Lake House Update | Backyard Playground Before & After

retro swing set

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned 1million times, but just as a quick refresher, this house was second to last on our list of about 18 houses we wanted to look at up here in Lake Arrowhead when we were on a serious hunt for real estate. I was 100% reading a book by its cover and by the looks of the outside via the listing on whatever real estate site I was using, it was horrific. And as we followed our agent to this house, we drove down a road my husband deemed unworthy of living on. Pulling up and into the driveway, there were already two strikes against this house.

But then we walked in. And it was perfect for us.

When we finally saw the house, it was after a “flip” so the bones and innards had all been renovated as well as the kitchen and most of the baths. It was move-in ready and other than a few coats of paint in a few rooms, we didn’t “have” to do anything to it to make it livable. Yes, I’d love to rip out all the carpet and redo every single bathroom, but they are livable.

So the exterior was first on our list of things that needed a little upgrade.

We didn’t expect to be able to paint the exterior until Summer but the weather permitted it in April and we couldn’t love it any more than we do now. I mean. We love it. A simple paint color change and it became a completely different house and I am already so much more happy with it now than when we first bought it. Second on the list was to remove the ridiculously large and very very old playground equipment from our property that I actually thought was a neighborhood park when we drove up.

I hated it. I really really hated it.

Ginormous 60's backyard playground being removed as I type this ::high kicks::

Here’s what we knew about it…

The house was originally built in 1957 by {or maybe bought by} a contractor who also worked for the school district. Sometime in the few years following, he acquired and installed the playground on the property.

So we assumed it was from the 60’s. However, if he erected it in the 60’s, it may have been even older if the school was getting rid of it? {and maybe the swings seats had been upgraded through the years?}.

A few days ago we ran into a neighbor in his mid-70’s who said when he bought his house 50 years ago {assumably around 1963}, the playground equipment was already here and sentimentally offerred a sweet story about his children AND his grandchildren both playing on it. Which was admittedly quaint and heartwarming.

So it seems it was a bit of a neighborhood free-for-all playground. But there are no children around now to play on it. And since we don’t have children of our own, it seemed silly {and almost like a slap in the face} to keep it up.

We actually left the monkey bars {way in the back} because the husband uses them to do pull-ups on. And while I totally want them gone, they are the least offensive and will eventually be removed when we have a perimeter wall/fence built.

The view from my office window…

backyard DIY progress backyard DIY progress

The house is shading the area but envision a large hammock between those two trees…

backyard DIY progress

From street level… before/during exterior painting… the slide was huge

backyard DIY progress

backyard DIY progress

backyard DIY progress

backyard DIY progress

We’re so lucky we have so much space to work with and in this area, a flat/level ground rather than built on a hillside like many of the homes up here… and the removal of the playground really opened it up. But now we have to figure out what we’re going to do with the space. I always grew up with a fenced in and private backyard, so it’s a little bit strange to not have that at the moment. But any house you see in in the distance is not occupied full-time. They’re all second homes to our neighbors we see on the weekends, and maybe only twice a month. So the area isn’t really the kind of place you “need” that same private yard, but I just feel so vulnerable without it. It’s next on our list of renovations and I’m so hoping we get it done before the end of Summer because I’m dying to do it. I also think it will really “finish” the look of our house and then landscaping will follow.

But as far as landscaping is concerned, I have no idea where to even begin with this space.

So in the mean time I’m Pinning patios and decks and outdoor living spaces like crazy and watching just about every single show on HGTV and DIY networks soaking up ideas on how to use this space both functionally and pleasing to the eye.

But for now, it’s so nice to look out the windows and not see an old playground rotting away.

backyard DIY progress

Related Links…

* Exterior Paint Before and After
* House Hunting
* House Story


LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, recipes & home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life, her journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life with her adorable French Bulldog brothers, Trevor and Randy.


  • Ivana

    June 4, 2013 | Reply

    Now this is what I call a blank canvas 🙂 Getting rid of that playground opened so many new possibilities, and I can’t wait to see what you do with the space! Knowing your fabulous taste, I’m sure it will be amazing 🙂

    xx Ivana

    Macarons and Pearls

  • dfarber3

    June 4, 2013 | Reply

    I think this is a fantastic transformation! Looking forward to seeing how you use the lot. Wouldn’t a hot tub be fun for those snowy days? 🙂

  • ma

    June 4, 2013 | Reply

    Beautiful open area now! HGTV is one of the best sources out there for ideas. Wishing you lots of smiles and fun with the renovation. 🙂

  • Morgann Crook

    June 4, 2013 | Reply

    Great blank slate now! I really hope losing the playground is cathartic for you. I also struggled w/ my own infertility (though nothing like yours), and looking out my office window at an empty playground would send me over the edge. Good for you//farewell to it! (Although that slide looks hella fun!!)
    can’t wait to see the progression!

  • Anonymous

    June 5, 2013 | Reply

    That sure is a nice piece of property!……..I’m sure you will landscape/decorate it in great style. As you said, lucky you don’t have a nearby hill. Less to worry about re: rain/snow, etc. Thanks for keeping us updated. We love following your ideas and inspirations…….

  • Holly

    June 5, 2013 | Reply

    it looks amazing and i cannot believe how different it looks with a fresh coat of paint. even more so now that the playground has been removed.

  • jenn~the stylish housewife

    June 5, 2013 | Reply

    YAY! It looks great!!! We don’t have fencing either! It was VERY strange when we moved in but we added a gate by our bridge so no more Sunday driver lookie lou’s drive down and think our house is a park they can get out and explore! And we also added a gated back yard/dog run.

    P.S. We are OBSESSED with the “Desperate Landscapes” show…I think it’s on the DIY network. =)

    XOXO, Jenn
    The Stylish Housewife

  • Jane Droll

    June 5, 2013 | Reply

    dang that thing was huge! your backyard is ENORMOUS!!!! so many possibilities!!!!!!

  • Emma Hinchliff

    June 5, 2013 | Reply

    That looks so much better than before! Being the big kid I am, I would have loved the swing set to stay, but I probably would have gone crazy seeing it there every day too. Such a lovely new canvas for you to put your ideas and dreams on!

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