Thursday, May 31, 2012

Our Stone Garden.

This week, it was time to start the landscaping around the deck. We knew we wanted a more modern look so decided to go with perennial grasses and stone. I'll admit I was nervous, I love flowers and mulched gardens but felt a different look would suit the design of our deck much more. It's good to go out of your comfort zone from time to time!

First off, we did what I think was the toughest job yet: removing the sod. Luckily Stephane did most of the work. It's really heavy! Plus, where do you put it all? Currently it's hiding in a corner against the fence. It will be a job just to get it out of there!

Next we used an edging around the perimeter. Apparently this keeps the weeds away but I'll believe it when I see it. Nonetheless, it provides a nice clean edge to work with. Then we laid down a weed barrier over the whole area.

We picked up two different grass perennials at the garden center. Karl Foerster, which is a feathered reed grass and should grow 5 feet tall, providing us with some privacy on one side of the deck. We also set in some Blue Oat grass which will fill the areas in between. We cut the weed barrier, dug a hole and filled it with some nutrient rich garden soil, then planted the perennials. They looks pretty measly now but I have high hopes! (No photos of the process since we did this part on a rainy, cold evening.)

Next up, we filled the area with pea stone. Loading up the wheelbarrow, dumping and spreading. I figure we've done three tonnes at this point. Needless to say, I'm a tad sore. I was kind of in my glory though.. I love that stuff!

The lighter color is close to what it will really look like. We had done that part the night before so it's drier. The stone is wet where it has just been applied. We plan to add a small tree where Stephane is standing and a hedge along the walkway.

After fiddling around with the stone a while, raking it over and over to smooth it out, we added our simple slate walkway.

 Each piece is actually much closer together than they appear in the photos. Must be the angle of the shot.

Still more work to do yet! Check out the pile of pea stone still to use. At first we though we ordered too much but maybe not! I sort of hope not.. a pain to get rid of!!

It's been a job but we've enjoyed spending our evening outside and seeing it transition little by little. I think it's a bit Asian inspired but Stephane thinks it's Arizona chic:) Still lots to do but we're getting there! I'll be back with another update next week!

Last chance to enter the Empire Patio Furniture Covers giveaway! Go here to enter. Contest closes Friday at 10pm AST.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Wall Behind the Sofa.

Here is a somewhat recent shot of the sofa in my living room. Actually, it's really not recent... the pillows have changed, the coffee table is changed, the overhead light is gone. Oh well, what I really want to draw your attention to, are the three frames behind the sofa.

I really like the linear look of the frames but I'm bored with them. Also, the ceilings are quite high and it could use a little more height. I think I will move those frames into the hallway and create a gallery wall above the couch.

A gallery wall, however, is never is easy as it seems. There is a fine line between an artful arrangement and a cluttered wall. Personally, I like mismatched frames in different sizes and finishes with a couple of paintings on canvas thrown in. The spacing is huge for me too. Too close and it's busy, too far apart and it looks skimpy. I guess the secret is just playing around with what you've got until you find one that works. I suppose that would require some patience:)

Here are some of my favorite gallery walls hung behind a sofa that I'm using as my source of inspiration.

Source: via Jane on Pinterest

I suppose the last one does is not a sofa but possesses a chair so beautiful, it made the cut. Do I actually own all these beautiful pieces to be hung? No, but a few so that's a start! Do I have other projects on the go that should be finished first? Sure, but I can start collecting or diy-ing in preparation.

I think it couch be very beautiful and take my living room from the calm serene space it's been to something a little more edgy and fun. Time for a change. What do you think? Any tips?

You can follow the rest of my gallery wall board on Pinterest here.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Giveaway: $75 of Patio Furniture Covers.

I recently snagged a great deal on some new patio chairs at Canadian Tire. They were regular $160 each and  took them home for $50 a piece! Gotta love a good deal! They are perfect for our new deck. I love the simple modern lines.

Today I am jealous because I am giving one lucky reader a $75 gift certificate for stylish, fitted outdoor patio furniture covers from Empire Patio Covers plus free shipping within Canada and the US. I would love to get some for our table and chairs and our two new ones! The winner gets to choose the size, color and style from their selections and believe me, there are plenty!

It's a great way to look after your furniture since it can sometimes be a significant investment. All of their covers are UV treated and 100% waterproof, plus they can be tied down so you don't lose them in the wind!

Don't have patio furniture? What about a BBQ cover?

I should really have one of these. Protect your car upholstery but still have your furry friend travel with you with this soft quilted bench cover. He'll be riding in style!

So... want to win some patio furniture covers? The rules are simple:

All my readers are eligible to enter. Leave a comment and tell me the one thing you would love to do with your outdoor living space (yard, deck, gardens). It's that time of year!  

Additional entries:

1. Followers get an extra entry! (Leave a separate comment)
2. Tweet about the giveaway (Leave a separate comment)
3. Blog about this giveaway (Leave a separate comment)

Lots of chances to win! Best of luck. 
Contest closes next Friday, June 1st (June already!) 10pm AST. 
Winner will be chosen using

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Backyard Makeover.

I'm back! It's been a busy week but a little blog break was just what I needed to recharge. The sun was shining here all of the long weekend so it was nice to spend so much time outside.

