Friday, July 11, 2014

thinking outside the box with outdoor deck placement



I have been feeling very unproductive while I am healing my sprained ankles, if you missed that update you can read about it here
After reviewing all the work that we have completed here in just over 2 years I am just feeling relieved to have so many projects completed.
Like this sun deck or party deck we completed just before I hurt myself, phew!

I thought I would revisit how this space was transformed. 
Lets go back to last year when I bought a lovely Japanese lilac tree for this space behind our garage. 
I considered a hot tub for this space early on but it turned out to be too costly to create what I had in mind...$50,000 for a hot tub... I don't think so...I have great taste in my mind.
So I added a tree to soften this area and to add privacy, I had decided this was the perfect spot for a sun deck to have a nice lounge spot as it is sunny for nearly the whole day. 
The norm is to place decks along the back of the house but I wanted to think outside of the box and utilize more of our unusual yard.
 I use this app on my iPhone called Home Outside Palette , it is so much fun...the image below incorporates all elements we are looking for in our perfect backyard , eating area , fire pit, sundeck, kitchen/bar and even a potential space for a hot tub. Lots of fun, I don't get anything for mentioning this app I just like it.

That back fence that is old and tired looking needed to be dealt with so I attached thin pressure treated fence boards horizontally to help it blend in with our newer fences. 
I also filled in the gaps on the fence to the right with the same boards and added horizontal boards to upgrade the look and to block my dogs view of the neighbors dog to stop some of the barking (my dog doesn't like other dogs).

Here's what happened, I found a nice conversation set on sale 50% off and we bought it but had no where to put it so we moved forward with the sun deck ahead of schedule, that's why it's good to have an overall plan for landscaping so it can be tackled in phases. 
 Grass removal was not the most fun, but we used a Bagster available at Home Depot to dispose of the grass, disposing of this kind of material can be the biggest pain in the butt. It wasn't cheap but it is part of the cost of the project.
And here we are today I am calling it my little happy place...the birds gather under the tree and in the tree , I've seen bunnies on the deck and even a couple of toads have made this space under the deck home...
I added an overhanging umbrella for shade a must for those really hot days.
 I look forward to staining this deck next spring with some Australian Timber oil.
I picked up a little round table from Target as our set only came with one side table. I also added a little palm tree for a bit of a tropical feel.I am looking forward to hanging out here this weekend.

I have been thinking about re-arranging things a little and adding a bar cart/table to the wall...but then the coffee table won't work? and as it is now we can add the wicker arm chairs and comfortably seat 6 or more I need to get a couple of poufs I think. 
Maybe I will just add some hangers to put up my big lanterns on the wall.

So I say think outside the box when it comes to outdoor planning. 

You should check out Jen's backyard project, I am drooling over this back deck transformation, I am looking forward to using the same sprayer to paint our fence next spring all fresh white....

It turns out my husband wasn't so sure about having a deck behind the garage but it is a really nice and he loves it as much as I do. 

Do you have an outdoor space I should see , leave me a link and I'll check it out. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

on the home front...

sorry for keeping so quiet lately...not much has been going as as far as home improvement goes, we have been busy with birthdays though....baby girl Sophie turned 13 on the 26th of June one day before Mason turned 16...time has flown by


 We took the girls out for a joint dinner on Mason's birthday and something miraculous happened...they let me take photos of them....this never happens....aren't they so lovely....
I bleached Mason's hair blonde in preparation for her to color it pastel pinky coral.... why not , you're only young once, I blame Youtube videos....

 I had my fall just prior to the kids birthdays but somehow I whipped up a simple birthday cake for Sophie, just a box cake...red velvet...
 It's been very beautiful lately , lot's of wonderful clear hot days....bring it on...because I've got nothing but time while I still am healing my ankles that I sprained...its 18 days since I fell and my ankles are healing quite well and improving nicely but it seems some days it's one step forward two steps back....thank you for all the lovely comments and well wishes...

I am taking Mason to NYC very soon for our mother daughter sweet 16 trip I have been planning since she was a little girl...we are so excited... it will be our first time and we are making a road trip of it....but I need to be able to really walk so taking the time to heal it so important...


We were introduced to something very exciting yesterday , my SIL brought this box of fruit sorbet she picked up at Costco served in fruit cavities....it is so delish you must try...

All this time sitting around has my thinking of all the projects I need to or can do.....soon I will back at it...
Minwax sent me these staining cloths, how brilliant...I can't wait to give them a try...


The MOST exciting thing happened the other day....Ryobi sent me a cordless brad nailer and let me tell you I can not wait to get going with this baby.....my kids always think I'm nuts being so excited over a tool...I wonder if any of what I do will rub off on them when they are older , will they be handy???? So far they show NO interest in what I do around the house...but I didn't at their age either, so only time will tell. 
I think I will be making an outdoor bar table for a our little deck and I can give this bad boy a go!

So for now I sit a lot...and plan

Hope you have a beautiful day 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

sometimes life slows you down

I thought I should pop in and say hi and show you what's going to be slowing me down for the summer...sadly.
I have sprained BOTH my ankles...
 I've been spending a lot of time like this lately...being sidelined is really hard for me since I am clearly a busy body type. I have a million things to do daily and I like it that way.
I was up to my usual things just after lunch on Thursday putting up a new umbrella on our new deck, I wanted to move one of our little (35 lb) fire pits over to the dining area off the deck I stepped off the deck and my left ankle gave way rolled popped and then the right foot did the same, I crumbled to the ground and I was convinced both my ankles were broken.
I was able to crawl to the house where my daughter was and she helped me from there. I was able to get to the Dr and have my ankles looked at , my Dr determined they weren't broken but were badly sprained.
Just stay off them, rest and they will get better.
That first couple of days was pretty awful but I am happy to say my ankles are improving slowly but they are improving. I am walking like a toddler which has really slowed me down...my family has been very helpful especially my husband I am so lucky to have him to take care of me.
                                                                                   

 I was able to take part in the grocery shopping thanks to one of those motor carts they have..beep beep.
 I normally have very boney ankles that look nothing like this.
 Be careful when stepping off things especially while carrying heavy things please, or ask for help.
 This was my Saturday...doesn't look too bad...sadly I get bored easily. I am so glad this happened after we completed the fence and deck projects.
I just have to throw in this photo of my 1 year old Mason going back 15 years....I sure miss my babies. My Mom stopped by the other day with a bag of old photos for us to go through. Honestly she was the cutest every mom thinks that.

