Monday, June 29, 2015

Backyard Tour, 2015!

Well hello there! I've got a ton of pics for you today! I figured since it's rained approximately 20 out of the past 22 days, I'd share the backyard garden tour now. Everything is CRAZY lush and full and it's insane how much everything is growing right now. 

I've shared this tour for the past few years and I love showing off our backyard. I've worked crazy hard on it! Gardening is a passion of mine and I love adding to it every year. We picked this lot for the tree line behind the house, but the yard itself had quite a slope to it. The size was great, it's just with the slope it was hard to do much with it. The first thing we did was have a huge deck built on the back about a year after we moved in. 

Then years ago after we paid off our massive debt and had saved up for months, we added our first big project to this house in the form of a stone patio and a fireplace. We live in a neighborhood with houses right next to us on both sides but our backyard feels like a true, private oasis. We absolutely LOVE it. 

The latest addition was just a few weeks ago when we had the pergola built. Other than staining that and the deck later this fall we are done with big projects out here. :) 

The plants were all picked by me and most were planted by me as well. This is the view as you come around the side of our house: 

black mulch in garden

I have to show you how much everything has grown! This was that same view last year: 

backyard garden

If I had waited just another week or so, that hydrangea bush would be blooming like mad again. :)

But do you see how much the maples have grown?? We need to do some serious trimming because between the hydrangea growing bigger than ever and the trees, we can barely walk through there. 

This is what cracks me up about those trees -- they used to sit in the front yard and would NOT grow. They would grow all oompa loompa like with the leaves right up the middle and nothing else. We replaced them a long time ago and had them planted back here and after a year they absolutely shot up. They are huge now -- almost taller than the house. For a lot that's only a little over eleven years old I love having tall trees like these: 

backyard garden dark mulch
Those burning bushes were actually bigger than that a couple years ago, but during a really harsh winter a couple seasons ago, the snow was piled up to the top of them and the bunnies ate them down to the ground. We weren't even sure they would survive. It was insane how much damage they did -- that winter sucked. :)

I found this old pic to show you how different this area looks now: 

The trees have grown ten feet in four years, easy. 

One of my favorite things to do every day or two is walk around the garden and check out the blooms on the plants. This limelight hydrangea is one of my favorites and I've been watching for blooms: 

limelight hydrangea

I didn't check on it for a few days because of rain and I went out over the weekend to see it -- I couldn't even believe how much it had grown. It is MASSIVE. I literally stood out there and gasped because it had grown about two feet wider. And there are a ton of blooms -- it's going to be gorgeous this year! 

Here's the size of it last month to give you an idea how much it's grown in all this rain: 

The pergola is our pride and joy right now. We didn't build it but it's still our pride and joy. Ha! I did end up changing the design of the outdoor lights: 
pergola on deck
I shared more about the lights and how much we love them here. One of my readers shared how they hung theirs like this and the more I looked at it the more I liked it. It was SO much easier to install this way too -- I just used nails for now (there's a hole on each light for installation). I did some measurements and the two strands covered the beams exactly. This way they'll be much easier to remove when we stain too. 

My peony is done blooming but I always keep the green till next spring. You'll notice a trend as we walk around the garden. Hydrangeas. And more hydrangeas. 

I'm obsessed: 

wood pergola with lights

Another favorite of mine are knock out roses. I was late in pruning this year so this one isn't nearly as big as in years past. I love that they are constantly blooming and giving the backyard color: 

knock out roses

One of my favorite spots is down around the corner behind the fireplace. Years back I planted the two pee gee hydrangea trees and they are my favorite. (I say that about a lot of things back here but I really dig these.) The blooms get absolutely massive. It will be July before we'll see flowers on there: 

hydrangeas in landscaping

They are cone-shaped white blooms that turn the most gorgeous pinkish green in the fall. I adore them. 

I planted a climbing hydrangea years ago and it's never bloomed -- fingers crossed for next year. I love that it creeps up the stone though.

Around the corner from there are…wait for it. Hydrangeas: 

lacecap hydrangeas

I have close to 20 now between the back and front. I can't get enough. Every year it is an ongoing struggle for me -- I want to cut off the blooms and bring them all inside. But they bring me so much joy out here too, even if it's just us that sees them most of the time. 

Here's a view from the bottom of our yard up to the house: 

deck and patio in backyard

I say the bottom because of the slope back there. I think they told us it was like ten feet down from the back of the house. We don't have much to mow but it is a workout with the steep grade. 

Around the corner from the back is the playset and my butterfly garden. :) I started it last year and finished it up last month: 

patio with pergola
I haven't seen many butterflies yet, but at at least it's all growing! 

