Wednesday, January 4, 2012

RE-modeling: My Backyard Phase 1

BEFORE:  A major focus of the backyard in our new home is the cabana.  Originally, it looked like this. Not very charming is it? I will be frank.  It was a mess.
AFTER:  Currently the cabana looks like this.  It is still a work in progress, but I do think it is much cuter now.  We put up a new wood fence with cap and trim around the yard which made a huge difference.  I put up curtains in the cabana with rods I made from pipes I bought at Lowe's. I think the pipes cost $5. I intended to spray paint them, but left them the silver they were originally.   They are held up with large eye hooks that cost like $2..  I bought some off-white outdoor curtains from Pottery Barn, but then I saw these green & white striped outdoor curtains at Lowe's for a good deal and decided to get them as backup curtains. Well, I ended up liking the backup curtains more because they add color to the yard.   Now, the much more expensive PB ones are the back up curtains.  The grey kooboo wicker chairs are from World Market.  I followed Joni from Cote de Texas ' advice and scooped up 6 of them there at a great price.  The $100 wood and iron table is a craigslist find that I refinished myself.  I am very proud of it and I will do another entry about it later. The grill was a Father's Day gift to my husband.  The plants are from Home Depot. The large green pots were bought on sale for 60% off at JoAnn Fabrics. The mirror is from Hobby Lobby. I got it on a 50% off sale.  I was going to paint it but then decided I liked it as is.  The string of lights with large bulbs is from Target.
BEFORE:  The yard was sooooo overgrown  it made this whole area very dark.  I had to up the exposure big time on this pic just so you could see the cabana in the back.  It was like a rainforest back there.  We took out ELEVEN junk trees that were basically overgrown shrubs that had grown into massive trees.  We had to haul off several truck loads to the dump. We hired people to do a lot of it, but I assure you, my husband and I also did a LOT of yard work to clean this yard out.

AFTER:  Those back trees may still be taken out, but I can tell you, I am so relieved by how much cleaner the yard is now.   There is sunlight again.  We have to plant and change things around, but at least now, it resembles a yard.  These pictures were taken when the sun was going down so the lighting was funky, but hopefully, you get the gist of what it looks like now.
BEFORE:  I am not kidding about the rainforest effect.  Light could not penetrate all the overgrowth.  The pool got no light.  There were palm trees in the back yard that no one could see that were dying from lack of sunlight.  Someone had at one time done a nice job of landscaping the yard but the backyard had been neglected for many years when we bought the house.
AFTER:  We took down the old wood fence that divided our back yard and put up an iron one.  It makes the yard look much bigger now.  We put chaise loungers by the pool under the palm trees. It is a good area to rest.   We may add some stone pavers or wood decking to create an even base for it. Right now it has mulch and we need something cleaner.  This will be a project for later this spring I am guessing because right now remodeling our kitchen is our priority.  There is a lot to be done to our new house.  I am trying to revel in it rather than let it overwhelm me.  I hope it will be a fun outlet for creativity.
BEFORE:  When Reba visited my new house, she thought I would hate all the overgrowth.  I told her that I actually liked it in many ways.  Our house backs up to a forest like area, and with all the overgrowth, even though we are in the middle of the city, it felt like we were someplace else, far away.  I thought it seemed sorta romantic with the gazebo.  A secret garden.  But, then the reality of the critters and pests that thick overgrowth attracts sunk in and suddenly it was less charming.  Still, we took out even the junk trees piecemeal to make sure we weren't overdoing the clearing out.  By the way, we had already moved in and done some cleaning out when this picture was taken.  Clearing out the overgrowth was a process.

