backyard remodel – patio, pergola, flowers + bumblebees!
I think I first toyed with the notion of this blog post in June or so. Then I kept waiting until everything was officially done before I sat down to write. Well folks, what I’ve learned (and I’m sure most of you know already) is that it’s never really done. When Dave and I bought the house – our first – a little over two years ago I don’t think either one of us could have predicted how much we would end up loving taking on huge projects and how nerdily excited we’d get when learning how to do something new.
And I’ll be super real here from the get-go: Dave was the mastermind behind pretty much everything you’ll see below. He had a vision and I’ll be damned if he didn’t deliver. My part was to take on the gardening, despite killing nearly everything I planted last year – I was determined to get ‘er done this year and hopefully learn along the way.
We both also found that time outside and in the dirt provided a much-needed zen zone for us in this wacky world. We’ve all got our thing, and I think we’ve found ours.
So let’s start with how our backyard looked when we moved in!
We were lucky to have such a large space to work with. And the deal kind of was I got to pick out my dream house, but Dave got to put in a hot tub – I think that was a win/win for me? So that was one of the first things to go in and then our wonderful friends and neighbors helped build this purdy pergola that we now have purple wisteria growing on.
We also planted trees the first year in honor of our dads who have both passed away. For Dave’s dad we planted a Bloodgood Maple tree that has the most gorgeous colors through the seasons and a Cherry Blossom tree for my dad that blooms once in spring and supposedly once in fall (though we haven’t seen that yet!)
Now that was year one. Year two was a big one, with the purchase of new outdoor furniture, a new garden and the crowning achievement – a patio! I was a bad wife and did question our ability to get it in ourselves but Dave and our pals were ah-mazing. I wish I could explain all the following photos to you – but really I only provided the soundtrack, snacks, beers and high-fives. And I may have had a couple hundred beers while watching this manual labor. 😀
Dave did a ton of research and decided to buy the “patio on a pallet” from Home Depot, which lets you design the size + pattern you want. We are super happy with how it all turned out, check it out below!
Oh, and then it rained a lake.
Then the corgis came to help!
Then, voila – I had a patio! How easy is that, right? 😀 I was so happy with how it turned out and so impressed with the hubby for gettin’ it all done.
Since Dave and co. worked so darn hard on the patio, we decided we should have adult furniture to match so finally tossed our ugly, plastic, wobbly ten-year old patio table.
We got a new dining set that I’m in love with for the deck from CB2, and paired it up with an umbrella, rug and lanterns from Home Depot – easy peasy.
We also got a great deal on a lounge set from Wayfair – I was VERY happy when it arrived. Napping outside was going to be my new thing y’all.
The view can be pretty lovely…
Alright, alright, enough about Dave and furniture – let’s shift to the flowers + garden – my department! I fear this is going to be pretty anti-climactic in comparison to the patio, but hey it’s a big deal for moi.
Here’s the deal, I come from a home that had a garden as the front yard because my mom has such an amazing green thumb.
But I’m here to tell you, said green-thumb is not hereditary. 🙁 After being on such a struggle bus last year and killing ALL THE THINGS, I decided to really learn about gardening and ya know how some plants need shade, some need sun, some need water (insert face palm here), and all the other important stuff. So, I dove right in.
I planted three planters for the pedestals on the deck that included Pink Mist (which attracts bees + butterflies), Stonecrop John Creech, Superbells Blue Moon Punch Calibrachoa, Polka Dot Plant Hypoestes and Dusty Miller:
I cared for my pretty peonies:
I planted a ton of herbs with a gnome guardian (his name is Herbert) that did well all summer:
And because of all the flowers I met a TON of adorable little creatures:
Yes, I’m showing you the picture I took of a fuzzy bumblebee. It’s pretty amazing what you start to think is exciting in your mid-30’s.
This guy’s name is Ace – him and his wifey gave birth to a bunch of little babes who ate all my pumpkins – ALL SEVEN OF THEM. Oh well, they cute.
He likes to leave me treats:
Enough about Ace – he can really steal the show.
My personal big win in all this is my “hail mary” garden. This garden was late in the game and was comprised of plants I planted way too late in the season (hello 50% off Home Depot Sale) and plants that I had nearly killed during the summer. Please don’t judge the lack of edging – that’s a next year plan and I have some fun ideas. I planted a struggling rose-bush, a non-flowering hibiscus, a nearly dying lavender, a sad peach begonia, a DEAD Dianthus Raspberry Surprise, a struggling Blue Chip Jr. Butterfly Bush, a Fox Glove that something nibbled on, a small Trumpet Creeper Madame Galen and a couple other lovelies that were near death.
I cared for these plants as if my life depended on it. I carefully watered, trimmed, weeded and said hello to these plants daily. And they all lived and flourished! Can you believe it?! Seeing them grow and come back to life gave me such happiness. A big smile hit my silly face every time I went out back and saw a new bloom. I already can’t wait to make the garden bigger next year. Give Me Gardening?
So that’s my little garden that could! I’m still kind of in shock that I didn’t kill a single plant back there – the garden fairies must be on my side.
Whew! Well that’s what we’ve done so far. And yes, we have more we want to do because we’re crazy people.
Next year we want to put in a vegetable garden and a cut flower garden. And I’m sure we’ll come up with something else to keep us busy – haven’t even touched the front yard…
Before I leave ya, I’ve got to drop this before and after. What a difference a couple o’ years makes!
Now that that’s all done – time to arrange some fall planters. MUMS, here I come!