Monday, September 24, 2012

Backyard Blitz

As I hinted in my sneak peak, we have been very busy in the backyard this summer. Unfortunately life got in the way and it has taken me until fall to get around to posting our accomplishments...

It is amazing what you can accomplish with a deadline - in this case we wanted the yard ready for Dave's birthday party. There was no way I was inviting people over for a barbecue in a yard that looked like this:

Of course we started with the new stamped concrete patio to get rid of (some of) the dead grass.

Next up was the deck. Dave was not in love with the pressure treated wood and it had taken a considerable amount of abuse during the renovation. When he was able to get a good deal on cedar deck boards, he decided that he had to resurface the deck with cedar.

At the same time, he finally broke down and built proper steps.

To address the big gaping hole under the deck, he skirted the deck with tongue-and-groove cedar boards. No more dogs crawling under the deck and getting muddy! We did leave one board out right against the house so that Mylo the cat can get under the deck in case she is left out of the house in the rain and so she can ensure the area is mouse free.

With the deck done, we turned our attention to my favourite part - planting! Since deck area is almost completely shaded by the house I stuck with a combination of hostas, astilbes, azaleas, ferns, elephant ears and lily-of-the-valley. Against the fresh cedar mulch, I find that the combination is very reminiscent of the West Coast.

Keeping with the West Coast theme, we used the remnant black rundle stone from the raised flower beds to build a small inukshuk.

Our yard is now a small rain forest retreat in the middle of the pairie city - I am even successfully getting moss to grow on the trees!

Next we needed somewhere for everyone to sit. New furniture was just not in the budget for this year so we had to get resourceful.

The dinning set we rescued from Dave's dad's house and restored using a little teak oil and a lot of elbow grease. Although we do have plans to build a custom table with a granite remnant from the kitchen and replace the chairs next year.

The chairs originally belonged to my aunt but have been in my mom's house for years. We had borrowed one when we moved home since we had no other furniture in our living room. After scouring stores and kijiji for months trying to find an inexpensive seating option for the patio, I realized I had a free option right in front of me! I stole the second chair from my mom and found some striped outdoor fabric on sale for $10 a meter at Fabricland to recover the cushions. I was toying with the idea of painting them but when I put them outside I realised I liked how the bare wood complimented the cedar deck. I did break down and bought a garden stool from Sunnyside for $39 and two outdoor rugs from Walmart for $29. $130 for a fully furnished yard is pretty good in my books!

There are still a few minor details to be completed before we are done landscaping: the deck needs to be sealed, the front garden is only half planted, the arbours over the gates need to be built, the side yard and garden path still need mulch, the garden gate needs to be painted and installed, the concrete needs to be patched on the front steps and we want to build a second shed to store our bikes. But a lot of these projects will have to wait until next summer.

I also have a stack of beautiful fabrics waiting to become throw pillows, seat cushions and dog beds.

Vintage BlossomIkat Dot, Emilio and Mazescene, via Tonic Living

For the little remaining warm weather this year, we will be focusing on painting the windows and finishing the siding and trim.

...And enjoying our beautiful new back yard - Scout and Jersey definitely do!


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