I have to give credit to Stephane, he worked relentlessly for the last while, getting the yard prepared and building the new deck. The yard is rather large and I always felt that it was unused space. There was a tree planted smack in the middle so we decided to integrate it in to the design of the deck.

He started by building a new deck at the back door. The old one was tiny and rotten. You can read more about that part here. Next up, he dug out the grass and leveled the area in preparation for the gravel base.

Then, we had 4 tonnes of gravel delivered and we filled the area with gravel. Many trips with the wheelbarrow! Here is me spreading it all out.

Once leveled, he rented a tamper and compacted the gravel. Apparently this was the funnest part:) Then he built the frame for the deck and the stairs leading to the smaller deck.

The long part was screwing in all the decking boards.

Here is where we are at now. Bear in mind that there is still lots of work to do. We were just happy to be able to eat supper outside this weekend and sit with a few drop in visitors. It's been lovely!
Still on the to-do list:

Fill the gravel area with pea stone
Finish top deck
Landscape around the deck
Outdoor planters
Figure out the walkway

Did you spot Beaufort in the last photo? My favorite part is the lights we hung in the tree. It's pretty dreamy at night! 

Stay tuned for more progress over the coming weeks!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Backyard and A Break.

I'm back! We had a great weekend in Fredericton at the race weekend! We were each happy with our times, especially Julie who finished her half marathon in 1:48:32. Almost 9 minutes faster than her last one!
I was a proud sister!

I know.. bad hair!

On another note, things are busy around here. The second stage of the deck is coming along but I shoveled enough gravel last night that my muscles are aching today. Plus, I've been hobbling around with a bit of a sore knee :(

Here are some exciting progress photos for you {sarcasm}. Luckily I trust him because right now the yard looks like a tornado hit. He knows what he's doing and he's confident so that's good enough for me!

Here I am, hard at work!

I have a few other projects on the go and a million and one that I need to finish at my own home. I ended up reaching the point of feeling a bit overwhelmed last night. Stephane had to convince me to put everything away and head to bed, rest my mind and get ready for a new day. Sounds lame but I was one cranky girl.

In any event, something has to give.. and it's the blog. I'm taking the rest of the week off. I need time to recharge. I have a fun little giveaway for later in the week but other than that, I'm stepping away for a bit. Back soon. Promise:)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Deck ~ Stage 1.

Sorry for the limited posts this week! This week and whole month is a busy one for sure, with new client work, projects around the house and school work. Hard to believe that in less than 2 months I'll be saying goodbye to my sweet little class of grade twos and we'll be on summer holiday!

Steph finished building the first platform on our new deck. Unfortunately, it's been a bit of a rainy week so it's now at a standstill but we've used the time to make lots of plans for the next stage. I am super excited about getting this project done. I've pretty much given up all the creative control to him. I figure a) he's doing most of the work b) he has really have great ideas that I wouldn't have even considered on my own. I think it's going to be pretty awesome! I'll do what I can to pull my weight then have fun planning the landscaping later on.

Speaking of the deck.. I can't even believe that I lived with what was there for so long. It was hideous, falling apart and insanely small. Here is during the demolition. Would you believe, I forgot to take a before photo? Honestly, what kind of blogger am I?

Poor little Beaufort tripped on the broken step every time he went up the stairs:(

Here it is now. It measures 8 x 9 which is larger than the original 9 x6. No stairs or railing just yet. Big pain when you have a dog to let out to pee! (He realized yesterday he could jump up on his own, when it started to rain. God forbid he get wet.)

As you can see, it's a bit of a mess but at least that part is finished. I'm excited to share the progress as we go. It's going to be a big job but a total transformation from what was there before.

I'm off to New Brunswick tomorrow for the night. My sister Julie and her friend are running the half at the Fredericton marathon. Another friend and I are tagging along to cheer them on and we are doing the 10km run. I haven't been doing much running lately but feel pretty good from my regular CrossFit workouts, so here's praying I survive. Mostly, I'm looking forward a little shopping and a weekend away in my University town. It's been too long since I've been back for a visit!

That photo still cracks me up! Wish us luck!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Simply Styled Dresser.

The bedroom makeover is coming along slowly but surely. I've come to notice that I don't do anything that quickly. It takes a while before I feel like it's finished and can show you the whole room. I guess this is my way of saying sit tight. No reveal just yet!

I showed you the pictures of the new pillows, the headboard and the dresser that we refinished. Then things were at a bit of a standstill as we got the deck torn down and started rebuilding and painted the dining room. More on those another day!

Anyway, here is where I'm at with the bedroom. The mirror we wanted to use with the dresser was a bit too small scale for the space. I decided to offset it to the left and add a couple of prints to the other side. I love the pink flamingo from eastwitching's etsy shop but the heart is just a free printable that I will likely soon replace.

Add in some books, a plant and some accessories (an empty frame!) and it's done! For now:)

Hard to get a good photo from this angle but here is a try! Everything looks crooked!

Annoying.. just noticed the crooked knob:(
I am desperately searching for crisp white curtains for the room. Something sheer and breezy (but not actual sheers!). Would you believe there is nothing around? I'm thinking about these from West Elm. Any other suggestions?