view from the master bedroom
It seems as soon as summer hits, out the window goes anything indoors. All of our focus has been on getting the outdoor space to be as close to perfect as possible. Sometimes with all of the hard work, I lose sight of how much we’ve done, but these pictures that contrast when we first moved in last year with where we are now show how much we’ve accomplished.
view from the backyard
Last year, one of the first things we did was stain the deck. Upon hearing my choice of color, my mom replied, “BLACK???”. Actually, no, slate. Doesn’t it look lovely? Last year we also pulled off the hazardous seating on the edge of the deck. The wood was a bit worn, and I’m not sure they would have held up for long. You can see below what the deck looked like at the end of summer last year.
This year, we started in the spring with building the flower boxes that now hold 8 different types of grape vines (those white boxes have to stay on for a year — the after picture will look even better next year!).
the deck last year
Then I conquered my big project: recovering the couches that used to be in our living room. We picked these up at Ikea quite a few years back, and they are the most comfortable couches in the world (no joke, all of the world). My stomach was in knots when I thought I would have to get rid of them, until I hit upon the brilliant idea to paint the metal pieces with a weather resistant paint and recover the couches with outdoor fabric. I ordered the fabric from Le Toiles du Soleil in Collioure Rouge, and they turned out just as beautiful as I had envisioned. They definitely give a burst of color on the black porch, I mean, slate porch…
Originally I had planned on having our outdoor table in the side yard, but after trying that for a while (it was beautiful, I’ll show you later) I decided it just didn’t work. It felt too claustrophobic, and you felt like you were missing out on something going on in the back yard. So I moved the table out to the patio, and it feels so much better! You can hear the sound of the waterfall and the fountains, converse with people sitting on the deck couches or the side yard couches, and grill right next to the table if you want. It was a great move.
decrepit bench gone!
I’ve added another photo of the patio area. I didn’t really have before pictures that matched the angle to show this place off properly. Don’t you want to be served something yummy from Madd Hatter’s Kitchen here? Wink, wink.
the main dining area
When we were looking at this house on the market, we couldn’t figure out what in the world the blue tarp area was in the backyard. While having the home inspected, our inspector guy mentioned it was a great place for a garden due to the sunlight. Ohhh! That’s what the blue tarp is for!
While I would love to have the entire area be garden, I want to build more foliage around that side of the house to block noise from the road and from neighbors. And, given that I am smitten with the fact that i live in a place where I can have citrus trees and palm trees, I needed to find a place for such things. So my husband and I put in a lemon tree, and we’re waiting for it to grow. One day there will be branches above us while we sit at the bistro table there.
We also built the garden boxes together following instructions from Sunset magazine. I wanted to give the area a little more oomph, so we converted one of the garden boxes to a fountain. That burlap around my tomatoes is to keep the varmints out. A bit of a detractor for now, but I just got my first crop of tomatoes out, and at 4 pounds of tomatoes, I’ll deal with the eyesore!
raised garden beds
And remember those palm trees I wanted? Well, I added some of those too. I love my huge bushels of rosemary, but they don’t do much visually. So I dug these guys up and replanted them around my yard (some in the garden area, and I can happily say they transplanted well!), clearing space for some tall, spindly queen palms. Now before you say it, yes I realize how big these get, and that they may be crowded for the space in 10 years. To quote Scarlet, “I won’t think about that right now… I’ll think about it tomorrow.”