Showing posts with label Outdoor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Outdoor. Show all posts

Client Design: French Country Patio

Feb 27, 2019

Outdoor spaces are just as important as interiors in Texas since we live outside most of the year. My client had put in a new pool and needed help with the patio areas. I was inspired by the French architecture and interiors of the home when designing it. I absolutely loved the way it turned out!

I added a touch of aqua blue in the pillows to pick up the pool color.

This gorgeous table is real stone! The battery operated candles are on a timer to turn on every evening.

The white mosaic table lightens the space and adds a transitional element that reflects the home and pool design.

A place for mom and dad to watch the kids swim.

The lounge chairs behind the sun deck.



I hope you enjoyed this project! Sources are listed below. 

Swivel Chairs-RH


DIY Backyard Landscaping Reveal

Jul 15, 2018

I think I've written so many times about wanting to have our backyard landscaped! We have had zero luck with contractors over the past two years. Their vision and/or pricing has not been even close to what I had in mind. My husband and I had mentioned just planting trees and shrubs ourselves, but we were still thinking it over until a few weeks later when we noticed Houston Garden Center had 50% off all their plants. They have the sale every year and even discount them to 75% off in August. This sale is also how we landscaped our last backyard for cheap. It's not exactly ideal timing with the Houston heat, but if you're willing to sweat you can save big. We decided we were ready to sweat!

When we built our pool a couple of years ago we added the Italian cypress trees behind the pool wall within a few months. They were a little thin and short at the time, but they have grown so much the past two years. The new landscaping is all along the fence line in the back. I'm hoping in the next year or two the plants will grow a couple of feet taller and wider so you don't even see the fence.

We only addressed half the yard, from behind the hot tub to the side gate by the front of the house. It's the main area you see when you walk outside. I'm hoping we will landscape the other half next summer. I'm already going to start planning it out to get a head start!

This is the starting point. I'll take you you on a little tour all the way to the side gate.

We used Japanese blueberries and magnolia trees where we will eventually need privacy on the side fence (directly in front of you in the below photo). Hopefully, it will be a couple of years before the lot is sold and the house built so they have time to get big. The area to the left (the fence behind the pool) will never have neighbors on that side so we used wax myrtles that will just cover the fence. I also added Texas sage that's a bit lighter in leaf color to add a bit of variation. It has a pretty purple flower that blooms in the spring and summer too. 

I like how the new flowerbed creates a little walking path in the back. We also added solar lights to the beds. They are only $10 each and it's so nice not to have to worry about using timers and electricity. It's also a no-brainer to install. You just stick it in the ground and switch it on. There's no lines to bury at all. My husband says he would eventually like to get real lights, but I think these are fine. They are bright enough and last all night.

The view from behind the cypress trees.

The side fences-The one with the magnolias is one side fence on the unbuilt lot. Their house will back up to the corner of our house on this small section. The one with the cypress trees is the second side fence.

The other side fence. It's a strange shaped backyard with two neighbors on one side. Here's a close-up of the Japanese blueberries that will eventually reach 30 feet tall. They are about five feet tall right now. I'm hoping next year they will cover the fence. Then we start a line of cypress trees. These are what ours looked like when we planted the ones behind the pool wall. It's amazing how big they get! I'm not quite sure if these are going to stay. We were honestly out of options because we needed something big, but didn't want to buy too many of the same plants. They may end up being transplanted to the other side of the yard next year.

I absolutely love these holly trees! I kind of wish we had continued these down the fence line, but they were a little pricey. If they're still available next month at 75% off I may buy several more. I love that they almost cover our neighbor's house. It's so nice to look out the dining room window and see greenery instead of fence and a house so close by. They still need to get a bit taller and grow wider, but it's already a huge improvement.

The small shrub with the roses and vincas around it were my idea of a divider between the holly and cypress trees. I'm not so sure that worked out so great in reality! I'm thinking of curving the bed a little more so it's not such a half circle. If I copy it on the other side against the house I'm hoping it may look like the grass is in an oval shape.

I still haven't planted anything against the house yet. I'm not sure if I'm up to it this year!

This is just a first layer. I'd like to tweak and add more in front of the large trees and shrubs. I decided to get the big stuff in first so we can add privacy from the side neighbors and cover the unattractive fence.

To recap, here is the before.




It was so worth it to DIY our backyard landscaping. We saved so much money that instead of landscaping one small section we were able to do half the yard. How much did we save? The quote we received for the same landscaping area was $35,000 and we spent $3,000. No joke! Half our budget went to hiring someone to shape the beds and mulch it. We could have saved several hundred more, but we wanted to have it completed in time for our 4th of July party. We decided we were on a roll so we installed a new outdoor speaker system for the patio and saved 70% there. It was already pre-wired so it really wasn't difficult at all.

