I hope you guys liked the sneak peek at our new nest plans and some of the interior spaces. Before I take you inside for a house tour, I thought I’d start by showing you around the exterior of the house just like you were pulling up to our house for a visit.
Also if you follow along on Instagram you know that in late July and early August we had a patio project on the go, so it seems appropriate to show you this newly completed project that I teased on Instagram and that has made such a difference to the whole look of the house and the function we get from it.
But first, let me show you what the house was looking like when we moved in.
Our house is new craftsman in style and the exterior reflects that. We didn’t go wild with colour choices and tried to stick with browns and greys. Choosing exterior colours was extremely nerve-wracking. The samples to choose from are quite small (especially when you consider the size of the house) and there weren’t any other houses in previous neighbourhoods that we felt got it exactly right (for us), so we had to select “blind” in a way. And once you’ve selected you just have to wait for them to start putting it on the house and hope and pray that you love it because there’s no going back now.
When we moved in last fall we put the patio at the top of our wish list for projects come springtime. We use our bbq year-round and the boys need to run around so we knew we’d want to make use of our backyard (and have access) as soon as possible.
First up, our lawn was installed right before the May long weekend. And boy did that make a difference to how the yard looked. We only had to stay off it for 3 weeks. #kidscantwaitthatlong
Don’t let those photos fool you. It looked extremely green in the spring in the few weeks after we got sod… and then we had one of the hottest, driest summers on record.
In terms of planning the yard we knew that building our dream yard would be more than a one year project. Being able to budget and save up year over year was the main reason, but also because it’ll give us a bit more time to live in the house (and the yard) and decide what’s most important to us, and how we use the space. We asked the designer to show us a plan of our yard that would offer us all of the wants/needs for our yard all at once so that we could see the big picture and not make any hard to undo “mistakes” that we’d be kicking ourselves over later. Once we had the big picture then we’d consider how much we wanted to bite off at a time. For example, we didn’t want to put in a patio this year that the designer would tell us would get in the way of a future pool or fire pit next year or beyond.
Our BIG wish list included:
- Large kid-friendly stairs leading out from the patio doors,
- A large patio that could accommodate grilling, dining and lounging,
- Low-maintenance gardens
- A pool
- A hot tub
- A fire pit
- A walkway from our driveway around the side of our house to the backyard
- A fence (especially required if we put in a pool)
I’m guessing that like many home plans the yard will evolve as our family grows and will constantly be a work in progress.
We really want our backyard to be a place we can spend our summers entertaining, enjoying the natural surroundings of our yard, play with the kids and eat as many meals as possible al fresco.
So this summer we tackled “phase one” which included front gardens, gardens on the right side of the house, and stairs from the patio doors and a stone patio spanning the width of the house and some some additional planting. We also included some lighting in the gardens and on the stairs.
Before work started the yard was already starting to look pretty crispy, despite our best efforts to water it on our watering day.
Those are some seriously sad-looking stairs.
It only took about two and a half weeks to complete the project (12 working days in all).
The birch tree in the front makes such a huge difference inside and outside the house. From inside you can see the green leaves through the transom above the front door and it makes our house feel so much more finished. #crazybutitstrue
We’re told our side yard is almost no maintenance. This is the side of the house we decided we wouldn’t use at all as a means to get to the back of the yard. The other side of the house makes the most sense, so we decided to simply use up the whole space with garden so that we don’t have to mow it or maintain it much, but it still looks nice.
The day I took these After photos was extremely bright and a lot of the photos of the patio itself and the patio stones got really washed out. I’ll try to take some new photos on a dimmer day so you can get a sense of the colour. The in-progress photo below does a so-so job but in reality it is much darker grey than these photos suggest.
Already, less than one month later, we have enjoyed so many meals on the patio, and more than a few glasses of wine on the patio after the kids have been tucked in.
Next up patio furniture to fill up the space. The dining set we have fits in the space better than we expected but we’re putting an 8-seater on our patio wish list and keeping an eye out for some end of season deals.