My List of Current Home Improvement Projects!

May 19

Once upon a time, there was an organizing blogger who occasionally shared home improvement projects, how-to’s and tutorials. *looks around* Oooohhhh, there she is!

Feels good to head back to my old blog roots! Been way too long since I’ve worked on (and shared) a good home improvement project. And it’s definitely showing around this house. Now, admittedly I have a very long list of projects on my dream list, but we aren’t talking about that list today. We’re talking about my current list of projects that are actually getting started in the coming weeks and over the summer. Yay! Can’t wait to share these updates. And most importantly, look forward to adding value and useable space to this home.

For starters and to update, in the Fall I shared a post about some new landscaping I added. More trees were planted along the front fence line, mulch was set in the entire front yard and several rose bushes were planted too…

After the record-breaking rainy season we had in the Bay Area, I worried what may or may not have survived. I’ll write another post about this but we had a major flood under the house with the failure of a sump pump. It was a disaster. And it happened more than one time so with the amount of sitting water, I wondered how it would affect the rose bushes along the front of the house line. Happy to report everything is absolutely beautiful! As everything grows, I’m seeing gaps to fill, so there will likely be another landscaping update soon. I’d love more trees and a lot more flowers / bushes. Here’s a couple photos of how everything is blooming up front…

Adding Beautiful Flowers for Spring on Simply Organized

Adding Beautiful Flowers for Spring on Simply Organized

I’ll share more photos soon in better lighting. It was awesome to snip roses from my own home for teacher appreciation week. Typically I would run to the market, but these were incredible to send off with the kids – special and fragrant!

Ok, onto bigger and better projects. Ahhh, so excited!

By the way, stay tuned for a detailed timeline of exactly how the house has transformed from purchase to current status. Both in blog and video format. Many improvements have been made since purchasing FOUR years ago (say what?!) and I’d love a visual timeline which makes it easy for new visitors to catch up to speed. I’m also adding a home tour tab soon as well. Will be a very fun update around here!

Ok, for the big projects…for starters, a large-scale project kicking off in about a week is this empty area finally being filled with concrete…

New Concrete Patio in a Backyard on Simply Organized

New Concrete Patio in a Backyard on Simply Organized

Why has this space been sitting empty for nearly 4 years? This space has been sitting empty waiting for a plan (and a budget). When I was re-building the pool, my contractor ran gas, electric and water to this area for a future BBQ / patio. We aren’t quite ready for the built-in BBQ ($$$), but since the pool fence came down (read on for those details) it’s time for the space to at least be paved…

New Concrete Patio in a Backyard on Simply Organized

It’s a large area, needs drainage (it flooded during the storms this winter), needs to be leveled and has 2 huge redwood trees in its footprint. It’s just inside the backyard from the side of the house, where the swing set is located. The swing set is just outside this gate…

New Concrete Patio in a Backyard on Simply Organized

The screened-in patio will eventually be gone or possibly the sides open completely (during a future home renovation), but this new outdoor living space will certainly help with entertaining larger groups in the meantime. You can see here its proximity to the house / patio…

New Concrete Patio in a Backyard on Simply Organized

And of course paving it will prevent the kids from tracking dirt and mud into the pool.

The plan for this large space is:

  • DRAINAGE – We’ll tap into the french drain system for drainage. This will be SO amazing, you have no idea. Funny enough, this alone has me more excited than anything else. You should’ve seen the flooding in this area for months and months.
  • CONCRETE – We’ll set concrete in place, working around the redwood trees.
  • LEVEL AND RE-SET BRICKS – All of the brick work from the left side of the pool allllll the way to the side gate is set in sand. And you can tell…

New Concrete Patio in a Backyard on Simply Organized

The bricks are warping, have sunk into the ground and are dipping significantly in random spots along the path. It’s not safe to walk or run on. My concrete contractor set the brick path on the other side of the house a couple years ago and it looks amazing because it’s set in concrete. It will look exactly the same as that side now. And be level – yes and yes! This was that side in progress November 2013…

And now…

New Concrete Patio in a Backyard on Simply Organized

You can see how much nicer that brick path is. What a difference! This is the same sweetheart of a contractor who took on paving the entire front driveway. Remember that process? If not, here’s part one and part two. He’s the best and wouldn’t have anyone else helping me finish out these spaces.

Anyway, bricks will be reset. Drainage. Concrete. Can. Not. Wait.

