The kids were away for a couple days early in September so that we could get some things done around the house before the snow flew; first chore up was repainting the deck and fence. Phew, what a ginormous job!!! Thank goodness we shouldn't have to do it for a few more years! The other thing I wanted to get done was purely aesthetic- tear out the overgrown, ugly flowerbed in the front yard and start fresh this coming spring. But, as we were tearing out the plants, the retaining wall crumbled apart. It was made with concrete, and obviously didn't last. We piled up the rocks that made up the top portion of it so animals won't get underneath our front steps. We may or may not keep them. I haven't decided yet.
This was my inspiration: http://pinterest.com/pin/112308584430034064/