Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hammock Landscaping

Michael and I decided to get a hammock as an anniversary gift to ourselves this year.  It’s a handwoven cotton hammock from Mexico.  We ordered the matrimonial size which fits two adults plus a dog…. or one adult and three children… and so on. :)  We also got tree straps so we could move it around and avoid putting hooks in our trees.  The first thing we did was to find a couple trees between 13 and 20 feet apart.  We hung it in the front yard at first, since there were two trees the right distance apart.  But when Riley wanted to join us by the hammock, we had to tie her up so she couldn’t run away.  This led to much plant destruction as well as Riley wrapping herself in knots around trees, bushes, etc.  So, we decided to move the hammock to the back yard so Riley could run around freely in her new fenced-in yard.  The only likely spot for a hammock was this little nook:


Unfortunately, this space was home to three beautiful (and large) azalea bushes.  Since it was the only place for a hammock in the backyard, we decided the azaleas had to go.  After all, there was plenty of room for azaleas elsewhere in the yard, but no where else for the hammock.  So, one day we just went to work digging out the azalea bushes and moving them—one went in the adjacent bed, one in the English garden, and one in front of the deck.  Having found new happy homes for the azaleas, we had to re-landscape against the fence in this bed.  We couldn’t just leave it mulch and hammock tree straps.  So we planted five hostas and five violets to create a shallow border behind the hammock spot.  Here’s what it looks like most of the time, sans hammock:


And here it is, all ready for some summer relaxation!


Hmm... that looks very inviting… see you all later!



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Totally Turquoise Garden Swing Makeover

In an effort to punch up the wow factor in my English Garden, I recently decided that I would paint the swing that lives down there.  It was always wet and mucky and a boring brown wood color.  And to coordinate with the new painted swing, I would need cushions for my garden bench.  And if you give a mouse a cookie Sarah a paint brush, you might as well just paint the garden bench, while you are at it.  So, off we went to the fabric store to pick out some colorful outdoor fabric for the cushions as our jumping off point for the makeover.  (DIY tip of the day: Always pick your fabric first, because you can then have your paint matched to it, rather than the other way around, as you cannot always find fabrics to match paint you’ve already bought.)  We FINALLY settled on this lovely turquoise bird print fabric. 

LOVE.  Seriously, I would have a duvet out of this if that were an acceptable thing to have.
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Next, we took the fabric swatch to the hardware store to find a coordinating paint color.  Away we went with a quart of turquoise paint.  Home we came to paint the swing.  First I brought it inside to dry out, cleaned it up, then primed it with oil-based Kilz, and finally painted it with my lovely hued oil paint.  A couple days later, after it was good and dry, we reinstalled it in the garden.

And somewhere along the way, I managed to paint the garden bench a soft gray to coordinate with the birdbath and stone path.  And I also found time to sew up the round cushions to go in it!  Here they are:

And for your viewing pleasure, here’s a before and after comparison of the garden swing.
Here’s what it looked like before we moved in—ivy, ivy everywhere!

And after a great ivy battle, some plants and mulch, and a bit of paint and pillows:

Now if I could just get that brick patio under the swing straightened out, all would be well.  For now, I’m enjoying the new fun color in my garden.  Here’s the comparison from last year…

and now!

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Cutest Flower Bed Ever

I have been pretty bad at keeping up the ole blog, lately.  But trust me, there has been a LOT of blogging going on in my head.  We’ll just call that brain logging or “brogging”.  When I’m not brogging, I’m hard at work making more projects to blog about later.  And I’ve been ever so busy.  Here’s one of the projects that’s been brewing in my brog, finally ready to reveal on the blog!

A while ago I mentioned to my mother that it was really annoying to have to mow around the crape myrtle tree in the front yard.  Random in-the-yard trees that grow limbs that smack you in the face while mowing, plus interrupt the nice even mower path I try to make are not my favorite kind of tree.  So, she figured it would be a good idea to put a flower bed around said tree to make it easier to mow around, make the tree look purposeful instead of stuck in the center of the yard, and also to give me another place to grow flowers.  More flowers?!  ‘Nuff said.  So, when my tree-loving, flower-bed-not-loving-so-much husband, finally gave the go-ahead for a flower bed that was “no larger than two feet in diameter”, I passed on the news to my Mama.  The next day when I returned home from work, I was greeted with the cutest flower bed ever, that she had created for me.   See:


Cutest Flower Bed Ever.


And we filled it with an assortment of petunias, coleus, and dianthus. 


