To accomplish that, Annette and I have turned our small back yard into a free style garden that's fits some where between the mess of an English garden and the resemblance of a West Coast environment. I've lost track of how much material we brought into the yard and how much clay we took out. The figures are something like over a ton of clay removed, 20 yards of top soil brought in, 3 yards of pea gravel, 8 yards of crushed rock, 10 yards of sand, a few pick up trucks of large boulders scrounged from the Stave Lake area to make natural retaining walls and the borders for the faux creek bed that cuts through the yard, 3 yards of river rock, 3 pumps and 3 revisions of a fountain and creek set up, more plants than I can remember...well, you get the idea.
Every year there is something more to do, or fix, or change, or change around just cause it's time for a change. This year it was the sun deck; the deck covering was wearing prematurely and if left for another year, the plywood deck would have started to rot as well. We knew it would be a few bucks to get the deck redone, and to avoid it wearing out again before it's time, we decided to bite the bullet and get a roof for the sun deck. This would also help with the heat in the south facing kitchen, plus make the sun deck usable in the heat of the summer.
A couple of days ago, in the waning of a late summer sun, I took a few pictures of our new deck, sunroof, and back yard. The pictures are not as brilliant as you might think they should be; keep in mind it's mid September and the yard is reflecting the approach of Autumn.
More back yard pictures can be seen here (use the right click method on the link to go to the picture site). Click on SLIDESHOW in the upper right to see the pictures full size as they play through. Click here to go to the home page of my Flickr site to see ALL my pictures - ensure you have a full cup of coffee before you start! :)