Tag Archives: gardening

Backyard Retreat

pergolaWe used to have a play house in the back corner of our yard.  But sadly the kids outgrew it, and we gave it to our neighbors and it’s currently the world’s cutest chicken coop. 

The platform the playhouse stood on was still in the corner of the yard though, occupying pretty much the only shady square footage on that side of the house.  So Matt and I decided that rather than take it apart, we’d use it to create a shady little relaxing area.

IMG_4123I knew I wanted a pergola.  I knew I wanted lawn chairs and a place to hang the hammock B got for her birthday last summer that we had nowhere to put.  But I didn’t know exactly how to do it.

Matt is really, really good at figuring out building plans and determining what materials we need.  I am good at deciding what it should look like, but have no ability whatsoever to figure out how to make it so.  Good thing we have each other.

It only took us one day to build it (since the platform was already there), plus a trip to Lowes for lumber, screws, and new lawn chairs.

lowes visitIMG_4190One of the best parts of this project was that all the kids helped.  Matt drew up a plan and measured and cut the lumber. 


While Matt was cutting, B and I screwed in the plates to hold the posts in place.  She learned to use the drill, which is a handy skill to have.  We all worked together to get the posts standing.

IMG_4158The boys carried lumber, helped measure, and held up posts while B screwed them into place.  It was a full family effort.

IMG_4176 IMG_4185

And at the end, we all enjoyed it together, too. 

pergola 2We need more mulch to fill in around the platform, but we’ll get to that (before we leave!). 

We have a few Adirondack chairs, a garden stool, and we finally hung B’s hammock!  We’ve all spent time out there, enjoying the only corner on that side of the house that gets any shade.

It’s now my favorite spot in the yard, and it was well worth the day of work. 

Have you done any outdoor projects lately?  I’d love to see them!

Curb Appeal

IMG_4036I took on a little project a few weeks ago that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.  We have garden beds to the sides of our front stoop along the foundation, but I hated some of the plants in them and thought they were just too big.

So I ripped out eight prickly, ugly shrubs, shrunk the gardens back, and re-edged them with new stones.


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Spring Has Sprung

crocusI’m calling it–it’s spring.  Officially and for reals.

I can tell because everyone in my house has a cold.

Or allergies, hard to say which.  Allergy meds aren’t helping that much, so I’m leaning toward the former.  But either way, we’ve gone through tissues at a rate of 2 boxes per day since last week. 

It’s late, but finally things are blooming.  They say it’s going to be a really bad allergy spring, because with the late bloom, basically everything is bursting to life at once.  No gradual transition for us this year.  At least it will be pretty though. 

This week my kids have Spring Break, and so far they’ve been outside more hours than they’ve been inside.  Colds be damned–they just wipe their noses on their sleeves and keep on going.  It’s gross, yes, but it’s better than them all coming in the house every four seconds to get a tissue. 

And I’m definitely moving into oh-no-the-yard-looks-like-crap-and-is-a-giant-mud-pit-we-have-to-fix-it-all-right-now mode.  Matt loves that mode. 

I’m planning my yard projects, getting my budget figured out, and making my Lowes trip today and tomorrow.  And then, I’ll dig/mulch/weed/edge/plant/transplant like a mad woman and make the kids help me, because what else is Spring Break for?

leo tolstoy spring quote

Me and Tolstoy are on the same page. Obvi.

It feels good to get my hands dirty and be out in the sun.  (Don’t try to remind me I said that when it’s 102 degrees and 99% humidity in July.  I’ll be inside in the A/C with the fan on, so I won’t hear you.)

Thinking Spring

garden in the rain

My garden last spring–it won’t be long before it looks like this again!

Now that baseball season has started, I’m definitely shifting out of winter mode.

One of the best parts of living in DC is that right when you’re really sick of winter and need it to end…it does.  Most years, things are feeling decidedly spring-y around here by the middle of March.  (Last year would be the exception to that rule.  Last year sucked.)

I’m dreaming up what I’ll do to the yard and the garden–I’m a big dreamer at this time of year.

I refuse to let the reality of the hot, dry DC summer dissuade me from planting and prettying up the yard every April — only to stare out the windows from my air conditioned house as it all burns and withers in the July sun.

Because we finished up so much of the yard work in the Fall, I will really be able to concentrate on the fun stuff this year instead of all the clean-up drudgery.

I want more flowers.  I love winter, but after months of staring outside at varying shades of brown and grey, I’m craving some color in the garden.

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