIY outdoor cat perches // DIY HVAC unit screen // small garden ideas // hanging ferns on a patio

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How to build raised garden beds
How to Build a Raised Garden Bed With Wood
My Tiny Backyard: Lights, Plants, Cats... (ORC Week 5)


Wednesday 2nd of May 2018

That unicorn swing and your daughter are so precious!! Love the herb pots and the rocks add so much!

Monica Benavidez

Wednesday 2nd of May 2018

This is looking so good, Brittany! You're giving me ideas for my backyard.


Tuesday 1st of May 2018

Oh! I love what you did with the rocks! Everything is soooo pretty! We had a wasp nest last year and destroyed our wasp family too. Not fun having wasps with little ones around!

Kate Smith

Tuesday 1st of May 2018

The rock border looks awesome! (and your daughter is beyond adorable!)


Tuesday 1st of May 2018

Wow it's looking really good, great progress. Your hanging herbs look great, and the rocks do looks so nice and tidy. Can't wait to see it all finished.