AFTER:   So much cleaner.  I feel so much better being in the back yard now.  I no longer feel overwhelmed.  There is work to be done, but it seems do-able now.  Those 2 cedar trees in the back may have to go. One is half dead and both are badly positioned, plus cedar makes my husband very sick with allergies.  We need plants & hardscaping.  I want to stain the fence, but I cannot decide what color.  I like coffee/brown, natural/clear, grey and leaf green stains but cannot decide which look I want.  If anyone has an opinion why I should pick one color stain over another, I am EAGER for input.  Please leave a comment if you have some ideas. 
BEFORE:  The fence was stone on the bottom and chain link on top offering no privacy for people in the pool.  You could see the pool equipment in the corner which wasn't very good looking.  The ivy helped some and I did like the ivy that grew everywhere and I hope it grows back in the spring, but it had to be severely cut back.  It was weighing down the cabana roof. 
AFTER:  During the summer, we had pool parties and cookouts, but in the late Fall I had the ladies of my book club over for a sit down outdoor dinner in the cabana and it was very pleasant out there.  You can see pictures of my outdoor dinner table setting HERE.  The string lights set a relaxing mood and it felt like an oasis. On the down side, the cabana feels like it is a mile away from the kitchen inside and all the cooking supplies held therein and there was a lot of going back and forth to do setup and clean up.  I have since stocked up on cutting boards, spices, seasonings, cleaning supplies and other stuff for grilling that I hold in the baskets in the rack in the cabana, but I still think it will be a chore to set up another formal dinner outside even to cart out the dinner plates and glasses.  I want to try to figure out a better system so I am considering moving the dining area from the cabana to one of the patios closer to the house.  I suggested this to my husband (who helped me haul stuff out to the cabana to set up the dinner) and to my friend, Martha, (who attended the bookclub dinner and helped me haul all the stuff in) but they both said they think the dining table should stay out in the cabana.  I am not as sure.   If anyone has a tip on how to improve the situation or had a similar experience, I'd love to hear your take on it.

BEFORE:   The previous owners had a single folding lounger in the cabana area.   There was an empty flower bed on one side of the cabana.  We have filled it with stones to level it off and we have placed a grill there for now.  I have been thinking a bar or an outdoor kitchen could go there.  I am not sure which would suit us more.  There is a space between the cabana and a gazebo left by the previous owners in that corner which could be a bar area.   However, I don't know that it would fix the problem of the outdoor eating area being so far away from the main house. 
AFTER:  I used burlap fabric over a white table cloth for this dinner.  More on the table setting HERE.  I think I would like an outdoor rug here.  The terra cotta tiles are faded a lot and I think covering them up would be the easy option.  I saw some pretty rugs from Ballard Designs for a good price, but I couldn't decide if I wanted mostly green or mostly brown.   Brown is a good neutral, but green adds color.  Also, I am wondering if I will feel both those colors are "out" in a couple years and I will be stuck with a rug that is also "out."  But, if the price is right, I would go for it.  If anyone has bought an outdoor rug in one of those colors and has a tip for a good deal, please leave a comment.
BEFORE:  The upper patio beside the main house.  We live in a split level so there is an upper level patio right off the family room that descends down to another level for the pool area and the lower level patio.   The upper patio has an old style built in fire/BBQ pit.  I feel like it is a sign that is the natural location for an outdoor kitchen, but putting in an outdoor kitchen there makes no sense if we are going to keep the outdoor dining area in the cabana.  My husband feels an outdoor kitchen makes no sense on the upper patio above because it is so close to the kitchen inside, but a lot of homes have outdoor kitchens on a patio right outside a combo kitchen/family area.   Again, if you have an opinion on this, please feel share your insights on this.  I'm interested in knowing what other people think. That's part of why I wanted a blog.  I wanted to interact with others as we embarked upon our new remodeling adventure. 

AFTER:  You can see how much brush we have gotten rid of from this angle.  Before you could barely see the pool and the cabana was nearly invisible in the corner.  Taking down the wood fence also opened up the yard.  There is a gazebo and a woody area on the other side.  I am saving that part of the yard and the wood deck off the other side of the family room for another post. 

INDOORS OUT:   This antique French day bed use to be in the guest room in our old house.  You can see all of our old house HERE..  I decided to use it outside with the outdoor cushions we had in our old house from Target and Home Depot. I got some Sunbrella fabric for the seat. I already mentioned that I recycled the old daybed cover as a tablecloth HERE.   The wicker chair is from our old front lawn. I am not sure it is staying, but it is staying for now.  The coffee table is actually a neighbor's castoff that I picked up from the curb on big bulk pick up day.   It caught my eye because it looks like the Chesapeake Pottery Barn outdoor coffee table.  One of the boards was loose and the wood was faded, but I restained it and put a nail in it to support the board and it is fine now. It has a plaque on it by Smith & Hawken I believe. The stain cost me $6. The nail I had but is worth about 25 cents.  The PB Chesapeake coffee table costs $349.    Totally worth the 30 minutes I spent fixing it up.