What's in store for next year? I mentioned I'd like to landscape the other side of the yard and it's what I'm most excited about. I'm going to create a formal garden! It's something that I've always wanted. I'm a little nervous because it's so different from anything I've ever done. At least the yard on that side is less challenging because there aren't privacy issues or weird lot angles to disguise. I've got a year to draw it out instead of just grabbing what was on hand at the garden center with no plan!


Backyard Reveal

May 13, 2018

Happy Mother's Day! I hope everyone had a great weekend. We didn't do much today, but I made sure to take the kids to visit my mom. My parents usually come to our house since we always cook, but it was a nice change of pace to visit them at their house. It's been a while, but my youngest son remembered exactly where the candy dish was in the living room! Saturday was spent hanging outside by the pool with the kids, and I snapped a few photos while drinking my pina colada that you may notice in several photos. I had to put it down and it was great for staging!

The first thing I want to show you is the new seating area by the pool. We have the sectional under the covered porch, but it gets blasted by the sun late in the afternoon since it faces west and it doesn't get the breeze since it's protected by the brick walls. That's great in the late fall and winter when it's cool, but not so much when it's hot. When I mention breeze, I really mean wind gusts! I've never experienced anything like this before, but it's almost like being on a beach sometimes. I'm guessing it's because there's not a barrier between the lake across the street and our house. Except for the constant breaking of umbrellas, it's amazing!

The lounge chairs and dining table set from Target has held up so well I naturally went with the seating from the same collection. I carried the light and dark blues from the covered porch out here as well. The darker blue seemed a little harsh next to the gray-brown color so I went lighter blue on the pillows and mixed in the dark blues as an accent. The "coffee table" is actually a fire pit. I can't even begin to describe how pretty it is with the fire on when it gets dark. The boys immediately broke it in by making s'mores. We also have solar lights on the retaining wall for extra lighting. They were so inexpensive and work so well. It's nice not to have to worry about using more electricity either. We're going to put even more of them out here soon.

The rosemary next to the sofa makes the entire seating area smell amazing!

I am pretty much obsessed with my lemon tree. I inspect the progress at least twice a day.

Here's my little guy making his s'more!

This is definitely an unstaged photo! The umbrellas are absolutely necessary for that west facing sun I mentioned earlier. We tucked them underneath the railing so they wouldn't blow over and I didn't want to have to try to put them back, but they aren't the prettiest en masse like this. Once we tilt them in the afternoons they shade the entire dining and bar area.

I mentioned this striped umbrella in a previous post, but here it is in my own home! The spot with the towel is my favorite. It's because it's completely shaded once I tilt the umbrella. I do not need any more sun spots!

The view from the terrace. We've been getting quotes for landscaping, but I could put my son halfway through college just to landscape half of the fence you see here. You know what this means, right? If you've followed my blog long enough you know how cheap I am. I'll just do it myself! Somehow it all works out in the end.

This purple tree is one of my favorites! Next to the navy striped umbrella it takes my breath away. The pictures do not do it justice.

There's my pina colada again! You can make these without alcohol too, which is great for a lightweight like me. I can drink as many as I like right in the middle of the day!


The Patio Series: Bright and Whimsical

Apr 14, 2018

The past few weeks have been devoted to getting my patio ready for spring and summer. I am so close to being finished! I am enjoying our new seating area by the pool every morning with my coffee and a glass of wine in the evening. There's nothing I love more than sitting outside with a great view when the weather is nice. The kids also join us without even having to ask them to grace us with their presence. That's nothing short of a miracle now that they're at the tween/teen age!

I noticed when shopping online the Palm Beach/Palm Springs look is very popular right now. I just love the mix of bright colors and retro furniture. This Palm Beach inspired photo from Ballard Designs is so fun and colorful. The banana leaf print and blush color have come back full force lately. You can always safely invest in striped cushions or umbrellas because they will never go out of style!

I remember visiting Palm Beach years ago when we lived in Florida. I didn't know much about it at the time since I was younger, but I immediately fell in love with the homes, the ocean and Worth Avenue of course.

The Breakers

Lilly Pulitzer is the epitome of Palm Beach style! I just love the new line at Pottery Barn.

I always look forward to Frontage's outdoor catalog for inspiration. Most of the furniture is out of my price range, but some of the decor items are reasonably priced, especially with their 20-30% off coupons. This Palm Springs look is making me want to jump on a plane and turn on my Frank Sinatra playlist.

Actually, I am headed to Palm Springs this summer. We have golfers in my family! The retro hotels and pools could not be more adorable. I absolutely love The Parker Hotel, but it's not feasible to stay there with kids. That doesn't mean we can't visit for lunch!

The younger boys will love the lemonade stand.

Palm Beach and Palm Springs are very similar in style, aren't they? Palm Springs is mid-century modern and Palm Beach is more traditional, but they are both colorful. The takeaway is to look for stripes, brights, pagoda style umbrellas, banana leaf prints and maybe add a flamingo for fun. Don't forget the serving and drink ware for entertaining!