In a fast-growing city, couple creates peaceful backyard retreat
League City might be growing by leaps and bounds, but there still are some hidden pockets of land where oak trees stand tall and backyard pastoral meadows exist.
Daryl and Jenise Ehrlich had driven past such a place while taking their children to school and always admired the park-like setting. So, when it came up for sale in 2000, they bought it.
The house on the property needed many updates. After extensive remodeling, the couple moved into their home in 2004 and started brainstorming about what to do with their 2.5 acres, they said.
In 2008, they put in a pool, spa, waterfall and slide, landscaped the front yard and built a gated side garden, which contained several raised beds made with brick from the original house. A four-tiered fountain in the center is an impressive focal point.
By 2014, they were ready to tackle the backyard by landscaping around the pool, reconfiguring the decking with Travertine and adding a pool house with guest quarters.
Jenise Ehrlich, born in Mena, Arkansas, was accustomed to rural surroundings with wildflowers, blackberries and things that grew in the country. She wasn’t into tropicals, especially palm trees, but Daryl persuaded her to give them a try. They planted a variety of pigmy, date and windmill palms.
“They’ve grown on me,” Jenise said.
An outdoor fireplace and pergola came next. The Ehrlichs use it year-round.
“I have no trouble getting rid of all the fallen tree limbs; I just throw them in the fireplace, plus we always have firewood,” Daryl Ehrlich said.
The backyard beds surround the pool area and continue on toward the back of the house. Most noticeable are the abundance of penta plants in shades of pink, white, lavender and ruby red. Foxtail, holly ferns, a loropetalum — also called China pink — caladiums, ixoras, an esperanza tree, vincas and impatiens of colorful blooms bundle together with coleus and dwarf ligularia.
Some recent additions include various plants brought in by Daryl’s parents, who have recently moved into the pool house.
“My mother-in-law added 50 potted plants, three birdbaths and statuary to the mix,” Jenise said.
Several pecan trees also surround the property and even inspired the couple to stain the new driveway a pecan brown shade.
“The pecans were always falling on the concrete, staining it the color of pecans, so we thought, let’s just add that color to the new driveway,” Jenise said.
Married 30 years, Daryl, a retired contractor, and Jenise, who runs a manufacturing business with her brother, are enjoying a semi-empty nest lifestyle. With just one daughter still at home and a nephew living with them, there’s still time for a game of poolside ping-pong, or a dip in the pool.
But when the evening shade arrives, Jenise likes to sit in one of the two tree swings out back and enjoy her peaceful setting, she said.
“It’s very quiet most of the time,” she said. “But since we’re near a busy highway, there is traffic noise, yet we have the sounds of the waterfall and garden fountain to drown that out.”
Daryl walks the property daily and is already looking forward to winter, he said.
“It’ll soon be time to build a fire in the fire pit, sit among the trees and make some s’mores,” he said.