A little pressure washing makes the backyard look like new again…

June 20, 2020, 9:40 PM

Sometimes, all that you need to make a space look like new is a little water… at 1,750 pounds per square inch.  There’s really nothing like blowing the gunk off of something and making it look great.  In this case, I did the backyard and deck in order to make them look like new.  As far as “before” photos go, here’s what the backyard looked like when I toured the house in July 2017:

The backyard when I toured the house in July 2017

And here’s what it looked like from the other direction the day before I moved in back in November 2017:

The backyard in November 2017

Now, fast forward about eight months to July 2018, and Elyse and I discovered that we had weeds back there in a major way:

All sorts of weeds growing in the backyard

What happened was that with all of the other things that come with being a new homeowner, the backyard got none of our attention.  After all, in 2018, I was painting the basement bathroom and finishing furniture, as well as painting Elyse’s room and finishing more furniture.  And through all of that, the weeds grew.

So the first thing I did was some weed work.  First, I yanked those really tall weeds out with my hands.  Then I hit most of the weeds with some weed killer, with the hope of keeping the weeds at bay for a time.  Then I took a weed whacker and blew them out.  In the end, I ended up with a lot of yard debris that I swept out of the gate.  This was the result:

The backyard, cleared of weeds

Not too shabby.  From here, the plan was to start power washing, and there was lots to do.  The order was fence, deck, and then brick.  The first day of power washing, I did the right half of the fencing and the gate, and these were the results:

The results of the first power washing session

The results of the first power washing session

This is the difference between washed and unwashed:

Washed vs. unwashed

It is like night and day.  I wonder how many years’ worth of gunk this is.  The only problem with the first day’s work, though, was that it was just a tad too cold.  I got pretty dirty and wet, which was to be expected, and I was freezing by the end of it.  I guess for late April, it’s to be expected.  Subsequent days, I made sure that it was a very warm day before I started working.

The next time I went out, I did the exterior of the fence and the rest of the back side of the fence.  Here is a “before” photo of the back of the fence, taken the day before Elyse and I moved in back in 2017:

The fence on the day before we moved in

Here’s a partial completion photo:

Compare the fence to the gate

And done:

The back of the fence is done!

Not too shabby, though all of the runoff from this made for some extremely slippery conditions with wet grass and a lot of mud.  I came out of this quite dirty, mostly from a fall in the mud.  This power washing also eliminated a labelscar from some house numbers on the fence that the previous owner had installed, and that I removed.

Then the next session was the big one.  I did the entire deck.  That thing was green on the underside, and gray on the topside.  There was also an area rug on the top that I tended to trip on a lot and that had moss growing on it, and so I rolled it up and hauled it out.  Good riddance to that thing.

This is the difference on the underside:

The difference on the underside of the deck

That green stuff came off very easily without much effort.

I also did the lawn furniture, which I bought for the apartment back in 2007.  Note the difference in color, before and after:

The table, partially cleaned

That’s about 13 years’ worth of gunk right there.  And then here’s the deck right after washing:

The deck, cleaned

The deck, cleaned

And here’s the deck after it had a few hours to dry:

The deck, cleaned and having dried for a few hours

The area where the rug used to be took a bit longer to dry than the rest, likely because that rug trapped water in that part of the deck for a long time.  When it finally dried, it looked uniform.

And then the last part of the project was the part that I had been looking forward to the least: the brick.  The only reason that I wasn’t looking forward to it was because it was very detailed and would take a long time to do.  I did it over two sessions.  The first session involved everything that was not under the deck, and the second session did the remainder.

Here are the results from the first session:

The brick after the first session was done

The brick after the first session was done

The brick after the first session was done

The brick after the first session was done

The difference is like night and day.  And I had to go through this and wash every single brick, individually.

And then the last session completed the job.  The remaining bricks all got washed, individually.  But first, we had to do a little housekeeping.  Elyse and I moved the toilets that had been sitting haphazardly in the backyard to their permanent location, where Elyse would start a small garden.  Here they are in their final positions:

The commodes in their final positions

Not too shabby.  I power washed these to get them all clean (because why not), and then turned them over to Elyse to start planting.  She ended up planting a variety of flowers in these, and then I suppose that we’ll see what happens as far as the results go.  I also swept up the remaining amount of gunk in the backyard, and got a nice, satisfying pile:

A nice, satisfying pile of gunk

I swept that out through the gate with everything else, and then went to town with the power washing.  This was the result when I was done:

The power washing is complete

The power washing is complete

The power washing is complete

I imagine that this backyard looks better now than it has looked in a number of years, and definitely better than it has ever looked under my ownership.

Now as far as what I want to do with this space, I am not entirely sure yet.  I’ve casually looked at some nicer lawn furniture, perhaps a swing or maybe a hammock, but I haven’t made any decisions.  I also am tempted to get one of those inflatable hot tubs to set up back there during the warmer months.  Part of me thinks that such a purchase would be silly, and therefore I should dismiss the idea, but part of me just wants to do it.  That might be fun, to go out back and soak in the hot tub.  Whatever I end up doing, though, it won’t be this year, because I’ve already missed the boat on hot tub purchases for this season, and so if I can’t do that, I might as well kick the can down the road and think about what I want to do and how much I want to pay for it all.  Elyse, meanwhile, has already enjoyed some leisurely time out back, and so for that alone, the project was worthwhile to have done, because it’s getting some usage.

Categories: House