Monday, August 29, 2011

More Back Yard Progress


The landscape crew from The Site Group has been hard at work creating an amazing transformation for our backyard over the past few weeks. I’ve been busy with projects of my own and haven’t made the time to post anything until today.  We’re three weeks into the yard overhaul and my vision for the yard is finally coming to fruition.

From this……

north to south view





To this…..

stone foundation for fire pit

The lower level patio starting taking shape after the crew laid some giant boulders as a retaining wall into the rear hill of the yard. The area started taking shape when they dug out the excess dirt in the hill to create the fire pit area.


excavating the  pit




excavating for the waterfall basin

After the foundation was dug out and the stone for the waterfall basin was laid, the crew started digging out the basin with a backhoe. That worked great for a while, but eventually they had to get out and manually hack away at some stubborn tree roots.


chopping at huge root

Jason employed quite a few axe swings to this root.



more root chopping 

Rod, the foreman, continued to work with a spade on this ginormous and stubborn root for a long time before it finally gave way.


wall stone

A retaining wall that will double as seating is being created out of these blocks.


stone for firepit

This is the back of the wall that will be backfilled. The large square stone near the orange stake will be part of the fire pit.


view looking northwest




pit wall beginnings



first stone step into pit

This is the first of three stone steps that will lead from the lower patio to the path from the upper yard.


waterfall basin

The waterfall basin is pretty large, considering that the waterfall is pond-less; but there needs to be a large volume of water in reserve in order for the pump to recirculate it all back uphill, so this basin is close to four feet deep.


While the work on the lower patio was being done by two of the crew members, another crewman worked on the upper patios.

cutting the circular patio

Cutting out the circular patio made for a dusty environment for Travis. He laid the this patio and filled between the bricks with polymeric sand. Once the sand is sprayed down with water, its chemical composition changes into a “glue” to help bind the pavers into place.



It doesn’t seem overly large in this shot, but this patio will definitely have enough space to accommodate a couple of Adirondack chairs and a table. There will be a stone path leading to this area from the kitchen patio and another path will diverge from here to a bridge that will cross over the waterfall and lead into the fire-pit area.




sunroom patio

This is the patio off of the sunroom. There is plenty of room for a conversation set and a table for six, not to mention lots of ferns and mums.  I still need to clean the bricks on the house walls. I bought a power washer over the weekend and practiced using it by cleaning my front sidewalk. I hope to work on the brick after the crew finishes up for the day.


view north from sunroom patio

This is the view looking from the edge of the sunroom patio, where the pavers create a walkway across the back of the house and over to the kitchen patio.



bluehour effect on patio

Here’s the blue hour effect on the patio last Thursday evening. It’s almost eerie, isn’t it? 

Soon, we’ll begin assembling some of the outdoor furniture we’ve been buying at end of the season close-out sales; but that will have to wait until the hard-scaping is completed.  I’m meeting with The Site Group’s owner/landscape architect tomorrow morning to discuss bed planting and irrigation plans. This company has been such an ideal match for us, as our crew is professional, clean-cut, and just a nice group of young men. The company has done previous work for our family and came very well recommended, not to mention that I had already seen the excellent quality of their work.

Hope to be back soon to show even more progress to the yard.



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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Backyard Demolition Site


This is what our backyard looks like after four days of work! It’s now home to a backhoe, loader, literally TONS of stone, tools, and DIRT!  Even the street in front of our house has 2 big piles of gravel.





view to sunroom patio

This is what the yard looked like llast week.  There was still  grass- albeit long, but who mows the lawn the day before the workmen get here to start digging it up? Not me!


north to south view

Do you see how the yard slopes down the hill? It was left natural and the honeysuckle just grew and grew…..


thinned out hill

This is how that area looked before I went back in and did a little more defoliation after the landscape crew took out most of the large honeysuckle bushes.


defoliated hill

And this is what it looks like now. I got in there and whacked a few more honeysuckle shrubs down. They’re going to grow back, but we’ll just have to keep them under control. They’d been left to grow wild for way too long. There will be ground cover of some kind put in to help hold the hill back.


hill looking south

This is another view of the same area. There are still one fence section along the rear yard that needs to be removed. I took down most all of it because most of the fence posts and sections had rotted, making it easy to just tug on them and pull them out. It was still work, though!   The area where the backhoe is located will be the fire pit and lower patio area. It will be dug out and end up about 5 feet below the house grade.


