Hello there and happy summer! This weekend marks the beginning of our summer vacation and I couldn’t be more excited.
Those of you who know me know that I very rarely have a ‘lazy’ day but this year I am making a concerted effort to relax and enjoy long summer days with my family. Which is why we have spent a RIDICULOUS amount of time this spring working on our backyard because this year I’m determined to understand what the phrase “lazy days of summer” actually means.
I have to admit; I’m pretty proud of how everything has come together. Here’s what our backyard looked like at this very same time last year.
And here’s what it looks like now!
Believe me, there has been a lot of sweat and toil that has gone into this backyard over the past year.
Of course, the biggest transformation was painting the exterior last fall. You can see the difference that made in these pictures of the foundation garden we added to the back of the house this spring.
Early Spring 2016:
I know this garden doesn’t look perfect and still needs a lot of work to hide the ugly A/C unit but hoping that the plants grow tall enough to hide this soon!
We also added a several new garden beds and plants in the pool area garden.
I truly can’t believe how different this looked at this time last year.
The most amazing part is that I did all of the gardening myself! Believe me, that’s a near miracle, because I have never planted a successful garden in my life. Until now I managed to kill just about every plant I put in the ground. I read nearly everything I could get my hands on about gardening but it still seemed so intimidating and complicated to me. What if I used the wrong soil? What if I planted something in the wrong location? What if I continued to throw my hard earned money down the gardening toilet?
This year something clicked, and as I look back now at what made my garden successful it really was very simple. Take the intimidation factor away and just follow these very simple guidelines:
- If you plant something and it does well, plant another one! Or two. Or three.
- Be patient. Plants don’t always look good the first season they are planted. Wait a year and see how they do before you decide that you are a black thumb.
- It’s ok to experiment. If you buy a plant that doesn’t look good or grow well where you planted it, try moving it. If that doesn’t work, well, that’s ok! Now you know that you aren’t good at growing that particular plant.
- Go to your local nursery and take their advice! At first I wasn’t sure that I loved the design plan that the guy at our local nursery came up with for our space but decided to go with it anyway. Now I love my garden so much that I don’t plant anything without asking for his advice first.
- Fertilize. There is a reason that they call it “Miracle Grow”. It’s like steroids for your garden and it works!
Of course, I can’t talk about the backyard without mentioning the pièce de ré·sis·tance; the cabana that we had built last summer.
I can’t tell you how much we love this space. We actually didn’t do much work in here this spring except decorate, but we did have some sod laid around it to make it look a little more finished.
We still have some plans to eventually build a bar in the cabana but until then we will just enjoy it as is.
I have to say, I am really proud of our backyard. There are still loads of work to be done (landscaping, masonry, new fence, bar), but every step we make to make it better makes us love it even more. And it’s a good excuse to stay lazy this summer!
(As much as I’d like to, we can’t take all the credit here so thanks to John Early of Early Realtors and Builders for building the cabana, Charles River Landesign for the retaining wall and masonry work, Dufour Landscaping for laying our new sod, Medway Gardens for the great garden design advice, and Rain by Design for our new sprinkler system.)