The Orange Fence is Gone!

You know those projects that start out with good intentions, but turn out to be a major miss. Since we moved into our home several years ago, my fence and I have not had a good relationship. We started out with a tall grey fence along the back that the developer put in, and a simple cedar fence was added on either side of our house. It sounded like an alright idea at the time, but I didn’t realize it would turn out to cause me so much grief.

 

 

From the minute that fence went in, I hated it (such a strong word, but nothing else would suffice!). I didn’t want to stain it to match the grey, so I thought I’d try staining over the grey to match the cedar. ‘Natural Cedar’ stain sounded like the perfect solution.

It looked okay to start with, but when the sun was shining, it gave off a terrible orange glow. I almost didn’t want to look out my back window- EVER! I ended up living with it for a while because at least it blended better with the cedar fence and looked a little more uniform. In addition, I wasn’t very excited about having to pull out the paint brush, yet again.

 

 

After not being able to go one more year looking at my orange fence, I decided to finally do something about it. I knew it would be a big project, but it was worth it to me. [Read more...]

Deck Revamp + A Privacy Partition

When we moved to our current home, one of the biggest adjustments from living in a rural area was the lack of privacy in our back yard. I’m not saying we wanted to shut our neighbors out. We just didn’t want everything on display all the time, and I think the feeling was mutual.

Over the years to help alleviate the problem, we’ve added some trees and built a stone patio that allows us to sit lower in the yard. The last thing that remained on our privacy to-do list was to construct a partition around the upper deck.

What we started with was a small upper deck that was here when we moved in. I was grateful to have something, but the painted spindles were challenging to maintain and I never felt comfortable spending time on it. It was definitely time to do something about it.

 

Revamping an Existing Deck

 

After some research, sketching and careful planning, we started the deck revamp process. My son put his power tool skills to work and began taking down the spindles. Of course my husband had to try to show him up (competition is always in full force between the two!).

 

Deck Revamp

[Read more...]

Summer Entertaining Al Fresco Style

With the onset of warm weather, we find ourselves dining outside as much as possible. One of my favorite things to do over the summer months is entertain outside. I find it more casual and everyone just seems to relax and have a great time. Usually we start the party in the kitchen with beverages and appetizers, but we always dine al fresco (weather permitting), and as soon as it turns a bit chilly, we sit around a fire on our stone patio well in to the evening. It’s summer perfection!

 

Decorating for Casual Summer Dining

 

We purchased our round table and chairs a few years ago, which work well for the size of our upper deck. (If you noticed the chairs are missing their wooden arms, it’s because I’m currently re-finishing them.)

This year I wanted to brighten my outdoor decor up a bit, incorporating blue and yellow along with the existing grey.

 

Casual Summer Entertaining with Mason Jars

[Read more...]

Outdoor Extravaganza {Plants & Flowers Recap}

Over the past few weeks, I have enjoyed getting our back yard ready for patio dining, entertaining and some Sunday afternoon relaxing. Although the weather hasn’t always been cooperative, I have managed to get most of the planting done for the year, as well as a few other projects I’ll be sharing in the coming weeks.

I am thrilled to be part of the Outdoor Extravaganza and was super impressed with the Plants & Flowers Projects that were linked up last week. Did you take a look yet?

Container Garden in Wine Boxes

I’m inspired to find some wine boxes for a container garden like this one created by Linsey of LLH Designs.

 

French Peat Pots with Succulents

These French peat pots with succulents by With a Dash of Color make the perfect summer party favor or hostess gift.

[Read more...]

Kitchen Container Potager + Outdoor Extravaganza Link Party

I was hit with the gardening bug at a very young age. Growing up in the country, we planted a huge garden every year, and eating fresh vegetables and freezing or canning the remainder was the norm. When my husband and I bought our first house, we were fortunate to have a large back yard with a good-sized garden. There was something therapeutic about tending it, watching it evolve and creating meals based on what was ready to eat. Fast forward to our current home and our backyard is quite small and sloped, making it difficult to grow much more than a few trees, shrubs and some perennials. Since we moved here 8 years ago, most of my vegetable gardening has been limited. I’ve grown the occasional tomato plant, as well as a few herbs, but most of our produce comes from the grocery store or the occasional farmer’s market.

This year I decided to try something a little different and create a kitchen garden, or potager as referred to in France. Kitchen potagers typically feature patterned beds where herbs, edible flowers and fruits co-exist with carefully selected vegetables to produce fresh food and flowers to the kitchen table throughout the growing season. Given the limited space I’m faced with, I thought I’d create a mini form of this garden in containers.

 

Kitchen Potager in Burlap Containers

 

When planning a potager, color, flavor, fragrance and aesthetics are all important factors. To get it right, I decided to make a list of herbs I like to cook with, the high-yielding vegetable and fruit plants requiring a small amount of space, and some good companion flowers. I found most of these at a few local garden centers.

For containers, I decided to use burlap garden bags that I reinforced with pieces of wood at the top and filled with a mix of potting soil and organic compost.

 

Bracing for Burlap Garden Bag

 

In one container, I planted a patio tomato with a few varieties of lettuce. I placed an obelisk over the tomato plant for support.

 

Kitchen Container Potager with Tomato and Lettuce

[Read more...]