BEFORE:  Chain link fence. Plastic chairs.  So plain jane it hurts.   I don't think the previous owners used the back yard much which is why I think it was so plain. 
AFTER: Ok, so not much better *YET* but I have plans for this area.  I just don't know what yet, but at least now it looks clean and people can sit there comfortably. 
AFTER:  The above outdoor furniture set was a Craigslist find.  We got rid of the worn out covers above and had cushions made in a greyish khaki to bring the green of our old outdoor cushions and some green and white cushions we bought at Restoration Hardware. 

PHASE TWO:  Gee, there is so much more to do.  I would like a built in outdoor grill like the one above, and I think we will get one at some time, but it may come after other projects.  I think an outdoor fireplace is higher on the priority list because 1) we already have a grill and 2) an outdoor fireplace would allow us to use the outdoor spaces longer, plus I think they are so romantic.

Outdoor kitchen Image Source


CHOICES TO MAKE:  Part of Phase 2 will be deciding what to do with this lower level patio area. 

INSPIRATION #1:  I loved this patio photo as soon as I saw it on Cote de Texas.  I love the pergola, the plants trained to go up the wall, the iron grill as art, the large, aged pot, the curtains, the wicker chairs...well, just everything.   If any of my friends reading this know where to find large pots like those, please leave me a tip.   I do think I could make my lower patio area look somewhat like this so I really want to go for it.
INSPIRATION #2.  After I saved the above outdoor patio picture from Cote de Texas,  I noticed that it is very similar to the outdoor patio picture above that I saved from my RENOVATION STYLE SUMMER 1999 magazine.  That told me I have liked this look for a long time now.  I had a pergola put into our old house because I love the way they look.

BUT A FIRE IS SO DELIGHTFUL.  I saved this image off the internet a long time ago, before I knew about Pinterest and I have no idea where I got it.  If anyone knows, I would be glad to give the site credit.  I saved it because I liked the design of the fireplace, but also because it was up against a wood fence.  I wasn't sure if that would look ok and it does.   If I copied this look, then the lower patio would continue to be a sitting area and get a fireplace. But, I also like the idea of a fireplace on the upper patio....oh, and one in the cabana so we could dine by the fireplace.  Note to self: play the lottery.

SO GLORIOUS.  Again, I saved this image a long time ago before Pinterest, and I don't know where I got it.  If this is your backyard, first, I AM GREEN WITH ENVY, second, please let me know who you are so I can credit you.  Dining outdoors by the fireplace. WOW. Doesn't it seem so amazing?  Ugh.  It is so hard to know which way to go.  Sigh. I will think about it later. I have to remind myself remodeling the kitchen, which I will post about soon , is our priority right now.

A NEW ROOF:  This is one of those projects that likely won't happen since it is not necessary, but I think the cabana would look so much better with a different roof.   I would like to have a pitched roof on it. My husband wanted to take the walls all the way up and close it up.  I didn't have the fence guys do that originally to allow a breeze, but we could change that easily and we may.  *shrug*  I just don't think it is that important. 

FEELS SOLID.  A nice roof would make the cabana feel so much more solid, but I know it would cost an arm and a leg.  For now, there is so much more to do for the house that a new roof has to go on the "only if I win the lottery" list.

I will hopefully finish editing pics of the wood deck, the gazebo and the other part of our yard soon.  We bought the house because the yard has a lot of potential, but it will also require a LOT of work.  Some of you may wonder why don't my husband and I consult with experts on planning our outdoor areas to make these decisions. We have some, and we probably will again. But, I like to have a solid feeling what I want before I hire folks to do work because I don't want to cave into others' suggestions and be talked into going with something that wouldn't work for us just because I hadn't thought about what I really wanted yet.   If you have some advice to share, I'd appreciate hearing it so I can think over the different issues of the different options.

WRITTEN BY ELDAROSE

See more Before & Afters HERE



















The Girl Creative

shabby creek cottage


















Stuff and Nonsense


vif187









Photobucket

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

The Shabby Nest



Sunday's Best Linky Party!














Tickled Pink at 504 Main

38 comments:

  1. this is just amazing and fantastic. I thought I was looking at a magazine photo. Gorgeous!

