This is what we're working with - this picture was taken when we bought the house, in the summer of 2009:
A little dilapidated and outdated, but good bones, right? My mom is coming to visit next week, so we're trying to get some of the non-creative work done so she can help us brainstorm. First phase was the much-needed pruning (you sort of couldn't see the window on the left side of the house... those bushes had gotten a bit out of control. I'm too embarrassed to show you a before picture!), and killing the grass/weed mix in the parking strip. We have a couple of spots on our backyard lawn in which we simply haven't been successful growing grass, so I decided to attempt transplanting some of the grass from the parking strip. It should work like laying sod, right?
I would dig up a chunk of grass, and then my littler helper would pull it down the driveway in this tiny wagon and dump it in the back yard, where I would transplant it. Hope that our record temperatures this week don't kill off my tender grass!
(I like how I'm transplanting dandelions too, don't you?!)
Also, I think I may have discovered why we have been unsuccessful growing grass in that spot previously. When I was digging up the weeds and preparing for the 'sod', I found large bricks and ancient metal landscape edging several inches down, under the dirt and existing lawn. It made me wonder if there is an entire landscape under the lawn, circa 1911, when the house was built. And over time, it got covered up with dirt and ignored, rather than dug up? We are aware of the fact that our back lawn has sunk down over time and created a belly in the pipes underneath. Who knows?! I dug up a bunch of the bricks, and left a few that do have grass growing over them.
I'll report back soon with inspiration pictures, and hopefully more progress to show you!