Our Outdoor Paradise

The Spring after we moved into our house, we got to work implementing a landscaping plan to make the outdoors suit us.  The deck was built with the house, but we knew we needed more space, so we had the patio added.  We also began planting trees.  So, below was phase one for the first Spring.

Patio - before when built

Then, the following Spring we added the seat wall with the landscape lights.  I should note, that for the trees and the patio building, we used a professional landscaper.  After the wall was in, we began to add more plants and shrubbery around the patio.  Bob and I did all of the additional planting.  This view also shows what our old patio set looks like, the one we lost in the storm last Fall.

Patio - Spring 2009

Now, with our new patio set and a few more years of growth, the patio and landscape looks a bit different.

Patio - view from the yard to the back of the house

It’s amazing to compare the pictures and see what changes over the five years since we moved in.

Patio - view from yard up close

We bought the chairs and loveseat for the deck the first Summer.  It has held up well.  We just use the chair covers to keep it protected from the weather.  I’ve added side tables and the additional seat/foot stool for some extra comfort.  Sitting on the deck is especially nice because we are protected on both sides with the house.  It’s a nice retreat on many days.

Patio - conversation area on deck

When we went to find a new patio set last Fall, we decided it would be nice to get an oval shape so that we could increase the seating from 4-6 at the table.  We were able to find the set on clearance at Sears.  Unfortunately, there was not an umbrella with the set, so I found that one at Target this Spring.  And, I showed you how I made the pillows for the chairs on the end here.  These pictures are from the afternoon, and you can see the house begins to shade the deck and patio.

Patio - View from patio doors

The trees in the distance started out pretty short too, about 6 feet when we planted them.  When we first moved in, there were no houses in our view either.

Patio - patio table from deck

I like the oval table, because I can finally add some decorative accents in the middle.  With the round table, there was never room.  We also went with no glass this time, we didn’t want to risk the shattered mess that we had after the storm.

Patio - New table chairs and umbrella

Patio - view from the lilac bush to the patio and deck

And, now some plant and flower pictures because everything is so green and lush right now.  Plus, it is a limited window that my little lilac bush is in bloom.  I added the rocks into the landscaping this year around each of the rain spouts and drains.  It is working quite well to prevent all the mulch from washing away.  The one pictured below is a pop-up drain from running the spouting underneath the patio.

Patio - landscaping around crape myrtle and pop up drain

I tried different annuals in my flower pots this year.  I can’t wait to see how they grow.

Patio - flower pots and coreopsis and daisies

Does anyone else take pictures of your landscaping so that you can look back and see how it changes?  I was taking pictures to remember ours long before blogging ever entered my mind. But, I also have been known to include them in my scrapbook too.

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The conclusion of our Curacao Trip

As I prepared this post, I got distracted by all of our Curacao pictures all over again.  We had such a wonderful time, and got to truly experience the island.  I’m sharing one last set of pictures to give a few more of the highlights of our trip.  We stayed in two locations on the island.  The first half of the week, we stayed at the Santa Barbara Beach and Golf Resort.  It was tucked away on one side of the island, and was a very serene setting.

The beach

Curacao - Santa Barbara Resort Beach

The pool

Curacao - Santa Barbara Resort Pool

The main part of the hotel and restaurants

Curacao - Santa Barbara Resort - Hotel and Dining Area

And, the landscape around the resort.

Curacao - Santa Barbara Resort - Property

For the second half of our trip, we moved to the other side of the island, at Marazul Dive Resort in Westpunt.  We chose to stay in a vacation rental by owner, and had a great experience.  We had never done that before, but we are so glad we did because it was great.  The pictures of the place we stayed were exactly how they were listed on the rental website.  The owners provided us with helpful information in advance of our stay, and the property managers welcomed us after our arrival.

We had a beautiful view from our balcony.

Curacao - Marazul Dive Resort - View

Here are some views of the nature of Curacao:

Curacao - Yellow and black bird on deck

Curacao - Iguana close-up

Curacao - Flamingos in water

Curacao - Cactus

Curacao - Pink-Red Flowers

Curacao - Iguana in leaves on rock

Curacao - Tropical Bird

Curacao - Purple Flowers

Overall, it was a wonderful vacation.  Curacao is a beautiful place.  We enjoyed our whole trip.  You can find more of Curacao here and here, in case you missed the other highlights.

Where is your favorite vacation spot?

Spring Dreams

I’ve found myself lacking inspiration lately, and I was struggling to figure out why.  Then, it hit me…..I’m longing for Spring!

I want to sit on the patio and enjoy the longer daylight hours, maybe even enjoy a fire.

Spring Dreams - chimnea

I’m really missing the beautiful colors of Spring.

Spring Dreams - Tiger Lillies

Spring Dreams  - Daisy

Spring Dreams - Pansies with knockout roses

Spring Dreams - Coreopsis

Spring Dreams - Lillies

Spring Dreams  - Impatiens

Spring Dreams - Coreopsis close-up

I can’t take credit for the lilies, the white and tiger lilies are from my mother-in-law’s house.  But, all the other flowers are from our house, and they bloom in the spring.  I’m so anxious to see them pop open this year.  I know it will be a little while before I see them though, so I’m hoping I can find some inspiration soon.

So, how about you, anyone else longing for Spring?  Am I the only one struggling to stay inspired during the short, grey, winter days?  Any ideas for sparking inspiration?