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  2. This is an amazing transformation! Your pool area is now beautiful. Thank you for linking to the Open House Party.
    Hugs,
    Sherry

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  3. Oh my stars! What a transformation. I usually don't read every word of a post but you just had me mesmerized with what you have done. WOW you should be so proud of yourselves! Everything looks so clean and fresh and INVITING. I agree it all looks so much better cleaned up. What an amazing back yard. I love it all. And your budget buys just blow me away. Fabulous! I'm so anxious to see the continuing saga. And the right colors will come to you. You are so sharp with this that you will know. It will just feel right. CONGRATULATIONS on a job more than well done. It is brilliant.

    Nann

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  4. This is a wonderful transformation and what you have done is quite inspirational. Thanks so much for stopping by!

    Paula

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  5. You've done an amazing job revitalizing this outdoor space. It looks fantastic! I know you and your family will get many hours of pleasure using this beautiful space.

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  6. Lynne,
    Thank you so much for visiting and leaving a comment. I just visited your blog and we are following yours now.

    There is so much left to do, but I am happy with the progress on the back yard. It is do-able now. It was crazy before.

    I just need to figure out what our plan is going to be.

    But, first the kitchen.

    Sooooo much to do.

    Eldarose

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  7. Sherry,

    Thank you for visiting and for your sweet compliment. I am glad you liked our progress. Sometimes it felt like nothing was getting better, but seeing it this way, I can feel better about the improvement even if we still have a lot left to do.

    Eldarose

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  8. Nann,

    You are so sweet. Thank you so much for your comment.

    Eldarose

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  9. Paula,

    Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment. So glad you liked our progress.

    Eldarose

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  10. Sarah,
    Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment. We have done a lot to the backyard and I try to enjoy it but sometimes I get wrapped up thinking what else needs to be done when I am in it.

    I am trying to work on that. But, there is so much more to do. It seems to never end. I am trying to love it though and enjoy all the projects that lay ahead of us. I just wish I could make up my mind more easily. I like too many different things so it is hard to pick one.

    Eldarose

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  11. The colors in your day bed arrangment really speak to me. They are just my style! andrea@townandprairie

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  12. okay - i'm drooling over your make over! i love both before (looks like a secret garden) and after (because its so clean) ha ~ would love it if you came and shared at my garden party which will start up again in May....really looking forward to seeing more of your garden come alive! xoox, tracie

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  13. Andrea,

    I'm glad the colors speak to you. I like them a lot, too. It is just hard because I like too many different things. I like the grays people are using in their homes now and I like neutrals, too. I guess I'm fickle. LOL.

    But, thank you for leaving the feedback. It is much appreciated.

    Eldarose

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  14. can i come and visit?

    truly
    your backyard makeover
    looks stunning

    what a huge difference
    some fabric
    tree trimming
    and fluffing can do

    thanks for sharing at Fridays Unfolded!

    alison

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  15. Tracie,

    I just came from your blog and now, I am even more flattered by your comment. I am so jealous of your green thumb. I love the outdoors, but I am not very good at gardening. Hopefully, the backyard will come out ok, anyway.

    I will definitely post again when you do your garden party. Thanks for the encouragement. Oh! and I am so glad someone else got the secret garden appeal of the old overgrowth. Reba hated it. She thought I was nuts to think about keeping it. But, it was romantic to me. Unfortunately, the lack of sunlight and pest problem made it obvious that we had to dramatically clear out the space.

    Sincerely,
    Eldarose

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  16. LOL Alison,

    Thank you for visiting. Sure, come on over. You might want to wait until my girlfriends are visiting and we can dance at night under the stars. No one will see us cut loose. Deal?

    I am so glad you liked what we've done so far. There is plenty more to do, but it's nice to be able to feel like something has been accomplished. And yes, I found some great deals. Thanks for allowing us to link to Fridays Unfolded.

    Sincerely,
    Eldarose

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  17. Absolutely stunning. I could spend a long summer afternoon here, or 2, or 3...

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  18. Thanks so much for the follow and your kind comments! You are more than welcome to pin the beach house photos, I'm glad you liked them. Have a lovely day! xo Kirsty

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  19. This is absolutely fabulous! I could definitely relax here, definitely :)

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  20. Tanya,

    Thank you so much for visiting the blog and leaving a comment. I'm so glad you like what we've done so far. Hopefully when the work is done, we'll be able to enjoy all the hard work required to clean it all up.

