Over the past several years I’ve begun to take a real interest in our outside spaces. I think it began in our old house when I realized I’d run out of places to spruce up inside 🙂 Our current home has lots of good outside spaces, but also lots that we’d love to do. This marks our third summer here. Each year we do a little bit more and each year we inch closer to our dream yard. I thought it would be fun to begin documenting our progress with an annual Summer Yard Tour, so welcome to the first edition!
I generally love the look of the front of our house. (Which is still funny for me to think about because this is just NOT a house I ever, ever would have imagined living in.) But the front beds have needed work since the day we moved in. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve likely seen my stories about how some of the changes we have been wanting to make.
Our goal for this year was to clean up the front so it looks a little more well kept. We had a pretty good idea of what phase 1 of this project should be – plant removal and mulch. I should also clarify that my part of this project was 0% physical. I provided input on the work that should be done, encouragement to the help (I married a good one there), and water when needed. After the big work was done I got to go and play with pretty flowers for the finishing touch.
I am not a landscaping or flower/plant expert (like at all), but I do know that bushes with thorns when you have two small kids isn’t a good idea right next to a walkway. When we moved in the front beds were planted with 9 red rose bushes. Since we never cared for the roses and planned to removed them we didn’t prune or take care of them at all which meant that they never bloomed. They just sat there looking all scraggly.
One of the larger struggles with our home is that we have very little privacy and we live on a corner lot. The fast and easy solution would be to add a privacy fence. I have a tendency to never do things the easy way (#cursed) and also a love for natural privacy. Therefore a fence isn’t something we are currently interested in adding. We added a few emerald arborvitae last summer. I wish we would have done juniper instead because I now hear that they grow faster. Whoops.
We haven’t settled into a solid plan on what to do privacy wise. Our open yard has allowed us to meet so many neighbors because anytime we are outside and people walk by they always stop for a chat, it’s lovely! I hate to lose that community aspect but I do crave for a bit of space where we can feel like we aren’t always on display.
One of the wonderful things about our house is that it has a walkout patio from the main living room. For fun here are some of the listing photos from when we bought the house:
Unfortunately the tree that was out here had to be removed. It was far too close to the foundation and was in horrible condition. When it lost its leaves in the fall it actually looked like the whomping willow from Harry Potter. For real. We loved the idea of it out there but it was causing some issues and just couldn’t stay. You can also see that the previous owner loved plants and also, I believe, tried to create a green privacy screen on the side of the patio with potted plants.
We haven’t done much out here. The listing photos probably look a little better because of the tree. We added a fire pit and removed half of a large ‘L’ shaped flower bed that was around the corner of the patio. You can’t really see it in the listing photos. Since our lot isn’t large we opted to remove most of the bed in lieu of sod for more green space for the kids (and less maintenance for us). We currently use the other half of the flower bed as a tiny garden. We like the garden but mostly we just haven’t gotten around to taking it out yet and didn’t like the idea of a bit dirt pit in the backyard.
(Ok, the photo above isn’t of my house or yard at all. Well, technically the bushes are from my yard. But that playhouse is my neighbors and it’s just adorable. Since you can see it from my yard I thought I’d include it here just because it’s cute.)
Our big project last summer was installing this large river rock bed on the side of the house. Normally we wouldn’t choose this in lieu of grass but it’s needed for drainage. It was a lot of heavy work but Chris did a great job. It still needs work and refining but I’m happy with how it’s looking at this stage of the game.
Ok, so let’s chat about the potting bench. I knew that I wanted to add a potting bench to this side both to help fill up the rock expanse and for extra storage. I had every intention of us building one when I passed by this one on the side of the road. It was the right size and it was already made. It’s in pretty rough shape but it’s all wood so I figured I could easily fix it up. I haven’t done anything with it yet other than add the red bins underneath. Chris hates it and nearly every man that comes by says it sticks out like a sore thumb. All the women say that it’s regular and totally fix-uppable. What do you think? Are the bones of it that bad? I will likely sand and stain it and add a bit of trim to finish it.
All of our vintage outdoor furniture got new paint last year to match the exterior of the house. The red is the same as the door color. Since the sides and back don’t have any pops of color I wanted to bring the red around to the other sides of the house too. Normally red isn’t a color I’d personally choose but I’d rather there be continuity than to make a ‘style’ choice just because I can and have it look amuck. I hesitated to go with the red bins on the potting bench (I first bought white). In the end I thought the red would be a good balance to the glider, and indeed it is.
At the end of last season the concrete planters were added. We got them from the best statuary store in Kansas City, Beverlin’s Statuary in Weston, MO. The owners of the shop worked with us to find planters that were the exact size we needed for potting boxwoods. We just got the plants in about a month ago so they are still small but eventually they’ll be a great addition in color, texture, and depth on this side of the house.
Do you like outside work? What’s your plan of attack for keeping up beds?
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