Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Decking Out Our Deck

When I took photos of our deck for this post, during the editing process I quickly realized that we needed to add some personality to our deck ASAP; that's also when we knew we had to replace the screen door, too.  More photos to come at a later time.  Sergio and I just didn't want to buy things just because we needed "things" to fill the space.

Luckily, we didn't have to.  We both like the vintage vibe, so we were stoked when we found an old (former) glider with two matching chairs.  Once we placed the chairs onto the deck, we realized that we would actually like to have a table out there so that we could easily have drinks or dinner on the patio without having to bring out our camping chairs and table every single time.  We knew that we didn't want to spend a lot for it since we maxed out the budget with our seating choice, so I consulted that great online boutique- Craigslist.

Here's what happened:

I really love the retro look of this table, but knew the brown wasn't right for us.  I also knew the wicker bottom was going to get ripped out, too.

I used one can of primer and 4 cans of Rustoleum Fluorescent Yellow Spray paint to cover the piece; if I would have put an even primer coat on the table, I think I could have gotten by with just two cans of spray paint.  You live and you learn.  When I took out the wicker, I was left with a not so appealing groove in the bottom, so I filled that with a little clear silicone.  I tend to be OCD about details, so I filled it even though I knew I was going to place a mirror where the wicker used to be.  I happened to have a mirror that was the exact size I needed.  Kismet.

The finished product.  Since I didn't have an even coat of primer, I had to cover the piece with spray paint multiple times.  Because of that, the piece is more yellow than the fluorescent yellow with green hints I was hoping for.  Ladida.  I still like it.  Also?  I have been on a Talavera pottery kick lately.  Love the colors in those pots.

Promise to give ya'll a proper backyard tour ASAP.  Have a great week!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Que Sera Sera: Yard Edition

I have plans.  Plans, ya'll!  Like that great Death Cab song says, "Every plan is a tiny prayer to father time," though.  For us, our plans involve our yard and they're a prayer to father time, father rain, father sun, and father good fortune.  They are also a prayer to what used to be my yellow-ish thumb.  I say yellow-ish because it coulda been green if I didn't have a penchant for overwatering.  We have been in the house two and a half months now and I haven't killed the plants!  I am hoping that means that my over watering addiction can be kept at bay, at least until all the new plants are established enough and know I love them enough that I wouldn't purposely try to drown them.

Ready to move on and see what we hope is hiding behind a facade of overly dry soil, weeds parading as grass, and some gravel/powdered milk/random rock combination strewn about?  Follow the graphics for the lowdown:

Our yard in it's current state minus the dirt and tufts of grass and weeds and four-leaf clovers.

Now you know what the back layout of our house and yard look like.  You  also now know where the magic happens for us, our guests, and exhibitionists who favor the screen room.  Ok, so the screen room hasn't had any boom boom in it... yet.  Back to the lecture at hand...

Our little backyard is small.  I didn't add any grass to the graphic above because we kind of realized, after surveying our yard for the pergola location, that what we thought was grass was just green stuff wishing that it really was grass.

The giant green thing in the upper left corner is an oak tree... and there is some grass to the right of the tree.  The rest of the yard?  Dirt.  Yuckiness.  Four-leaf clovers pushing luck on a seemingly hopeless landscape.  They aren't very good at their job.  They make things green, but there hasn't been much luck in getting all the grass to grow despite the overwhelming amount of rain we have had this winter.  Damn dormant season. 

Moving on to the vision(s)...

This is what we'd love to have if the stars align and grant our wishes.  We'd love grass galore so the pups can go out and play and so they can do their business without tracking in tons of mud when it's raining.

Totally wishful thinking.  If you notice, though, even my wishes are realistic.  I didn't put copious amounts of grass in the graphic because I know that our soil may just not be able to handle it.  We are off to a start- the pergola is going to be built this Monday.  Yay for President's Day!  I love mondo grass, so I will definitely have some little bushes of it here and there.  Add some more little plants to the succulent garden and fill in the area to the left of it with pavers of some sort.  The top left corner will definitely have to have shade tolerant plants- I'm hoping that I can find some great options with large foliage.  We are going to move the chimenea from the deck to the backyard so that people will actually use that space when we have gatherings.  (We finally bought a new vintage (oxymoron, I know) patio set for the deck.  Sergio and my father will build a deck platform for under the pergola to cover the slopey-dirt situation that is happening in that space now.  I'll add a couple of tall potted plants along the back of the pergola (covering our neighbor's fence) and will also attempt to have a vine situation take over the pergola roof over time. Sergio loves flowering plants, but I know how hard they are to grow, so I added just a couple to our current plan.  If my lime green thumb continues to  move towards a true green, I will add more flowering shrubs over time.  One last note: what looks like grass (and we thought was a lot of grass) in the backyard in previous photos?  Just a mix of St Augustine (real grass), weed grass, and cloverleaf upon closer inspection.  Boo!  I tend toward optimism, so I just skated along with my grassy backyard until Sergio and I really stood back there and assessed.  Not as lush in person as it looks in a photo.

If the grass thing doesn't work out for some reason, this is our back up plan.  We'd till up the soil and spread a gravel mixture around the yard.  Not as fun for the pups, though.

This, my friends, is the more likely story that we will end up with.  I don't know how the grass will fare in the backyard, but we are certainly going to try.  The soil is pretty arid back there, so I think it's going to take a lot of work to get the grass to work.  I am hoping that at least one large section of grass works and then we can just gravel in the rest.  We haven't priced the hardscaping items we would need for this space, so this plan is still dependent on budget and cost.  We will still add the platform under the pergola and add the plants; the plants will just be in pots for the most part.

Plan Z.

If the rock situation from up above is a little too pricey for the immediate future, then we will buy enough gravel for the side of the house and place some pavers along the path to the pergola.  

In addition, this will have the platform like the rest of the plans.  All plans will also have jasmine or some other cool vine like wisteria or honeysuckle.  I just bought a patio set on Craigslist that I am going to refinish this weekend.  It's a little rusted, but a wire brush, some steel wool, and an orbital sander seem to be taking care of that.

Well, I have to go pull some weeds and pick up dog poop.  One great thing about the yard's current state?  The poop is always covered in dirt, so it's easy to scoop up.

Have a great week, ya'll!