Inspiration to Reality {Backyard Updates}

It probably comes as no surprise to learn that Monday's inspiration post was the lead up to an easy and reasonable backyard update. Take a peek at our newest garden ornament addition. 

There are so many things to love about these concrete orbs… to name but a few: a little pop of interest in a green space and a great filler while waiting for plants to grown in.

Lucky me, I received both as birthday presents this year. Initially I had them placed side by side, but eventually flanked the boarding bed with them - even I'm a sucker for symmetry.

Remember when I said this was a reasonable addition to the garden - yeah, they're from Target. I could barely believe it myself. #TargetDoesItAgain
Go on and get yourself some. 

until next time, 

Defining the Space

The backyard makeover madness project continues! 
(Read where we left off here.) Are you getting sick of it yet? We are the ones living through it and while it's exciting to see progress, we are eager to get the yard into usable shape for the summer months.  

Over the weekend our yard went from this…

to this.

I'd like to tell you that we slaved all weekend creating and edging new beds, laying pine straw and generally giving the yard the overall cleanup its been craving since we moved in, but it wasn't us. We had family visiting instead.

Side note: John made this recipe and it was Yum!

Truth is, sometimes you have to weigh the time and energy vs. the overall cost and decide where your priorities lie for each project. In this case, we decided to hire in to save ourselves, what would inevitably be, most weekends this summer trying to get the yard in shape. 

Anywho, now that we've established that, back to the project at hand - the planning and planting of the new backyard beds. As you can see, we went for an undulating shape to add some interest to the property line. In my opinion, there's not much worse than a straight bed running the length of your property line. Talk about boring! You've got to treat your outdoor spaces like your indoor rooms. You wouldn't just line the walls of a room with all your furniture, now would you!?! 

Unfortunately, one of our biggest issues at hand is this awful, dead hedge which is maintained by our neighbors. Initially, our thoughts were to rip the whole thing out and start afresh, but now that the beds are defined we can see that there is enough space to simply add our own privacy screen. Yeah for that. But what to plant?
Maybe Cameillas - wouldn't that just be a beautiful hedge?

A cameilla hedge, or any hedge for that matter, will be a pricey number so we'll probably just focus on this little area for now. This bump-out is directly across from the breakfast room windows, in other words, we really want it to be full and beautiful and dramatic. Thus far, we have transplanted a couple of hydrangea from other areas in the yard. More ideas are peonies, lilac, knock out roses, grasses, lavender, catmint.
Very Patina Farm, you know.
As always, we're open to all ideas and would love to hear what any experienced Southern gardeners have to say…
Meanwhile, I'll be thumbing thru this book for more inspiration.
So, how was your weekend? 

until next time, 

I Need Your Opinion

Now that our kitchen garden is in fairly decent shape, it's time to turn our attentions elsewhere in the backyard.

And I've got my eye on this unsightly area next to the neighbors shed. I think it's the perfect spot for a little kid-friendly play zone. Yes, I know, we already have a trampoline, but we're contemplating adding more. I know, right! It's a little crazy. But, we're generous like that. 
The thing is, in Chicago, we had two parks just around the corner from our house, but here we have to drive to our nearest park, which is always super crowded. And I'm telling you - I miss the easy access to a playset. Now that the girls are getting older, they want to be out climbing and swinging and generally wreaking havoc :)

So, we've broken it down to three options and I need your advice. 

Option 1. A two swing, swing set. 
Our neighbor has generously offered to relocate his no-longer-being-used swing set. Similar to the above picture, it has a metal frame and room for two swings.
This is, clearly, the most cost effective option. But we already have a swing in the front yard and I don't know how long this will hold the girls attention.

Option 2. A small, but standard swing set.
Probably the most expensive option of the 3, but also the most all around option that will offer all types of play - climbing, swinging, fort/imaginative play, etc. 
Again, it's a big investment and I wonder about the longevity factor. Tessa will be 6 this year, how many more years will she be using a playset?

Option 3. A Clubhouse. 
When I came across this image a couple of years ago, it literally stopped me in the my tracks. How cute is this? I think the girls would love it. We would perhaps include more play/activity areas like a climbing wall, ladder, tire swing, slide, etc, but fundamentally I wouldn't change the concept because it's just so stinking cute. 
But, the reality is, this will be expensive too and there's definitely a shelf life on a playhouse as well. 

So, you see, we really need your input! Tessa's birthday is quickly approaching and we'd like to have a decision by then. Tell us your thoughts in the comment section. Don't hold back. Please!

until next time, 

7 Months in the Making

It's taken 7 long months to complete the simplest of tasks. 

Moving the trampoline to the corner of the yard. I know, it sound silly. But it's the truth and it's made all the difference in our backyard makeover. 
See it way back there? 
Yup, we've wanted it back there from the beginning, but the yard was a mess when we moved in. The back half was a "natural" area, which we've since torn out, regraded and seeded.
{ Read more about that here.}
 This weekend, the new grass had it's inaugural mow, which meant the trampoline could officially be moved into its new home - just a short 7 months post move in date. 

Phew, what an accomplishment. I know it doesn't sound like a lot, but sometimes it's the smallest changes that make the biggest difference. So much so, that I had to take a moment of rest on the new patio in the back corner of the kitchen garden and enjoy the view {first picture}.

Speaking of the garden, we managed to get the wall planter hung, the rosemary planted, as well as the last of the plants (for now). There's always room for more!

John's new pole saw was put to the test, again, with more aggressive tree trimming. This time our front yard cherry tree fell victim. More on that later :)
Yup, it was another beautiful weekend in the garden. A girl could really get used to this. 

Hope you had a lovely weekend, too.

until next time, 

Progress Report: Backyard

When it comes to outside space, the kitchen garden isn't the only area we are working on. We're also tackling the backyard. Remember the ideas we outlined here? Well, work is officially underway.

Thanks to this guy that came to play.
After a lot of research and time spent on Angie's List, we settled on this company. Other than some scheduling issues mostly due to this crazy winter, we can't complain. Down to earth, affordable, helpful, and very fast working.

Our yard has gone from this…
(Which actually looks pretty nice, but didn't utilize all the available space. In a smallish yard, too much was dedicated to "natural space". Not to mention the swamp that occurred every time it rained.)

To this.
No more small grass patch surrounded by "natural space". AKA monkey grass, old compost pile, salt lick, scraggly old bushes, roots, weeds and other potential snake hangouts. 

A freshly seeded blank slate. 
Sometimes starting over is the best decision.

until next time,