Luxury Yard Renovation, Phase Two

Last week we talked about Phase One of our luxury yard renovation so you should go back and read that if you haven’t already. Today, we’ll dig into Phase Two.

The front yard after Phase Two

As I mentioned last week, the front yard didn’t need too much work to get it under control aside from killing a few weeds and volunteer trees and trying to get the grass to grow. I’m still struggling to get the grass to look beautiful but maybe by the end of this summer? I also spoke too soon in saying that I got rid of all the random buried barbed wire because I found another piece sticking up a couple days ago. But that said, here’s a picture of the front yard now.

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This is actually from about a month ago. Since then, the trees have filled in all their leaves, the sad looking plants in the barrels have been replaced with pretty flowers, and we’ve put the cushions out on the porch furniture.

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See, pretty flowers in the barrel planters.

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These are hand-me-down chairs from a friend that moved away, and this bistro table from World Market. Isn’t she pretty? Eventually I would like some new chairs and these will likely get moved to the backyard to be firepit chairs. 

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And on the other side, we have an IKEA ARHOLMA outdoor sofa that I love but they no longer carry. It’s similar to the new SOLLERÖN line. The new line is better in that you can store your cushions under the seats, but it’s more expensive and not as cozy, imo. There’s also an IKEA GLADOM tray table which I spray painted copper.

And on the floor is one of our favourite quarantine purchases, a Sonos Move speaker. It’s battery powered and weather resistant which means we can can use it on the front porch or in the backyard. It also has the ability to connect via WiFi and sync with the rest of our Sonos speakers. And if it’s out of WiFi range, it can also connect via Bluetooth.

The backyard after Phase Two

As a quick reminder, here’s what that backyard looked like before we started:

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And here she is now:

Downtown Luxury Slum Backyard

Phase One was clean up and green up. Phase Two was adding the garden, a few more plantings, lights, some storage, and some furniture.

IKEA ARHOLMA outdoor sofa

On one side of the deck, we’ve got another IKEA ARHOLMA outdoor sofa. I got blue FRÖSÖN covers for the cushions back here to hide dirt a little better. They’re supposed to be water resistant and fade resistant too so we’ll see. On the front porch, we have beige covers which stay fairly clean in the absence of children since they’re covered by a roof. 

The umbrella is also a hand-me-down and we don’t have a stand for it so we just have it securely velcroed to the corner of the deck. 

Weber Spirit II

On the other side of the deck, we’ve got a Weber Spirit II natural gas grill. Having it hooked up to the gas line is sooooo convenient because I am definitely the type of person that heats up a grill only to have it run out of propane by the time I’m ready to put food on for 10 hungry friends. It takes up so little space (the left side table folds down) that I was concerned it would only have enough space to cook for two, but the grill surface is shockingly spacious. 

On the left side of this picture is a covered hand-me-down smoker. It works great and we (Andrew) uses it regularly but I have no idea what the details of it are because it’s a hand-me-down. 

Suncast Deck Box

On the ground along each side of the deck, we have a Suncast Deck Box. Ours are 134 gallon ones and I’ve linked the 124 gallon one since ours don’t seem to be available anymore. This is what I get for waiting two years before blogging about things. Anyway, one of the boxes is filled with yard and garden tools, the other side is filled with grilling and power tools. When we’re expecting lots of rain like we’re getting this week because of Tropical Storm Arthur, we’ll also throw the cushions in the boxes. They keep everything dry and really do hold a lot.  

We also store a few yard tools, such as the lawnmower in the crawl space, but since our crawl space is a literal crawl space, it’s not a great place to store things we need regularly. Part of Phase Three will be improving our outdoor storage situation. 

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In the back left corner of the yard, I’ve started a little garden. Each of the square boxes is 4 feet by 4 feet. Last year, the critters left the garden alone possibly because they were being scared off by the mosquitoes. But this year, they came early to start eating my tomato and pepper plants so I had to put up a chicken wire enclosure with bird netting on top (which is held in place with plastic clothes pins). The epitome of fancy. The box on the right is uncovered because it’s all leafy herbs that the critters don’t seem interested in. The ultimate plan is to add more height to the middle box and add one more box on each end. And then build benches on top of the outer perimeter. 

There are a million different ways to build raised beds but I’m going link to the blocks I used on the corners because “building” these beds involved nothing more than buying 2 x 6 wooden boards in the desired length, and sliding the boards into the grooves in the blocks. No tools, no actual measuring. Just these magical blocks and boards. And then I guess lining the boxes with landscape fabric and filling them with soil.   

Confederate Jasmine

I’ve planted some Jasmine along the chain link fence on both sides of the yard that I’m hoping will give us a little more privacy and make the place feel a little classier. Unfortunately the plants were only a few inches tall when I got them so it may take a while for them to climb to the top of the fence. 

Solo Stove Bonfire

This is our other favourite quarantine purchase, a Solo Stove Bonfire portable fire pit. I’d been trying to figure out where I wanted to put a fire pit in the back yard and how I wanted to set it up. I’d come up with some great ideas, but they didn’t jive with also wanting lots of open space to kick around a soccer ball, etc. So when we saw this thing at a friend’s house, I was newly inspired. It’s lightweight and portable so it can be stored out of the way when not in use. It burns super hot and magically puts off very little smoke. Aside from the really cool looking fire, it’s not much to look at so I’m hoping to build a portable table surround for it eventually. It was definitely an investment, but we’ve been loving it. 

Outdoor String Lights

And last but not least, 200 feet of outdoor string lights. They put off a much warmer light that the picture shows and make the yard feel extremely cozy at night.

Very few people have seen the lights in action but hopefully one day soon we’ll be able to be socially close again. Until then, on to Phase Three of our luxury yard renovation.

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