Since he was here quoting me on the space, I asked about setting a small slab for a future shed. There’s ample room for gardening items in the garage, but with the pool fence down for the season, would be great to safely store it. I wouldn’t mind getting the lawnmower out of the garage along with a few larger gardening tools, like the weed whackers. He’s going to add a slab here between the swing set and gate to the backyard…

Slab for future shed on simply organized

Then when I came to think about it (yes, he just loves me – ha!), I’ve been dreaming about setting up a raised-garden in this space, but couldn’t get going without concrete. And since he would have a concrete truck here, why not?!…

Concrete for a raised bed garden

This bamboo…it won’t go away. I’ve heard this happens. But we’ll solve that issue with the concrete pour.

Anyway, this little nook was my dream space for a future garden. Special veggies, fruits and flowers to work on with the kids. But in order to build those raised beds and add irrigation, I first need a surface for it all to sit upon.

Concrete for a raised bed garden

This nook is on the opposite side of the property. Really excited to have this side finished out as well. Check out how it once looked!…

Yikes and wow!

You can see above the previous owner had raised beds over here as well. They never did anything with the beds and the wood rotted through, so it went to the dump long long ago. I was so excited to get a garden going back here and the idea of concrete being poured has me fired up!

I see summer gardening projects with the kids!

Just for fun, here’s a shot looking back (from the garden area) at the rest of the yard…

You can see the future outdoor patio area off in the distance…

I’m dreaming of lounge chairs and hanging lights over there! The BBQ you see will be moved there as well. Not sure when I’ll have the budget for a built-in BBQ…but I’m totally fine waiting it out.

Regarding the pool fence, all 3 of the kids are 100% pool safe. Same with their friends. It was up for nearly 4 years and owned a sizable amount of the yard, spanning 113 feet. It came down a few weekends ago and the yard looks and feelings – and is! – so much bigger. But with it down, I need to bring it all back to code by adding new gate hardware. The gates need to automatically close. My handyman is coming to help install the hardware – will be sure to share!

Another project in the works is adding new screens to the screened-in patio and a new patio door. The winter rains and wind did a number on this space. Two screens actually blew out completely…

The door is nearly off the hinges since it’s very old and suffered damage from the wind…

A company is coming this week to fix the screens and a door is on order. Yay!

Finally, a small indoor project of my dreams – which will likely be a DIY project. I am so ready to tear down these laundry room cabinets…

They drive me absolutely crazy! They aren’t a space saver or creator in any way, shape or form. I can’t reach the top shelves inside and they make this small space feel even smaller when I’m doing laundry…

I’m going to work on a plan for open shelving in this space that’s deeper and more efficient. Going for an open look so that I can add bins and baskets that will contain / conceal it all. Hoping to get this done over this summer!

Ok, so that’s what’s going on over here…

Concrete. Screens. Gardening. A better laundry room storage sitch. Excited to share updates as progress is made. And it feels incredible to share a home improvement update with you guys – been far too long!

Do you have any home improvement projects in the works this spring or summer? Let me know! Or feel free to share any suggestions for my future garden or laundry room project. All ears over here!

Happy home improving, guys!



comments +

  1. Tiffany says:

    Yay! I love your organization posts, but I’ve missed your home projects – both big and small. This is the first free Saturday I’ve had in a looong while, and I’ve been puttering with cleaning, organization, and decorating projects. Once summer hits, I’m going to tackle my garage and some painting projects. And we need to replace our water heaters before they blow – why do builders ever put them in the attic??? – but that’s not a fun project. 🙂

  2. Sara April says:

    Love this update! We moved into a new house right around the same time as you did and have been slowly renovating inside and outside as well. I love your approach to projects!

    • Samantha says:

      Hi Sara!

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment! And I’d love to know what you’re up to at your home. Honestly, I can’t imagine taking on every single project at one time. I’ve been working with families during and after a complete home renovation and they are stressed beyond belief. I enjoy taking the projects on one at a time, slowly…and after having lived in the space for a while. Sounds like you feel the same. I always feel more satisfaction after having thought through every detail before diving in. When something happens on a whim, I feel stressed. That happened this weekend when I pulled the trigger on a new patio table because it was 40% off. I don’t even have a patio poured in the yard yet here I am taking advantage of a 40% off sale price. Stressed! haha!

      Thank you again!!

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