Thursday, January 26, 2017

Planning for Spring and Outdoor living

Last year's efforts brought about my French Courtyard with kitchen garden, 
perhaps my all time favorite DIY project ever.  One project after another, both
big and small in nature, were required to get this done so we could enjoy it for the summer
months.  But it didn't happen on a whim, it was the winter months of dreaming of outdoor 
living that started the ball rolling.   Creating a loose plan of enhancing a space and then dreaming upways to make it have both form and function is what I did.  
So have you been doing any planning for your outdoor living yet? 
 Spring will be arriving in a few months time, and now
I want to build on what we created and add some other features to the space.
 One of the big projects was the white picket fence.  If you think you want a fence, 
get quotes from fencing companies in your area.  Knowing the cost is always a great first step. 
This was a project that was hired out, as we live in an area with ledge and fence installation
would prove to be very laborious.  However fencing can be a DIY project at a fraction of the cost.
 Our fence comes in at the top of my list for the additions we added to our home in 2016.
Look around at eyesores or things that have bothered you about your own outdoor space and then spend some time "dreaming" up a way to make it disappear.  I detested this fireplace vent on the backside of the house since it was installed.  But at that time we didn't use this side of the house, so it wasn't a problem.  But as things developed, having a vent on the side of the house was a major issue in my way of thinking.  So, a plan was needed to make it disappear...
 I got creative and imagined a bird house on a pole that would effectively cover the vent during the summer, which works well, as we don't use our fireplace during the time we are using the courtyard.
 An evening shot shows the bird house on a pole, and it was a great solution to an ugly problem.  Made out of an old wooden crate for a base, I built a little roof and then added shingles to mimic the cute little shed I had just finished resurrecting from the scrap heap.  
The bird house vent cover is purely decorative and wire mesh will prevent birds from settling in and starting their home and families.  The rustic wood plank top to the table was another idea I had to change up the look of my 20 year old wire patio furniture. 
 Planks were simply place on the top of the wire table and then strapped together underneath with thinner pine boards on each end to keep the plank top in place.  Then I  upgraded the chairs to an outdoor wicker set in brown ( shown in the previous photo) that I found at Lowes Home Improvement stores.  These changes made a big difference.
Spend a little time doing some winter planning and Spring daydreaming 
to get the jump on your own outdoor living plan.  
Whether you are a weekend warrior or have more time, 
as I do now, the efforts will reward you on a daily basis.  
My family loves this space that I dreamt up, and so do I.
The cherry on the top of our beautiful courtyard is that Matthew Mead photographed it for his spring issue of Upstyled Home for his special Outdoor Edition (due in Spring 2017).  I have seen the layouts of all the garden spaces, patios, porches and the like, and know that if you are looking for outdoor inspiration with real ideas with remarkable results, you will LOVE this issue!  My own space looked more  amazing when it was presented in print.  I was so proud of it, and it wasn't that hard.  It was an idea that came together with a "things to do" list, and one by one I checked them off.  So get dreaming now, make a list, and then turn your own outdoor space into a wonderful place.  From small secret gardens to family size gathering spots, enhance what you have, 
and it may become your own favorite DIY project too!
PS.  I just learned I landed the cover shot!!
Can I tell you how excited I am about this??!!
A dream come true, now I just have to wait for April to come.

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  1. Amy I have that exact same metal table set (from Caldor! 20 years ago at least.) The wood table top idea is genius and I will keep it in mind. (I've even used the metal top as a stencil for alcohol ink spray!) This year I want to turn the large dog run that the previous owners left us into a garden with a fire pit and gravel courtyard in the middle, so I'll use your account as a guide. The new MM maggie sounds wonderful, let us know when it's available at B&N.

    1. Yes I think I could have gotten my set at Caldors too! It was ready for an update, and this was super easy.

  2. I love your courtyard and outdoor spaces and cannot wait to see in it Matthew's magazine!!

  3. I love that outdoor area of yours, Amy. It is just gorgeous and I bet it does look beautiful in print. I will look for it when it comes out. I am not doing any outdoor planning this year because I am not sure we will be here for the season. xo Diana

    1. I understand that, and when and if you move, you will be filled with inspiring ideas of how to make your house a home. Its one of my most favorite things to do!!

  4. I wish I could keep my outdoors as charming as you do yours! congrats to Matthew!!!

  5. i have a lonnnnnng way to go here at the fixer upper and am inspired by all your hard work! keep going and congrats on this well deserved feature. peace to you. xox

    1. You have done amazing things and offer so much inspiration on your blog!


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