San Bernard Landscaping: The Back Yard

tilson san bernard back yard

So we’ve talked about the front yard, let’s check out what’s around back! The crushed granite path winds all around the house.


back yard garden

The back yard is pretty heavy on grass. I wasn’t too keen on it at first, but now I’m really enjoying it. We have three large dogs that appreciate a big space to run, and it’s a great change from the dirt patch it was. One thing I was certain I wanted was a large space to build a raised bed garden. I had three beds on the opposite side of the house for my sprint/summer garden, and I learned quickly that was a bad plan. It was a bit too shaded for veggies, and I ran out of space quickly. So I had Debbie block off a large chunk in the sunniest spot of the yard for a garden. I chose to fill it with the granite so I wouldn’t have to battle grass or weeds growing between beds. I used what we already had available, but the plan is to have 4 tall troughs (for veggies that need a bit of shade for part of the day), 4 short troughs, and 4 long cinder block beds. You can see 1 and a quarter of the cinder block beds now. So far it’s just the right size for my fall/winter plans, but I’m looking forward to saving up for more beds and dirt come spring.



Following the path and looking to the right of the garden we have a nice green spot where our septic tank hides, and some shade trees.


back yard path

Now we’re headed toward the patio!


reclaimed brick patio

The porch and patio were DIY projects. It’s a little wavy because we used sand we had leftover on the property instead of polymetric sand you’re supposed to use, but I still really like it. It’s a great spot for entertaining. Plus, I love that it’s nearly all made from reclaimed materials (the sand and gravel base were already here, and I found the bricks on Craigslist. Story is they’re from a century old torn down schoolhouse, all stamped with CRISP. I’m going to choose to believe that since we had to load and unload and move all 1700 by hand, while I was six months pregnant.) The only new material was the edging.


pier one papasan swing


Just off the patio is a small seating area. We planned to build a swing and arbor, but then my mom offered us this amazing Pier 1 egg chair swing that she was tired of having in her yard. Um, YES PLEASE! This swing is amazing, and has become my favorite spot in the yard. The arms have a built-in pocket for books and a cup holder. Score.


saltbox chicken coop

Even our chicken has a sweet setup now! We built this Saltbox Chicken Coop and Planter in the spring, and now it has an official home in the yard. Our lone surviving chicken is appreciating it immensely. We’ll see how she feels when we bring home a few new friends next spring and her McMansion gets a little more crowded.



Here’s the new full view of the back of our house. There’s a new crepe myrtle to balance our original tree to the right of the patio, and Jacob got a nice new firepit for Father’s Day that we plan on breaking in this weekend. I considered moving all the kid items like the water table, swing and slide for photos but it’s a part of our lives right now so why not include it?


san bernard porch


This back porch is what sold us on the house plan. We love it. Jacob built the railing and stairs himself and we recently had it all stained and sealed. He also wired in some outdoor lights on the top beam to light up the patio at night. I think he needs a few more clamps to straighten out that wobbly pvc though!




So that’s it folks! The end of our grand landscaping tour. I’ll make a fun before and after post to illustrate what an astounding difference professional landscaping made. It really did make it look like a whole new house!

8 thoughts on “San Bernard Landscaping: The Back Yard

  1. I really would like to do something like this for our house, as we just moved In our newly built home as well. I am just worried it will cost us a small fortune. Were you able to do this within a reasonable budget?

    1. Honestly, it was a small fortune. About $20,000 which was what we had left in our house fund. However we did get a lot done. Raised beds built, a stone pathway, two water lines trenched and piped for irrigation, and a whole bunch of sod. You could easily get this look for less if you use more gravel and rock. Plus, our yard is nearly a half acre in size, so that required a vast amount of materials.

  2. I had thought it would be a small fortune. We will have to continue to wait on that or just do small improvements here and there. Right now my main concern is our driveway. Nothing like getting out of your car and stepping into mud!!

  3. I ADORE your backyard. It has just the right amount of trees (plenty but not too many where you can’t see the form of each tree), grassy lawn, and a wonderful ample patio. I also think your chicken coop is adorable. Great job!

    1. Thank you Kim! I admit the only things we were responsible for are the patio and the coop. The rest was mother nature and our landscaper 🙂

  4. Hi,
    We are considering building the San Bernard, but in Washington County near Brenham. We currently live in the Hill Country. I am shrinking the size of the garage because we have a large 5 bay metal building on our land and only want an over sized 1 car garage with one 9′ door. We haven’t decided where to put it, we thought maybe either on the front or the other side, but that would be the downward slope side of the property. Anyway any advise about this design and working with Tilson would be helpful! Your landscaping looks wonderful and we are so happy to see different pictures of the house on the web. Email me if you don’t want to comment online. Thanks!

    1. Hi Ann! I’m going to go ahead and email you. I would comment here but it would just be so long. I’m planning on doing a short series of posts on the San Bernard and Tilson in January once we’ve been in the home a full year and I feel comfortable making opinions and a review on things having lived with them a good amount of time first.

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