outdoors update

I can’t believe I’ve neglected to post about our updated patio area!  I posted awhile back about my plans for this sad old deck area:

deck beforeI made a mood board with inspiration for a lush deck space perfect for lounging:

Patio ideas

And I think we came pretty close!  

patio 1We purchased a patio set from Target, and a few pillows from Target and Lowe’s.  The rug is an outdoor rug from Ballard Designs. 

patio 2aThe bowl on the coffee table and the aqua lanterns were Target clearance finds, and the table they are sitting on in the corner was one we had on our back steps at our condo.  The aqua pint-sized lawn chairs were a dollar a piece from a friendly yard sale down the street!

My sister was super helpful with picking out and planting the flowers around the patio area (thanks sis!).  I’m gadening-ly challenged so it was especially nice to get some help with that part!

We still don’t spend as much time out here as I’d like but plans in 2014 include expanding the deck so that it connects from the sliding doors we had installed during the kitchen/dining reno:

CIMG4478But until then we’re enjoying our little deck just fine, and we’re very happy to have a bit of outdoor space.  I’ll post soon about our outdoor eating area too – but when I snapped these photos the other day it was covered in another project (hint: some yellow cabinet doors were getting a face-lift!).

Here’s to enjoying the last weeks of summer!



Patio Dreaming

One of the things DH and I were most excited about moving from  a condo to a house is having outdoor space.  Even though our new house doesn’t have a massive yard or deck, we’re excited for what we do have.  Unfortunately, because we’ve never really had much outdoor space to call our own, we don’t own much in the way of outdoor furniture.  We did have a great haul at a recent yard sale in our neighborhood and scored some sweet pint-sized patio furniture for our little munchkin, but we’re still lacking in the adult-sized furniture realm:

deck beforeAnd, because I just can’t stop myself, I made a mood board of what we’re hoping the space will feel like once we’re done with it (hopefully before the summer is over!):

Patio ideasWe’d like to get a basic patio conversation set with neutral cushions (I like to change my mind…) with accents in pulled-from-nature hues (taupe, greens, blues) which I’m hoping will look right at home on our street that is full of very mature trees and is very, well, leaf-y and tree-y.  The patio set pictured is from Target, as are the pillows; the rug is from Ballard.  The plants are in there just to remind me to plant some things this year.  I hope soon we can get started on our little deck/patio transformation so I can enjoy some quality time with my feet up after all the craziness of a busy job, house renovations, moving, and toddler wrangling.



It’s all too mu(l)ch!

DH and I are very new to having a yard.  At our condo all we ever had was a tiny table with a tiny table and chair set, a few potted annuals, and some potted herbs.  And that was all on the back steps!  Now that we’ve purchased our first house, we’re at a loss as to what to do with the yard.  So far we’ve managed to purchase (and use!) a human-powered mower for our small amount of actual grass but the dandelions are definitely still winning.  Sigh.

We have a beautiful magnolia tree in the front yard but the grass doesn’t grow beneath it, nor under the big maple in front of our house.

magnoliaAt first DH and I thought about installing stone tree rings around the base of the trees, but just before we purchased the supplies we read some additional comments online that said tree rings around mature trees can cause them to slowly die!  I’m sure there’s a right way to approach a landscaping project like that, but DH and I are such amatures that we decided to go the easier route: mulch.  Although we did read that you can mess up mulch, it seemed like if we were careful not to install too much, that we’d be okay.  

After a quick trip to Home Depot for two bags of “dark brown” we quickly realized two things.  First, whoever is responsible for naming mulch colors is not the same person responsible for naming paint colors.  Second, we’d need way more than two bags of mulch.  After a second trip to Home Depot, we finally had enough mulch to make a dent in the yard:

tree mulch

I apparently didn’t take an “after” shot of the magnolia tree, but hopefully I will next time we’re out in the yard.  There seems to be no end to yard work, so I’m sure we’ll be out there plenty this summer!  

The front of the house currently looks pretty sad–you can see the flaking stucco because there are no shrubs or anything planted there.  Just a few lonely tulips.

front yard 1I have lots of ideas of how to pretty the space up, but DH and I haven’t worked out the plan for expanding the deck yet, so we’re holding back on investing in much landscaping since this area might be part of the new deck eventually and we’re trying to be strategic about where we spend our limited dollars.  Meaning for now, our little house will have the saddest yard on the block, but hopefully only for a year or so.  

DH and I hope to get started this fall or winter with planning a larger and more functional deck that we can have built next Spring or Summer.  Right now, we’re considering expanding the deck all the way around to the front.  Currently, the deck is pretty small and not in the best shape.  We’ll have to have an expert though tell us what is actually feasible!  Until then, we might just throw down some “dark brown” mulch and call it a day–and hope the neighbors don’t mind too much!