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Home » One Room Challenge Spring 2021 – Week 2 Backyard Refresh & Slow Progress

One Room Challenge Spring 2021 – Week 2 Backyard Refresh & Slow Progress

Are you curious how week two of our very first One Room Challenge is going?? Click the title above or “Read More” below.

Immediately after I signed up for the One Room Challenge and published my Week 1 blog post, I started to panic a bit! There is no penalty if you don’t finish on time, but I would love to meet the deadline! Then I realized we had been discussing the plan for a long time and we already have some of the materials and a contractor in place, and we just need to do it already!

I texted our contractor to tell him we are ready to start! He is has a full time job and works freelance on the side, so his availability is limited. He stopped by to add topsoil to a back retaining wall he built for us. While he was at our house, we went over final measurements of the new retaining wall, how an existing flower bed would fit in, where steps will be placed, and how many blocks to order.

If you missed my first post last week, you can catch up here. This is a reminder of what we are starting with:


As I mentioned in the Week 1 article, our backyard has been in limbo since we moved in! We have completed small projects while focusing on the interior and front yard, and exterior of the house itself.

Some progress…

So no ground broken for the wall but more planning completed! I also started to clean off the current patio space. We will continue to break up the existing concrete and use it to backfill the new retaining wall for drainage. Hurray for less waste heading to the landfill! We realized our sledgehammer was missing. We think our basement crew took it on accident. The mister just went out this week to buy a new one. Hoping to tackle more demo in the coming days. Our contractor will also install a drainpipe behind the wall that will hook to our current system. This will help draw moisture away from the house and help to keep the wall from moving a ton.

Taking measurements for wall height

Adjusting string until…

You are level!

From photos it can be difficult to see just how much slope our yard has. The wall will be about 28″ high. We reached this measurement by holding a string at the back of the yard, that sits higher and carrying it to the house, which sits at a lower grade. The point at which the level balances shows the height the wall needs to be.

Working with features we would like to keep


Creating this flower bed was a very early yard project that I did. My idea is to have a planter bed along the top of the new wall, where it will curve into this bed. We added the path, another DIY, knowing we wanted to add pavers in the front yard to connect to these. Our original plan was to build a deck at the back of the yard and the pavers would lead up to it. Since we scratched that plan, and also chose to add a set of steps at the middle of the wall. these pavers won’t make sense. We will save the gravel and transfer it to the new patio area. The pavers and moss will be useful in another area of the yard. It might be difficult to visualize the wall; hopefully next week I can get a better rendering for you. In the meantime, you can hear me walk through our plans over on Instagram Highlights.

Next Steps:

  • Continue to break up concrete patio (we started a small area)
  • Move 1 plant from south planter bed to back retaining wall
  • Start to removal pea gravel, pavers, and moss
  • Dig trench for wall (contractor)

Thank you!

Thank you so much for reading! Leave me a comment to just say hi or let me know what you are working on. I love to hear from you. Don’t forget to check out what the others have going on in their week 2 of the One Room Challenge! I am so excited to head over and read through the posts!

Other projects we have done:

We have done a ton of DIY in and outside of our home! Here are some I’ve shared on the site-

Installing mosaic hexagon tile in our kitchen and bathroom.

Creating a breakfast nook bench with stock cabinets and butcher block.

28 thoughts on “One Room Challenge Spring 2021 – Week 2 Backyard Refresh & Slow Progress”

  1. Progress always seems so slow at the beginning. Don’t panic. It will all work out, even if you don’t make the deadline you are at least on the path and committed to getting it done. It’s looking great.

  2. It’s a really big project and it’s so easy to get overwhelmed, but you started!! That’s huge progress in itself.

  3. This is a big project. Don’t panic that will make it feel more overwhelming in my opinion. Take a breath and congrats on being asked! That’s big!

  4. Pingback: One Room Challenge Week 3 – How To Break Up And Salvage Old Concrete – This Dear Casa

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