maple tree

Our 25 foot tall maple tree had to be felled in order to make room for the new fire pit and lower patio. It wasn’t looking very healthy this year, so I really wasn’t too unhappy about seeing it come down. The husband, however, felt more pain!  It really doesn’t look that tall here, because it sat down into the hill, but it was tall. Just not too leafy. The previous homeowner must have planted it shortly before we moved in, because it was still staked and its trunk diameter was only about 2 ½ inches.


view north to old paver patio

There was an old dilapidated paver patio in this location before I pulled it all up a couple of weeks ago. Even the built-in wooden bench on the left side got pushed over with one swift kick! I couldn’t remove the back wall- it was still holding back the dirt pad. I left that for the landscape crew to pull down with their backhoe.  There is a lot of underbrush that I chopped down and left for them to haul away, as well.  My nephew took down the 6 foot privacy fence between us and the neighbor’s yard. We’ll put in another, once this job is completed.


old deck site off kitchen

This area off of the kitchen eating area once housed a wood deck. It was small and confining, so out it went. The nephew took care of this project, too. It will become a paver patio that will connect to the new patio outside of the sunroom on the opposite end of the house.  By completing these two demolition jobs ourselves, we saved big bucks. 


sunroom patio 2

Here’s the original concrete patio outside the sunroom. It sloped back towards the house and stayed wet, which is why we had the mold growing on the bricks. We’ll have to powerwash the bricks and foundation before the new patio goes in.


yard full of loaders and stone

This is a partial view of what that area looks like now. The sunroom patio size has doubled and wraps around the rear of the house to connect with the patio outside the kitchen.

It always looks worse before it gets better, and this job will not be the exception. The yard looks terrible!  We expect to be under construction for another month and that doesn’t include planting the beds.  I’ll post the progression as it happens. Did I mention the dust is horrible?  The window washer won’t be coming any time soon!  


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Monday, August 8, 2011

Entryway to Our Eclectic House Style


Rene, from Cottage and Vine, is hosting a new monthly meme called Room by Room and her debut party is featuring the entryway. The foyer in our home is bright and airy most of the day. In fact, so much sun shines in from the large window above the doorway, there is nearly always a glare in here! 


                                                                                                                  click on button to link to Cottage and Vine




As you enter from the front door, the steps to an open hallway upstairs are on the left.



Because the foyer ceilings are 18 feet tall, we needed to place large artwork along the wall up the stairway. I found these pieces from one of our accessory vendors when we were on a buying trip at the High Point Furniture Market last fall.








The pictures are transitional in style. I like traditional, but with a touch of contemporary. When I last took a style quiz, based on my likes and dislikes, my look was considered “globally eclectic.”  Do you think that description fits me?



To the right of the front door is the dining room and a 7 ft. wide doorway.  I’ve used two completely different groupings of art on this wall.



These lithographs take up a lot of vertical visual space above the doorway. 


An trio of original watercolors was stacked on the short wall to the right of the dining room doorway. I’m always paranoid that someone will throw the door open so hard that the doorknob will break the glass!  Crazy, aren’t I?



This chest houses an overflow of my glassware collection. I had run out of room in my pantries, so I headed out to one of our stores to find something to store it in. I came home with this and another smaller console. It’s one heavy piece now that it’s loaded with all that antique/vintage cut glass.


moss ball

The tabletop is kept simple. This moss ball that I found at the Horton’s Flea Market last month got plopped into a yard sale urn and I placed the shell handled magnifying glass next to the stack of old books that I found in Tipp City a few years ago.


old books,feather





Italian etching

A vintage etching of an Italian cathedral was leaned against the spindles.



A simple woven box is there to place my keys when I come into the house.  But who am I kidding? The keys hardly ever make it into the box!



I opted for decorative beveled glass when we ordered the new front door a few years ago. While white is a nice clean look, I’m contemplating another color. Trouble is that the door has a flawless, factory applied paint job. I don’t like to see brush strokes and I’m one of the world’s worst painters, so the job may have to be hired out.  Or it might just stay white for a little longer….



This large urn and stand have been placed to the right of the doorway.  I still need to place something on the wall above it. The area is too narrow for any of my mirrors, so I’m contemplating using the small collection of brown and white transferware that I bought some from a friend at the Springfield Extravaganza last spring. 



Here’s the view from the hall looking into the two-story great room. I love the stone fireplace and my ginormous clock. 

So now that you’ve seen the entryway to Sullivan and Murphy, do you think it provides you with an advance peek into our home’s style, or not?




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