I love these striped ones, I call them “carnival” because they remind me a ferris wheel or something fun.


I also like these frilly ones with the white edges.  Pretty.

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Oh, it’s so cute, it makes me smile every time I see it.


Thanks for stopping by… keep on coming back!  I’ll be real blogging about a slew of other projects from my brog very soon, including a porch swing makeover, a cute planting table, new deck sconces, and many more!  But for now, I gotta run… I have lots of projects to work on! :)


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Guthrie Garden Spectacular (Spring Edition)

Since Mother Nature has decided that rain is a good thing, we shall endure it for a few more days.  In the meantime, I wanted to share some Spring pics from my Mama’s spectacular garden.  Mother Nature has been hard at work crafting some beautiful blossoms for the birds and bees, and the people, too! Here’s a look around the yard this time of year:

Fuchsia petunia, pink double petunia, and pink impatiens


Fuchsia and purple petunias, and pink geranium


Purple irises from below


My favorite!  Wisteria!

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Trailing up the swingset…


More irises in the side garden bed—love the flat brick edger!


Red climbing rose (with nothing to climb on) ;)

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Another climber…


Stunning purple irises




Pink knockout rose (plus the vegetable garden in the background)




That’s a quick glimpse of May in my Mama’s garden.  As soon as things dry out around here, I’ll be back with more updates from my garden and around the house projects!  Stay tuned (and stay dry!)


Saturday, May 14, 2011

“The Fairy Cove”

Last month I showed you a sneak peek of our side garden where we’ve been hard at work transforming a once-barren landscape into a charming shade garden.  And like our lower garden, the “English Garden”, this one’s going to have a silly name, too.  “The Fairy Cove”—a place for fairies to frolic in the shade of hostas and delicate butterflies to perch lightly on a liriope blossom.

This is the site of our fairy cove.  Here’s what we were working with in the side yard before we began the big fence project


Last summer, in an attempt to control the liriope explosion in the mailbox bed, I moved a bunch of liriope to the side yard and made a little border for a future planting bed.  But that’s as far as I got.  All work in this part of the yard has always been on hold because I didn’t want to landscape before we rebuild the deck.  Seeing as how we have been here three years now, with no progress on the deck rebuild, I figured I would go ahead and landscape and worry about the deck later.  So, here we were with some liriope and a bunch of dead leaves.  We tried to plant grass over here once before, but lack of soil preparation and lack of water eventually led to the untimely death of our puny grass.  Undeterred, I trudged on with my plans.  I began putting in hostas and other shade plants in the planting beds.  (Thanks Donna for the beautiful hostas!)  The flower beds were coming along, but there was still a bare expanse of mud and leaves ripe for a weed invasion come summer.  And once the fence was up, the little gate called out for a pathway along the edge of the flower bed.  I began searching for inspiration.  Here are some of the ideas I found for my shady “fairy cove”:

91746068garden path

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So, my mother, eager to help us with our dream garden, began bringing rocks from her yard and dropping them in the area. 


The rocks just kept on coming until Mama decided we probably had enough to start setting them. 


So, while my brother and father worked on the fence, Mama worked on the rock path.  Slowly digging out the hill and setting each step…


“Shopping” the rock collection for the perfect fit in the puzzle…


Leveling, filling and tamping the hard clay…


And adding rounder rocks to define the edge of the flower bed. 

Moving and digging and resetting, over and over again.


Eleven steps and two flat sections were cut into the muddy hill, until at last, we reached the top! 


To help control the mud and erosion, we added creeping plants and moss to fill in between the rocks.  We dug it up from a friend’s yard and pinned it into the clay with floral pins.  That way rainwater can’t wash it away while it’s trying to set roots in the soil.  So far, this method seems to be working, none of it has moved or died.


And over a month after we started, the pathway is finally complete!  In that time the hostas and liriope have leafed out into a beautiful and lush border.


   The pathway begins beyond the fence gate and travels up the hill…


Bordered with rocks, liriope, and assorted hostas…


Until it turns the corner around the chimney.


Then the pathway merges into our front flower bed and transitions into stepping stones…


Which take you right up to the front porch. 


Now we have a clear path around the house to the backyard, free of muddy shoes!  Our future plans for this area include planting grass (properly this time) which will hopefully fill in the rest of the mud to prevent further erosion and muddy messes!

It’s come a long way.  Here’s your parting glance of the transformation:

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Thanks for stopping by.  Come back soon for more updates from around the yard as we finish sprucing for Summer!