Happy Summer everyone! Yesterday (post written Tuesday) was the first day of the season, also the summer solstice, or the longest day of the year...I don't know about you, but my days are never long enough, so now I'm in a panic because from here on, the days will be shorter!! Anyway, it is the most carefree of the seasons, when most kids are out of school and we are enjoying the great outdoors. Hope you're enjoying your summer.
I have been spending a lot of time outside, continuing my exterior facelift project and getting things ready for Down in the Delta-A Vintage & Antiques Market that will take place October 21 & 22. It'll be here before we know it, and I'm sure I won't get everything on my list finished--I never get to the end of my outside work list!
I thought it was time to share some of the updates with you. It's been a while since I last posted on it and if I wait until it's all completely finished, it will be months before I post. There is a lot to share, so I'll be posting once a day until I show you everything we've been doing.
This is what the front of the house looked like before we started:
And, here's a picture from the same viewpoint, after:
Basically, we changed the color of the house, but just ever so slightly. It looks like a dramatic change up close, but you can see when you stand back and look (the two pics above), there's not that much difference in the colors. The old color was a little more gray. It's a little lighter now.
I also changed the front door for a lighter feel. It went from black to turquoise.
I pulled up the brick sidewalk. The old one went from two different directions, and no one ever used the one that went straight, so I decided to take it up and make just one flagstone path with a sitting area. It's a lot wider and we actually have found ourselves using the bench frequently! (Our cellphones don't work well inside, so if we are using our phones, it's turned out to be a nice place to sit and talk.)
Here is a shot of the bench all staged with pretty pillows...
We took out seven trees, had the stumps ground and then cut, split and stacked the wood to use in the wood stove this winter. That took weeks! Those were some big trees...Oh, and before we could do the firewood, hubby had to build a wood shed. We were able to recycle the brick from the old sidewalk that I had pulled up by using them on the ground to make a floor.
We stacked, split and stacked more, and then some more. Once it was finished, the shed was completely full, with the wood three stacks deep. I think it measured to be a little more than four cords.
After the trees came out, we had planned to have landscapers come in and re-sod the lawn, but we were advised that the problem with our grass was that the trees were shading it too much. Now that the trees are gone, and the sun can reach it, it should fill in. So, apparently we don't need new sod, which is a good thing, because it saved us some cash! Now, if it will just hurry up already and grow!!!
Now, I'll share some of the flower beds/gardens that I've installed, but there is still much more work to be done. The footprint of our house is big, and I have beds planned for all around the house, so there should be seven when they're all finished. At this point, I have finished five, but of course, flower beds are never really finished...are they? It's just another addiction!
Starting at the front of the house, to the right, I have a little garden that's enclosed in a white picket fence. This one is just off the kitchen and it has a brick floor. I have coleus up against the house, as this is the shady side. There's a rose growing along the fence, another rose in the corner, and a couple of herbs along the fence on the inside. I will share pics of this little garden in another post. Notice another turquoise door...I'm loving the doors! I usually have a bistro table with chairs out in that area, but I just realized I haven't put them back out since the house-painting project was finished. That's a pleasant little spot for morning coffee.
Coming on around the front, you can see a tree stump in the foreground beside the other tree. That was one that we had removed, as it was a certain type of tree with a weak root system, and we just didn't want to leave it so close to the house since we live in hurricane country. It was too close to the other tree to grind the stump, so it serves as a pedestal for a potted plant at this point.
This shot shows a wider view of the entire front of the house. Those two tall trees are called podocarpus, and they were supposed to grow to a maximum height of ten to twelve feet. Well, they are now about twenty feet tall and still growing! I've trimmed them to keep the columnar shape, but I'm not sure I like the way that one is waving around in front of that window up top. It's was not supposed to ever reach that window! People always love those two plantings, and wonder what they are. I hate to take them out because they do seem to be happy there. I pulled up everything that was in between them and planted three Encore azaleas. They are small now, but they grow very fast. I have some in the backyard, too, that have been there several years, and they have grown so fast that it's hard to keep them trimmed correctly. I think they will fill in to put on a pretty show in the front yard a few times each year.
This is looking from the driveway toward the sidewalk. Now, we'll walk on up...
My rusty dragonfly greets visitors as they step onto the flagstone sidewalk.
Oh, and I almost forgot-details, details, details. I added little bits of glass into the cracks between the flagstones, just because I always add bling wherever I can.
That's the front yard....for now. As you can see, I wasn't working with any particular color palette. For the flowers I have reds, pinks, yellows, oranges, purples, lime green, dark green and anything else I can find to add even more color. The idea was just an informal cottage garden look with color overload and some flowers to cut eventually...and to have something that's always in bloom to greet my visitors.
Tomorrow, I'll share another view from the side of the house, where I've installed a long skinny bed that runs along the screened in porch. I was actually out there this morning planting flowers in that area...