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.


DIY Spring Wreath

Spring Wreath - DIY Spring Wreath at Puddy's House

Our front door had been bare since I took down our Christmas wreath.  I had been searching for something wintery and never found what I wanted, so I waited long enough to just move on to a Spring wreath.  I didn’t have any spring flowers in my supplies, and I actually considered just buying a wreath, but when I looked at the store they were really pricey and just seemed sparse.  I like a full wreath.  I knew I had a bare grapevine wreath in my supplies, either from Goodwill or a yardsale.  It seemed like it might be a little small, I think it is the 12″ size, but I decided to give it a try.

Spring Wreath - plain grapevine wreath - before

I went to Michael’s and the spring flowers were on sale 50% off.  I bought 3 bunches – Hydrangeas, berries, and then what they label as bush grass with mini flower spray.  I spent $17.99 on all 3.  Not necessarily cheap, at least from my perspective, but still better than the cost of the wreaths I saw and didn’t like.

Spring Wreath - 3 bunches of flowers berries and spray

I used my wire cutters to separate each individual flower, spray or berry spray.  For each stem of the bush flower sprays, I separated into 3 little stems so that I would have more options for filling my wreath.

Spring Wreath - flower spray - separated into 3 individual sprays

I ended up separating all the leaves from the hydrangea stems too.  I hadn’t used leaves in wreaths I created in the past, but I felt like this one needed it.

Spring Wreath - individual leaves

I started with the hydrangeas as my base and spread them around the wreath, just inserting the stems in between the grapevines.  I didn’t use anything else to hold them in.  This is when I realized I needed the leaves – it looked bare without them in between the hydrangeas.  Then, I started adding in the flower sprays.

Spring Wreath - In process with hydrangea flowers leaves

And, then I just started alternating between adding the berries and the flower stems.  My process is not an exact science, it is just stuff it in and if it doesn’t look right, pull it out and put it in another spot.

Spring Wreath - In process with hydrangea flowers leaves spray and berries

After a bit of rearranging and about an hour from beginning to end, I had a new wreath for our front door, just in time to welcome Spring.

Spring Wreath - DIY wreath After

Do you hang something on your front door year-round?  Any one else make a new Spring Wreath?



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?