One of my favorite parts of the backyard are the natural looking stones in the landscaping. A friend of ours did the hardscaping (and the patio) and they did such a beautiful job:
rocks as stepping stones

The fireplace was a splurge -- it is absolutely wonderful on fall evenings: 

stone fireplace outside

We use it throughout the summer on cooler nights too. 

We have a ton of entertaining space out here -- it really is a dream come true to have this beautiful backyard. I use my DIY potting bench all the time for planting, but it's also the perfect spot for food and drinks when we entertain out here: 

DIY potting bench

Some of you wanted to see how the pergola fit in with the rest of the patio and hopefully this helps give you an idea: 

patio with fireplace

This was that view years ago before the patio was built: 


Look at my baby! So little!! Sniff. 

Around the other side I have more knock out bushes and one of my newest favorites -- the lamb's ear: 


Those are growing like mad this year too and for the first time have flowers! I had no idea they flowered -- they are the coolest plants (and great in full sun). 

Well that's the tour for you this year. Whew! I cut this down from well over 100 pics. I kind of love it. :) Every year I add a little more to the landscaping -- this year it was the butterfly garden. I'll have to show you more of that when everything is blooming. I have only purchased ONE hydrangea this year and that is for the front of the house, so be proud of me. :) 

I hope you enjoyed the tour! We are crazy lucky to have this space and thoroughly enjoy it. I'll share the pergola again later in early fall when we are able to stain it: 

pergola on deck

If you have questions about anything please feel free to ask! To see last year's tour of the backyard go here and to see how much it's changed since we had the patio put in four years ago, go here. (Even I was surprised at how different the landscaping looks!) 

Friday, June 26, 2015

One Wall at a Time (Master Bedroom)

Hello there! Thanks for the well wishes, I'm feeling great and there's big progress in the master bedroom! It's about time, seriously.

I started the redo on this space two years ago (gah!) when I made our tufted headboard for cheap. It kicked off lots of changes in here and I've loved every one of them along the way. The paneled gray wall was the next big project and I left the other walls the original color till I had time to paint: 

tornado watch paint color

Apparently I haven't had time in two years. ;) 

I know it looks like I purposely took the worst before photo possible, but this is how the space looked -- a mess. It was a drop zone and the gallery wall I was never in love with -- I just kind of put stuff up. And the desk/console (I thought it was a desk and many of you thought it was a TV console and I think you're right! Ha!) was a paint job gone wrong and it has sat up here since. It was never supposed to be there long and then you know what happens...

The dark gray and the old gray green color didn't look too bad together, unless you looked up close: 


And the walls in here are an absolute MESS. This color has been on the walls for nearly 11 years and it shows. I've hung tons of stuff and over the years so there are a bunch of holes and scuffs and dust and it was a mess. It looked so dirty and gross close up. 

I've decided to tackle one wall at a time in here since the ceiling goes so high. It's a bit terrifying to get the upper corners and the large wall our TV is on, so I'm taking my time. And each wall will get some minor changes along with the paint anyway. 

The color I've had sitting and waiting for over a year is a Benjamin Moore color called Whitestone -- I have all my paints mixed in Sherwin Williams because I just prefer it. I did a satin finish and it took two coats to get the green covered up. I loved it immediately!: 

perfect light gray paint color

I mean, LOVE! So much better! This really is a lovely light gray color. It doesn't lean any weird way like purple or pink -- it's definitely has a darker base that gives you a true gray. 

If you remember, I talked here about how couldn't decide between a dark and cozy bedroom and a light and bright one. So I decided to not decide and do both. ;) The dark headboard wall gives us the cozy and these walls are a welcome change that completely brighten up the rest of the space. 

I pulled a skinny bookcase from the living room (I have a new project in mind for the spot it was in) and this works SO much better here:   

sitting area bedroom

I absolutely love it all -- the new wall color is wonderful and I seriously can't wait to get moving on the rest of the walls (even though my hands are sweating at the thought of climbing the ladder that high). And I just love that etagere there! It was so busy and crowded before. 

This opens up things considerably: 

bookcase with cut outs

I literally just threw some stuff on here to share it today -- but I'm actually pretty happy with it. We have a TON of books and are running out of room for them on our huge DIY bookcase in the old dining room (because I like to have a little decor on there as well). Since we read so often in bed it's nice to have a spot for them here too. 

I've been thrilled with the transformation every step of the way and this new wall color has me so excited to get this space done. I am sloth-like when it comes to making over most rooms but it helps me to make decisions that I'm happy with long term. :) 

I'm adding the new wall color to that list! Here's the before again as a reminder: 

tornado watch paint color

And the after that I love so much more: 

whitestone paint color benjamin moore

The bonus is I didn't spend a dime to do it! :) I mean, other than paint. But if you buy it a year ago does that even count? 

If you have any questions about the master bedroom you can see the progress here or feel free to ask in the comments. :) Hope you have a wonderful weekend!!