Landscape Project Kickoff

After 5yrs, we have started landscaping our yard and it is extremely exciting!  We bought and moved into our home in 2007 with no idea what the yard looked like.  It was a typical winter with several feet of snow covering the yard from November to April.  The family we purchased from had small children, so a swing set  occupied the small flat area in the back.  The assumed the rest of the property took on the natural slope and feel of the surrounding forest.  We loved the house so much, we didn't think about the possibilities of what was under the snow, but we assumed we were in decent shape.  May came and the snow melted to reveal plastic toys and a lot of bark.  The previous owners returned to claim the swing set and we were left with a small patch of grass off the patio that needed some attention.
2007 : Happy that the swing set was gone
We weren't sure what we wanted to do with the yard the first few summers.  We did minimal maintenance and continued spending money on trips (Hawaii, Alaska, Italy) and our time on playing and training (Triathlon, Cycling).  Terry particularly hated the bark, so one weekend we took several truckloads and even more plastic toys hidden below the surface to the dump.  It definitely helped, but then we had to deal with the weeds that took over that section.  We also noticed that each spring, the slope behind our house crept a little closer toward the patio since there was no retaining wall.  It wasn't a danger, but it needed finished.  Also a bit of an excuse, but we didn't want to do anything to disrupt the amazing wildlife activity.
2008 : Enjoying the bark (and weeds) before Terry couldn't take it anymore 
Our "I can see the yard" season is only 5 months so the cycle goes something like this.  The snow completely melts by Memorial Day and June is muddy.  Once everything dries out by July 4th, we are busy playing and it takes us until Labor Day to get frustrated with the weeds and lack of landscaping.  Before we know it, Halloween and the 1st snow have arrived and we put it off for another year.
2009 : Moose Migration Path between patio and back slope
For 2 engineers with no time or desire to do the work on our own, we wanted to do things right and do it all at once.  We also knew it would require some budgeting and we would have to prioritize landscaping with our trips.  We did another trip to Italy in 2010 and then in late Summer 2011 called a landscape architect and had him design a plan for the entire yard.  It was worth the time and money and we were getting excited about the finished product.  We had a couple contractors quote the work and although Terry knew what the ballpark would be, we both had sticker shock.  We couldn't pull the trigger, so kept the plans and hoped to have a financial plan for 2012 to make landscaping a reality.
2010 : Can't beat views like this, just prefer to have a finished back slope
This past winter was mild and our entire cycle was thrown off.  The snow never really piled up and by April we were staring at the back slope and it was obvious this was the summer.  We put our lot back on the market (financial plan #1) and got serious with our selected contractor.  We weren't planning on the lot selling so started working on a loan (financial plan #2).  We met several times with the contractor and got on the schedule.  It was really going to happen!
2012 : All the neighbors are ready to get this project rolling
Until Monday, we were in a holding pattern.  We selected our contractor for his work history in Park City and impressive rock work and creativity.  Unfortunately, he had plenty on his plate and didn't want to start our project until his specialty rock guys were available.  We had a couple "we'll be there next week" false starts due to other projects that he needed to finalize, but on Monday they arrived and have been working hard all week.  I came home each day to find a new feature in the backyard and hurried to take photos before dark.  If all goes well, they will be finished by Halloween. Of course, we won't plant anything that won't survive the Winter, so will finish up in the Spring/Summer.  I've been trying to tweet a new picture each day and will post more photos as the project moves along.  Until then, a before and in progress shot to get you as excited as we are.
Before : Grass patch and back slope
In Progress : Retaining Wall and Boulders