Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Backyard Living

After a very long and snowy winter, spring seems to have arrived at last! I've seen daffodils and tulips around town nodding their pretty heads in the gentle breeze. We are having more sunny days than cloudy... and the temperatures are finally warm enough to enjoy being outside.

I've been in the notion to work in the yard lately. Wanna help me?

(The azalea bush was a housewarming gift from dear friends.)

Summer weather here in north Idaho is very conducive to outdoor living. Days can be hot during July and August, but it doesn't get terribly humid and the temperatures cool off in the evenings, so we love to sit outside and watch the sun set and the stars come out.

Remember, this is a new house for us, so what landscaping there is was done by the previous owners (or tenants--who knows?). I've been poring over gardening pictures trying to get an idea of how to make this somewhat boring backyard into a cozy extension of our living space. But on a shoestring. With low maintenance options. I know... I don't ask for much, do I? I have lots of ideas, but not a lot of money... or spare time.

We decided to start with the existing deck for this year. Of course, I'd rather have a real porch... or a gazebo, at the very least... but we work with what we have. The deck was in pretty good shape, but hadn't been maintained in several years. The ground had settled under it, so it bounced as you walked across it. Lyle's first project was to reinforce it. He took up several boards evenly spaced across the width of it, and put in concrete blocks underneath, and then put the boards back on. He's a pretty handy guy to have around! Next he plans to stain and seal the wood.

In the meantime, I wanted to create a place for weekend picnics, early morning coffee, and twilight stargazing. We already had the nice yard swing with a canopy, but we didn't have a table. We thought that a round table-for-four with an umbrella would be a good fit, since the deck is not covered, nor are there any shade trees. We shopped around a bit but hadn't yet saved up enough money to get what we wanted, when I found this set at Goodwill one weekend!
(Please ignore the scraggly grass and the fast-food cups.
But feel free to admire the cute doggy!)

It only came with 3 chairs and no umbrella. We have other chairs and we could buy an umbrella (and we will, eventually)... but rather than spending the money for that right now, I came up with the "brilliant" idea of using our camping canopy to serve the purpose for this season. After Lyle got the deck put back together, he helped me arrange the furniture.

It's a start anyway. I'm trying to figure out if it would look stupid to hang some sort of curtain on the front side of the canopy as a shade from the evening sun. Maybe something white and gauzy to tie back on the sides when we don't need it? What do you think?

Well... it's still pretty boring, but at least we now have a place to sit. I plan to add more flower pots with bright flowers this weekend... and I've got my eye out for for a tiny bistro table with 2 stools for the corner of the upper deck. (We can't see the mountains from the lower deck!) And we need to figure out something prettier for under the upper deck. I'm open to suggestions! On a shoestring, of course.


Farrah said...

Looks like you're off to a wonderful start! :-) Now that we're finally starting to add stuff in our yard, I'm finding it's tons of fun! It is hard not to go crazy though and want to spend tons. Oof!

Toots said...

I like the curtain idea, Karla! It's fun to see the progress, the projects, etc., of all our blogging friends. It's such a great thing to get ideas from each other.
Enjoy those low humidity days! Our humidity is pretty high from June through Sept. : (
That's one reason we love to visit Jackson, WY in the summer. We couldn't do it were it not that Curt has continuing Ed. every June!
We're questioning whether we'll be able to go further west than Jackson though.
Just hope to see you here in IL when you come through!

Dori said...

I have just the most brilliant idea! If you have enought shoe can weave yourself a hammock!!! Mom thinks it's a good idea too!

Grateful Gramma said...

Actually, I think your camping canopy looks better than an umbrella would. That was a great idea!