one room challenge

Spring 2021 – ORC: Week 2

Week Two: In which I share the The Befores in all their glory. Let’s go.

Welcome! Everyone loves a good before and after, right?

I have to be honest here. I am so used to cropping photos for the best shot, it is really hard for me to showcase the warts! But this is all part of the fun, right? So let’s go.

First things first. This is already a great yard! The back part needs some help, but the patio is charming and I have a lot to work with already. We do have plans for a bigger renovation next year (think Pergola! And new stone! And a new grilling area!) But as much as we would love to do a complete renovation this summer, it’s not going to happen right now.

The goal is to refresh what we already have, create a European-inspired dining patio, and transform the far back of the yard into a conversation / fire pit area.

Here is the space:

This photo is taken from the back corner of our lot. Things I love:

  • The trees! We are so lucky to have two beautiful redbud trees that bloom for weeks in early spring.
  • The space carved out by the garage on the right in this photo
  • Privacy on either side
  • Shade in the afternoon
  • Good grass
  • Lots of stone and hardscape
  • Our sweet porch you can see on the far left!

I also love the easy access from our family room. It makes for a nice flow for entertaining. Right now I am constantly looking at tarped furniture and nekkid chairs. We can do better!

I photoshopped out the furniture in this next photo so you can get a better sense of the patio space. It’s already so charming, but I am hoping to make it extra special.

The redbud trees will soon be full of leaves and provide the best canopy!

The odd bed of rocks used to house two birch trees that constantly dropped leaves into our gutter and all over the patio. We had them removed last year and it has already made a difference. It did leave the space feeling a bit exposed, though.

Next year’s plan includes reconfiguring the hardscape and adding a pergola. For now, we are going to work with all of the different kinds of rocks and pavers, and try to create an intimate space using elements that we can move and reuse later.

This is how everything stands right now:

When we moved in, there were arborvitae across the back fence, but a storm blew them over last summer and we had them taken down. Regaining some privacy is high on the priority list.

The four brown rectangles at the back of the property were raised garden beds that I just rehomed to ambitious neighbors. We tried to farm for the last two years, and I loved the fresh tomatoes, but it was taking prime real estate in our yard.

Back fence after trees removed
Phoebe and her farm late last summer. Crispy grass.

So here’s the Plan:

It’s ambitious, but we plan on adding a pea gravel conversation / firepit space to the back, thereby opening up the patio area for a dining space. I like the idea of having it slightly sunken as well, and the change of elevation will help to divide the space, and provide some added privacy.

Some people might scoff at getting rid of so much grass, but we don’t have irrigation back there, and that part of the yard gets a LOT of sun in the afternoons. (You can see how it looks in Phoebe’s farm photo) It gets crispy. We won’t miss it.

This week, I need to finalize my plans with the landscaper. Once I know that part of the plan is in the works, I can get to the power washing and scheming for the patio!

(Once again, side-by-side:)

A big thank you to the One Room Challenge organizers and Media Partner, Better Homes and Gardens!

Make sure to see what the featured designers are up to and check in with the other ORC guest participants.

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