Jul 15, 2012

The New Patio

Re: the pause in postings - I was going to lie and say that we've both been busy working on the house.  Which we have.  But it's not the complete truth.  Frustrated with the vortex that is Facebook, I took a week off.  The weather was crappy/cold/buggy so I was trapped inside. Instead of tackling any one of the 22,653 indoor projects, I thought I'd take a moment and look at my dormant Pinterest account....  Aaaaaannnnnnd here I am one blurry month later with some gorgeous room 'boards' and absolutely no blog posts. So I'll make it up to everyone with some 'Before and After's. 

This year's landscape project included the addition of a second patio, a raised gardening bed and a firepit on the terrace closer to the garage (the concept of which was feverishly conceived on a flight from Grand Prairie).  We have new neighbours who are positively lovely (the wife, who is Lebanese, brings over Lebanese dishes at least a few times a week - so. spoiled.), but they have three girls who love our kids and our backyard.  So we have six sets of eyes peering at us on the patio through the cracks in the in fence at all times. Plus, as it turns out, the lower patio is a pretty bad ass tricycle roadway. 

We spent loads of time last and this year just observing how the girls were using the backyard. And we quickly discovered that play is focused on the hill, the lower patio and the sandbox.  So this vast area of grass by the garage was not being utilized really by anyone.  

Like our other  project last summer, most everything was built using upcycled materials (Kijiji and used building material stores, leftovers from last year's project) and almost primarily hand dug/laid/built by Jay. I took care of the landscaping.  We brought the stepped design elements of the patio and sandbox into this design, stepping the garden, the firepit and the patio away from each other.  Jay also built a narrow garden box right at the fence for some tall grasses. My dad helped build the compost in the back corner. 

BEFORE: Raised gardening area at the far right. Random kid in snowboots in May - centre. 

Planting of the new trees. Man am I ever glad we elected to have them planted for us.  We would have had to roll that mo fo in there. Mayday on bobcar, Double Flowering Plum in the foreground. 

Digging out and laying the patio stones. I think Jay paid about $150 for all of the patio stones (second hand).  He framed out the firepit as well (where he's sitting).

Sweeping the sand in the cracks.  I think I'm in a lawnchair on Pinterest here. 

AFTER: The patio has the same stepped design as the lower patio. The fire drum is actually an old rusty tire rim. I love rusted elements.  

Taken after we completed the narrow beds behind the patio. Karl Foresters line the back and we planted some rhubarb closer to the garden boxes. The black rectangular thing is an old door we painted with chalkboard paint for the girls.  And we also got a slide for the hill that has been a huge hit. (we both love play integrated into the landscape) The kids patio set is hiding what will be Phase III next year - concrete steps to the garage. 

Shot of the half painted garage and my very happy tomatoes (I'm Italian - tons of pride in my tomato plants).   New compost that my dad and Jay built is in the back corner which those stupid magpies think is a smorgasbord. When we covered it with chicken wire, they started eating my garden. Argh.  

So major 2012 Exterior Project #1 is complete. Now just a simple paint job left for this summer.  Or.. not so simple...  

Prepping for painting - day 55.  Ever wondered where fly babies live?  Under aluminum shutters.  There were hundreds.  Ewwww.