Friday, July 29, 2011

Side Yard

First of all let me say thanks for all the deck suggestions. I think I have a game plan and I can't wait to execute it in...October or at least when it cools down. Until then I am going to stop being embarrassed about the deck and actually entertain more outside.

So onto today, I have the long story of our side yard and how fast shrubs grow...

talk about embarrassing- I actually had several parties with the yard like this

When we moved in our house 2 years ago our back yard was fenced in with chain link and we had a little deck off the kitchen that wasn't in the fence. We wanted it in the fence so Claire could spend time with us while we were outside. So we decided to fence in the side yard with a wood privacy fence.

You can see in the first picture (which was taken the first time we drove by the house July 2008) the left side of the house doesn't have the fence. In the second pic you can see the addition.

The side yard started out weedy grassy. We left it this way until we decided how to landscape.

We knew that the area wasn't big enough for grass, plants, and a purpose and since it wasn't covered I didn't want to waste the space with a table sitting in the hot sun. After looking out the kitchen window at ugliness for too long Eric cleared out all the weeds and we came up with a plan.

We wanted to have landscape around the perimeter and gravel in the middle with chairs and a fire pit. Eric put down the black lining to keep annoying weeds out of the gravel. We had some flagstone left over from our front walkway so he broke them up and used as a border,cementing the stones into place. We do wish we raised the flagstone a bit because it would be easier to sweep the pine straw off of it.

We filled it in with gravel instead of water-should have made it a little pool. We finally found gravel that I was happy with at Lowes. We learned if you buy the bags with a rip they are half off and still usually full of gravel since they place them in clear garbage bags. Score!

For the shrubs we kept it simple and used Niko hydrangeas, loropetalum, gardenias and double knockout roses. I really wanted to have some green out there even during the winter enter loropetalum & gardenia.

Ok sorry about that ridiculous picture which was taken as a joke but it is the only one we have of the plants right when they were planted. Last summer it was so hot and dry we had to cut back the hydrangeas to save them, but they all came back this year. Eric did end up irrigating the area which is great because we haven't lost any plants this summer. He just used a simple irrigation system bought at Lowes.

What a difference a year makes! Look how big our plants have grown. This was taken before we cut the knockout roses down to half the plant, they were taking over! The hydrangeas are getting too big for the space so they will be transplanted to the back yard.

We have since added day lilies, native grasses, cone flowers, lavender and some blackeyed suzies. I have an OBSESSION with clearance perennials at Lowes. Seriously it make me happier than anything in the summer when I see cone flowers for $1 so that is when we buy our perennials.

I stained our adirondak chairs with outdoor stain and love the way they look, although they did get a little banged up during a hail store. I love to sit in the chairs and read.

We were originally going to take down the chain link fence between the side/deck and main backyard. Once we moved in and spent time in the backyard we liked the barrier and being able to close it off to Claire.

While functional, the chain link fence was ugly and in bad shape. Much to Eric's dismay he and my dad took down the chain link and put up the picket fence. I wasn't aware of some issues with a gate and the wood fence so long story short we no longer have the gates to shut Claire out. That sort of defeaters the purpose of a fence but the landscaping was already set so we had to have some sort of border. And it looks so much better than the beat up chainlink.

Forget the gates, what we really need is a fence around my little garden. Claire likes to help herself to the veggies, squash is her favorite.

Unfortunately it is very hot during the summer and the skeeters are rampant so we don't get to use the space very much. Come fall we will use the space more.

We are almost finished with the backyard, we just have the shrubs in the back non-sodded part of the yard. Eric planted 20 hydrangeas! & 3 dogwood trees this week in the back part but hopefully by fall he will spec the rest of the shrubs and our backyard will be complete.

Hope you all have a great weekend! Football practice starts next week so it is pretty much our Eric's last free weekend until December :(

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Deck Paint?

Ugh to our deck why do you have to be so difficult?

I guess I should quit whining because I am grateful to have this space, even with worn out wood and peeling paint. When we moved in our deck was painted this red color and it was an ugly hot color, not like a good red.

Oh and you want to know something special. See those foot prints? They are mine from when the house was getting ready to go on the market and we would sneak over and look in the windows. The deck paint was wet and I got foot prints all over it. If I had only know that a year later we would buy the house I would have taken a hose to the wet paint.

Right when we moved in I painted it in stripes-only pic I can find.

But never got around to painting the red side boards.

2 years later and the paint has faded, worn and chipped off. We thought about sanding the paint off but paint that is in between the boards would show. It was decided we would start over with a fresh wood deck but keep the old supports. My dad came to town to help with the project but he and Eric couldn't pry the old boards off. The screws were stripped so only 1 board was replaced :(

This is how my sad little deck looks today

I have given up my dreams of a wood deck so now I am trying to decide what color to paint it. Any suggestions????????????

The colors in the back are grey house, green door, and orange fabric.

(photo taken last year, the door trim is now a creamy white)

I am thinking just match the house but that is sort of boring. Maybe a mix between the house and the door color? Please help a sister out!

Friday, July 22, 2011

BBQ pork

Sooo did you have a good weekend? Ours was good I spent a little time at the pool, picked a ton of blueberries, cleaned out some closets while Eric finished up repiping the house, planting another flower bed, and mowing the grass-well I mowed the front yard. You know the usual.

Friday night we had a crock pot meal for the first time since winter, I've missed my crock pot.
I made a version of BBQ Pork and it was sooo good, we've been eating the leftovers for 3 days. Here is a quick 2 ingredient recipe my friend Brigitte introduced me to a couple of years ago.

All you need:

Apple Cider Vinegar

Pork Tenderloin (mine was about 1.25lbs, made 5 sandwiches)
Put pork in crock pot and add about an inch of the vinegar. Cook on low for 8 hours.

Shred and add sauce but it is still great without sauce. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Our Fav Quick Supper

Ok so if you know how to cook real Cajun food you may want to avert your eyes. But if you don't then let me introduce you to our favorite meal.....

Vigo Red Beans & Rice. I am unusually not a fan of prepackaged cajun food but on a whim I threw this little jewel into my buggy. Since then we have eaten it at least once a week. Yes that implies that we have eaten it more than once a week on occasion. Add half of a pack of sausage and omit the butter. It is soooo hot when cooked so let it cool for about 10 minutes before eating.
The meal wouldn't be complete without the costar Jiffy Sweet Cornbead. I don't remember ever having this awesomeness growing up, we ate real made from scratch cornbread. But one of the perks of marriage is the blending of favorite foods and I have grown to love this little box. At only 40 cents you can't go wrong. I make ours in muffin cups so I can freeze a batch and thaw as needed.

Shoot em Liz, shoot em, shoot em!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pinterest 3

Ok so I am back today with the next to last of my Pinterest dumps. Once again I don't know the sources so if you do please comment so I can give credit.
From the amount of repins from these posts it looks like everyone is enjoying the pinterest cleanouts. If not it will soon be over (again)! To see all my boards CLICK HERE.

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