Patio Planning

We recently started planning out a patio design for our backyard. Currently, we have 10 x 10 concrete patio but we would like to add a more useful two-tiered patio made out of pavers.

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Before we started our design for the patio, we looked online at Houzz.com and Pinterest for inspiration and unique designs. We had some of our own ideas in mind but wanted to see how others designed their patios.

Here are some Pinterest pins of patios similar to our vision for the backyard:

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After we scoured the Web for inspiration and talked through our ideas, we came up with a plan of what we wanted to incorporate in our patio design (i.e. pergola, fire pit, gardens, etc). Next, we drew this quick rough design sketch using Adobe Ideas on the iPad (don’t judge our sweet finger drawing… we needed something quick… a more elaborate sketch is in the works).

garden sketch

This sketch also helped us to decide where we are going to place our vegetable garden this year(more details to come). After the sketch was complete, we took a couple of rough measurements in the backyard so we could place the garden based on our sketch. That keeps us from having to move the garden or try to merge it in the design as an afterthought.

So what’s next? Our plan for the patio is to start building the two tiered section of the patio next year. In the meantime, we may add the fire pit this fall. With our design already planned out, we can add the sections as we want.

How do you tackle a large project like a patio? Do you hire a contractor? Do you do it yourself all at once? Or do you spread your project out and do it in smaller chunks over time?

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Hello, Hyacinths. Hello, Spring.

Spring has finally arrived! It may be nearly a month since the official start of spring, but with the trees blooming, flowers blossoming and warmer weather, it finally feels like spring.

And with spring weather, comes spring flowers! Our hyacinths are back and in full bloom.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that our hyacinths were starting to peek out of the ground. I was really worried they wouldn’t survive the late winter snow storm we had in March, but they persevered. Last week, the hyacinths’ buds were starting to pop open for the first time.

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Now they are in full bloom!
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This is the third season for our hyacinths. Two years ago, I planted them as full-grown flowers and each year they’ve come back. This fall, I might add a few more bulbs so next year we have a full row of hyacinths and tulips. I planted a few tulips when I planted the hyacinths, but I’ve only had luck with one tulip coming back each year. Time to add a few more bulbs and see if they make it through winter.
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It’s almost time to plant annuals for the summer. Here is my late spring/early summer gardening to do list:

1. Plant more petunias.

I had great success with the petunias I planted last year. Despite the severe drought, they spread across the garden and were really beautiful.

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2. Mulch

Last year we added a layer of mulch to our garden, but after several rain storms, it’s time to mulch again.

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3. Plant a vegetable and herb garden in the backyard.

I’ve got big plans for a vegetable and herb garden this year.

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I picked up these seeds at Target and it’s almost time to start planting them! BJ and I enjoy cooking with fresh vegetables and herbs and we’re hoping that if all goes well, we will have many homegrown veggies and herbs to choose from!

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There are a few more items that BJ and I thinking about adding to our garden list for the year, such as edging the gardens with stone, but for now, we are going to focus on our first three items and add more as we go. Do you have any big plans for your garden(s) this year?

Spring is in the air…


It seems that I’ve caught Spring Fever. No, it’s not the latest strand of the of flu, it’s more like the longing for warmer days and plentiful sunshine.

The weather this weekend, despite cooler temperatures, was beautiful. To celebrate the coming of spring and spring flowers, I put together two new wreaths for our front door.

My first wreath was inspired by this pin I found on Pinterest:

DIY spring wreath

Here is my interpretation of the same wreath. I chose the peach, light green and white flowers because they go nicely with our cranberry front door and the white letter really pops against the darker background.

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This wreath was very quick and easy to make. To make a similar wreath, you will need the following:

  • 5 hydrangea stems
  • Grapevine wreath
  • Letter of your choice
  • Glue gun

First, I cut each of the stems down to one inch and arranged them into the wreath. Then, I turned the wreath over and used the hot glue to secure the stems sticking through the back of the wreath.

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Next, I put hot glue on the back of the part of the letter that touches the wreath and then held it in place on the wreath for a few minutes while the glue set up.

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Leave the wreath with the flowers and letter facing up for a few hours so the glue on the flower stems and letter can set completely.

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Once the glue is set up and dry, you can hang your wreath for display!

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I also made this next colorful wreath because I really like yellow, teal and green together and couldn’t pass up these flowers while I was at Michaels. These bright colors together make for a really fun color palette that works well for spring or summer. And who doesn’t love gerbera daisies? To quote Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail: “I love daisies… They’re so friendly. Don’t you think that daisies are the friendliest flowers?”

