Thursday, June 11, 2015

From ugly to pretty: the story of our back yard.

Outdoor living is a bit of an obsession for me these days.
As I look down over the front lawn I have a birds eye view of my new
arbor and wire lawn furniture. However this yard has never been the problem 
area, its been our backyard.  If you have been reading you have seen the courtyard
develop.  But if you never saw how bad it really was, I don't think you can appreciate
how far we have come with this small but satisfying project.
Take a look~
This is the landscape design that I drew up so you can visualize where 
our outdoor living takes place. The plan shows how our house sits sideways
on the lot, with the front door on the side above.  I also drew in place steps to 
the courtyard, as that is where doors will go in after we yank out the window.
The yard wasn't always like this....
It started off like this, looking at the back of the house.
 It is on the north side of the house and so there
are few windows on this side by design.  That one window is from our dining room,
and generally it just looks odd, having hardly any windows on this side of the house.
That's the window at the far end of the room. I have always imagined a pair
of French doors in that spot leading outside to the back.
Back outside, under neath the dining room window you can see our
dumping ground area for things we didn't want to have to look at.  
To enhance the space, we put in a lawn, but it still wasn't pretty. 
Then some more landscaping was next.
 Hubby put a row of granite blocks and I planted a rose hedge in front of them
to make a border for the lawn.  We bought some foundation plants and put those in along the 
long blank back wall of the house.  The lawn came in nicely and that in and of itself was a big
improvement.  I had bumped out a little garden for a few tomatoes and I was pleased. 
And for a while it looked nice. 
 But slowly it became the place to put something you didn't have anyplace for. 
Like my antique fainting couch I got on impulse at auction. 
Our problem is that we don't have a garage and we
don't even have a basement for any storage.  So that is tricky business, and 
I have to learn to figure our where stuff is going to go FIRST not afterwards.
Over time the lawn got neglected as things were left out on it and killed the grass. 
There were odd ball things and it was not what I had in mind at 
we continued to use the front yard where we had our table and chairs for al fresco
dining.  Until THIS year!! I am determined to get it in ship shape order and 
make it a dedicated outdoor living space that is integrated with our home.
Can you say epic fail?
Our backyard THIS spring. Pretty sad, right?! Enough was enough!
I would finally have time to get this project done now that I didn't have a store
to run.  French Doors would be installed!! And I would get a pea gravel courtyard
just like in France.  All I had to do was get hubby to help and with that, Colin even
lent a hand one day.  But overall, it was simply a determination on my part
 that it would become a reality and now it is just that.  
Mr. Maison Decor used a skid steer to level out the back area.  Then I laid
out a border of cobblestones and we lined the bed with landscape barrier fabric
to prevent weeds.  I highly recommend this step or you will be weeding your walk 
or courtyard forever if you don't do this step.  Then we spread the small pea gravel.
After that, we moved the furniture into position and I asked hubs to help string up
some exterior lights for a little more ambience.  
I am so happy!  Our hard work has paid off at very little expense.
The rose border on the left, installed four years ago, is now lush and full
and makes for a private enclosed gathering space.  
We all love coming out here to sit on the recliner or have drinks
or dinner at the end of the day.  The french doors are on order and hopefully 
will be installed soon with the help of my brother in law Mike. 
Then it will be complete! This little vision of mine will finally be turned into a reality.
A small unused space that will become a family favorite. 

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