So if you don't see me posting lots of projects over the next few weeks you will now know why...I guess I'm not going to be painting my bedroom or finishing the dining room any time soon. I am just very lucky they weren't broken.... please be careful out there.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sweet Sixteen

 Over the weekend we celebrated Mason's sweet 16.....how can I be saying that, where did the years go?

 A simple brownie cake...Mason is not a birthday cake person at all.....we all ate too much junk this weekend

Mason wanted a a jumping castle for her party...I love her for this, she is a good girl into good clean fun....so the opposite of me at 16...thankful!!!
We ordered the castle from Castle Kids my friend from grade school's company, if you are in the GTA and need a jumping castle check them out they have the biggest selection I've seen. All kinds of themes, water inflatables, ones with basketball hoops and lots of other rentals and party needs.

 Mason asked for mason jars for drinks...I picked up a great pack at Target for $7 and we used the cute paper straws I picked up from Michael's craft store.
 Things were pretty chilly,gloomy and windy all day before the party but it finally warmed up enough just in time for the start.
 I got a little portable s'mores bar ready for outside, why do we just use graham crackers? I picked up soft chocolate chip and chocolate sided cookies to keep things easy they make another great option for those roasted marshmallows.


We gathered as many blankets as we could find and fired up three portable mini fire pits from Walmart that use the little propane canisters...we love these things, they make a perfect heater and are great for roasting marshmallows and hot dogs too.
All in all it was a great celebration for this big milestone. Happy Birthday to my beautiful first born Mason, my life would be so boring without you...we love you and are so proud of you.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Our new outdoor room and platform deck

 The weather co-operated the other day and my wonderful friends came by two days ago and helped me set all the joists which was a big job. Then yesterday I worked on installing the boards all day and by dinner time I had a nice new outdoor room to enjoy, and we did enjoy a lot of time out there last night.


 I mitered the corners to add a little detail I lucked out that the frame was perfectly square.


Next year I will stain the deck and lovely colour I will use Austrailian timber oil like I used at the old house.

I so deserved and enjoyed this Corona last night, we got out the fire feature and made s'mores and enjoyed lots of time together...we are going to be spending a lot of time out on our new deck this summer.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

small backyard deck project

 We have finally recovered from our big fencing project and the weather for the most part has been perfectly beautiful. As you can see we really need a bigger fire feature, well I have been hunting to find the perfect option and I think I may have found one. I wanted a gas fire pit table that can house a large propane tank. I love real wood burning fire but it is against by-law to burn wood within the city area and although lots of people do I didn't want to chance it since the $400 fine is a bit steep and we live on the corner and if someone wanted to call and complain than we are out of luck. So propane is a great option , instant fire and heat and no nasty smoke in the face.
 If you have been following along a year ago we were planning on installing a custom hot tub back here behind the garage...well it was not worth the cost of possibly $50,000 and it was going to have to be long and narrow to abide by the codes and it just seemed like a wrong choice after weighing all of our options.
I went ahead and picked out a beautiful tree, this Japanese lilac, it will soften up this back corner. This has become a nice spot for bird watching and bunny sightings, we see daily lots of robins, cardinals and yellow finches.
 Here is a cute pic of our pooches enjoying some sun, they sure love the warm weather.
 This is my latest design plan for our yard. There are three important zones for us, an eating area a fire pit area and a sunny conversation area. The patio expansion will have to wait for this year, hopefully we can tackle it next summer but for now we picked up a love seat and arm chair set on sale and decided to go ahead with a deck behind the garage.

 We had to remove the grass to get prepared to build the deck.
 Grass removal is back breaking work. My hubby did most of the removal. I scored the sod with my electric edger which made it more manageable.
Our little dog Dolce enjoying some outdoor time on the faux fur blanket....he is now 12 years old and almost completely blind which is causing a lot of problems with our other do Moe who is the more dominant dog. Dolce can't see Moe's visual cues anymore and crowds in on his space and then Moe sees it as a threat and sadly has been attacking Dolce and he just doesn't stand up to Moe...if anyone has advice for me on this I would love to hear it. I am just trying to keep on top of them and trying to keep them separated mostly. It is very stressful and a sad situation.

I am so inspired by the backyard of Modern Jane you can see it here and here , it just has a great feeling and is so stylish.I am crazy about the stained wall by the house, it is amazing. I'm really looking forward to spending lot's of time on our finished deck on our comfy new furniture.
We are attaching one of the ledgers to the foundation of the garage...I have some advice, rent a hammer drill if you don't have one, it was the best $20 I have spent on this project, it took 5 min to drill 10 holes, we tried with a normal drill and a masonry bit and it did not go well at all, so don't waste your time, rent the proper equipment.
We have Mason's sweet 16 party this Saturday and this rain is really getting in the way of progress, we may be working well into the night on Friday to get this 14'x12' deck complete but I'm sure it will get done because a mud pit is not in order.

Rain rain go away.....please!

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