    Sincerely,
    Eldarose

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  21. Wow - you've been quite a busy girl, haven't you? lol! It looks FABULOUS!!! What a beautiful back yard!!! If I were you, I'd stain the fence a very neutral color like grey or dark brown. You've got to decide where you want your "eye" to go; what you want to be the focus of each area. That's where you place pops of color. :)

    oxo laurie

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  22. WOW!! My jaw stayed drop during this entire post. Thought I was watching HGTV! What a beautiful place you have!! I love it and I would spend my life out there if I had a backyard like that. So much you can do out there and what a beautiful place to be. So glad I stopped by such an inspiring before and after post!

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  23. Laurie,

    THANK YOU *so* much for leaving a suggestion about the fence stain. It is so hard for me to make a choice. I see your reasoning that a neutral like gray or brown would make the fence recede so people would focus more on any blooms or colorful items we end up putting in the yard.

    That helps me A LOT. If green is out, and the choice is between brown and gray, then I think I would like a gray more than a brown. Will definitely keep your advice in mind.

    Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. We are following your blog now.

    Sincerely,
    Eldarose

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  24. Shelley,

    Thank you so much for visiting our blog and leaving such a nice comment. I am hoping after we finish some more projects that the backyard will be a place for us to relax and feel refreshed. I have sometimes felt a sense of peace and connection to God outdoors and I hope to create the kind of space where I can feel that again outside my back door.

    BTw, visited your blog and liked it very much. We're following it now.

    Sincerely,
    Eldarose

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  25. Oh my gosh, that cabana space is to die for! So serene! A few blogger friends and I have collectively introduced a fun challenge for January. It would be so awesome if you want to participate! http://thespacebetweenblog.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/imagine-the-impossibilities-challenge/
    Karah @ thespacebetweenblog

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  26. SO BEAUTIFUL! I am jealous!! My backyard is on my "to do" list this year...no pool though:( Glad you posted to Debbiedoos because I just realized that my original "Follow" to your blog didn't go through when you posted about the front of your home makeover! Trying again!

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  27. Wow, what a great job! Your cabana and pool area both look sooo inviting that I wouldn't be surprised if they were always filled with guests! : ).. And, I'm betting, the former home owners would love to have your house and back yard back! Love it.

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  28. The Wallace Family,
    Thank you for your sweet compliment. It made my day when I read it. There is a lot of potential. It is just hard to make all the choices and do all the work and not get burned out. But, hopefully, we'll get there.

    Thanks again for visiting and commenting.

    Eldarose

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  29. Karah,

    Thanks for the encouraging comment. I'm glad you like what we've done so far. We are now following your blog. If I have anything to contribute to your impossible challenge, then I will, but my impossibles are really big impossibles. Our remodel should take awhile to really do. But, I am inspired to take on the big tasks. Thanks.

    Eldarose

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  30. Jen,

    Our yard is still on my to-do list. It is a crazy long list. LOL.

    Thank you for visiting, commenting and following. It is much appreciated. I just left a comment on your blog. LOVE your fireplace project. Very clever!

    Eldarose

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  31. WOW I enjoyed reading you post and all the before and afters. You sure have been a very busy girl! You've got a lot done. I like it all cleaned up, but I also like a lot of greenery. You do have a beautiful yard, where you can spend great time at. Great budget buys. I'll be looking forward to the continuing progress. good luck on the colors, I have a hard time with time with it too. Thanks for sharing at Sunday's Best.

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  32. Amazing transformation! Thank you for joining me at Home Sweet Home!
    Sherry

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  33. Life According to Milo,

    We enjoy our friends' company so yes, we have people over. But, our house is still A MESS, big time, so I still cannot feel comfortable inviting ppl over yet. Hopefully things we will tackle the kitchen and get things in order this year.

    Thank you for visiting, for following and for commenting.

    Sincerely,
    Eldarose

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  34. Cathy,

    Thank you. I hope we can do some more projects this spring. We'll see how much our energy and budget will allow I guess. Thank you so much for featuring this entry on your site! It was a big deal to me. I was thrilled to see it on your site.

    Sincerely,
    Eldarose

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  35. Sherry,

    Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment.

    Eldarose

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  36. This really looks amazing! I am so in awe of what you have done. Thank you for sharing. I am inspired!

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  37. I can’t find the phase two of your backyard remodeling. I’m interested to see if you’re done installing the built-in outdoor grill. I’d love to see how it turned out in your yard because I’m also planning to install one in our yard. Hope you'll post info about it. Thanks! -> Dominic Pablo

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