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This wreath was more complicated to assemble than the first wreath. I first organized all the flowers and instead of using hot glue, I used floral wire. After I was finished, I realized that using hot glue would’ve been easier and faster. You can use hot glue like I showed on the wreath above and it will be easier.

Next, I wrapped the ribbon around the top half of the wreath and then I clipped on the butterflies. Not terribly complicated, but using the floral wire really slowed me down.

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While I was outside this weekend, I also spotted this little guy sneaking up. I hope he is not coming up too soon because they are still calling for some and ice coming our way in the next few weeks. Keep your fingers crossed that he doesn’t freeze!

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Are you getting excited for spring? Have you made DIY projects to celebrate this bright and colorful season?

Chrysanthemums: Take Two

In just under a month, our potted mums went from this:

To brown and dead looking. I’m not really sure what happened, but I’ll spare you a picture of the dead mums. I was so bummed that they turned brown so quickly.

I knew I couldn’t leave the brown mums on the porch if someone was going to look at our house for an appraisal. I went back to the Home Depot for new, blooming mums. I bought some of the last mums they put out for the season and this time I only bought one mum for each of the pots. The mums were on sale and I only spent around $15 dollars for three large mums, and two small mums.

It was $15 well spent because our front porch now looks like this:

In the process of giving our front porch a face lift, I busted out the trimmers and got busy cutting back the overgrown cherry bushes.
After some weeding and TLC, our gardens look less like a jungle and more like they are ready for winter.

We are still crossing items off of our “Show Your House Some Love for the Reappraisal To Do List.”

1. Weed the garden and replant the potted mums

2. Spruce up the loft so it looks like we use the space

3. Organize and clean the spare bedroom and BJ’s office

4. Finish the crown moulding and baseboard projects

Two down and two to go. More updates on our progress on the trim and organizing to come!

Fall Bucket List

I found this on Pinterest… love! I’m not so sure about calling it a “bucket list,” but I love the items on the list.

So far this year, we can cross one of the items off our list. We’ve decorated our mantle with a Fall theme.

It’s still early in the season and we’re going to keep working on the rest of the our Fall list. I’ll keep you posted on our progress, but in the meantime if you love Fall as much as I do, check out some more fun fall inspiration by visiting my Autumn Pinterest board.

Have a great rest of the week!

Chrysanthe-mums the word

Happy first official day of Autumn! The weather is beautiful here today. I hope it’s as beautiful where you are!

In preparation for the start of Autumn, I decorated our front porch with new pots full of beautiful chrysanthemums.

=-] <;— Quick side note: As Zoey walked across my keyboard she somehow entered that smiley face. So I guess she likes the new mums!

Ok, back to the task at hand. I decided to go with taller pots for our porch mums this year. And these were on clearance at Home Depot. Winning!

Last year, I had several small pots and two pumpkin pots for Halloween. Here is what our porch looked like last year:

This year, instead of planting the same color mums in the same pots, I decided that wasn’t exciting enough so I planted two colors in the larger pots and planted one color in the smaller pots. And after I finished throwing potting soil everywhere, the finished product of our pots looked like this:

Our porch is looking very festive for the first day of Autumn. I really like the larger pots. They are more visible on our porch.

That’s all for this post! I think I will celebrate Autumn with some hot apple cider on this chilly windy day. Have a great weekend!

Making it Rain Up In Here

So this crazy thing happened in August: it started raining again! In the past two weeks, we’ve seen more rain than we saw in the past two months combined. The watering bans starting lifting, the burn bans started lifting, and we finally have green grass again.

We are so blessed to have rain again. It’s been a rough summer for most of the United States.

Our grass might be a little patchy after baking in the sun for two months, but we’ll take it. It’s been a long drought and I’m so glad to see green grass and bright colorful flowers again. I was starting to wonder if we were going to stay brown until Autumn. I finally heard the sound of lawn mowers the other day. It was great. It was also wonderful to smell fresh-cut grass again.

Although I was diligent about watering my plants throughout the drought, I started to tire out in the end and fell a little behind once it started raining. Unfortunately, it didn’t rain enough in the first week to keep our potted plants really moist. I’m afraid they might not last much longer. I think it’s almost time to change the petunias for mums.

Despite our pitiful potted plants, the petunias in our garden are still growing strong. With a little mulch and some rain, they are getting just what they need.

It’s been a very hot and dry summer, but now that things are turning around, I’m looking forward to the start of Autumn and some crisp air and cooler temperatures.

How are your gardens doing this summer? Did you have to contend with drought conditions and  hand water your plants every day or every other day? Or did you let them go in hopes that it would rain again soon?