Thursday, September 29, 2011

Let’s Celebrate the Completion of Our Backyard Transformation With a Give-away!



Give-away Now Closed

looking towards house

On Monday, I posted about the completion of our backyard landscaping project.  You can see that post HERE. What I forgot to do in my haste and excitement was to announce that I’d be sponsoring a give-away to celebrate this momentous occasion! The give-away is being sponsored by Hometalk, an online site that I discovered and joined in June. Hometalk’s site is filled with lots of inspiration for home improvement and decorating ideas.  We can always use a little more of that, can’t we?

I’ve been sharing our backyard transformation on Hometalk over the course of the past month.  I’ve also been browsing some of the site’s many categories and have gotten a lot of good information from professionals and regular people just like you and I.  In addition to sharing on Hometalk, I recently won a $50 gift card from the site in a give-away sponsored by Janet @The Empty Nest. Thanks, once again, Janet!

So to help spread the word about Hometalk, I’m offering you an opportunity to win a $50 gift card to Lowe’s. And if there are 500 entries to the give-away, Hometalk will increase the prize amount to $100.  These folks at Hometalk are a friendly and generous bunch, let me tell ya! 

                                            Let me start by giving you some information about Hometalk.  I’ve taken the following information from their website.


                                                                                                                                                                 click on button to visit Hometalk’s site.



                                                                                                   Hometalk reshapes the way you improve and repair your home.

                      When you join Hometalk, you have access to a multitude of categories for home improvement projects and ideas- some of which are:

                                                                                                      Décor and design 

                                                                                                      Decks and Outdoor Spaces

                                                                                                      Concrete and Masonry

                                                                                                      Electric and Lighting


                                                                                                              You can do all of this-

  • Search

    Find existing answers, photos and more, posted by homeowners & professionals who have worked on similar projects.
  • Ask

    If you’ve got a question, the Hometalk community is here to help. Ask the ‘Hometalkers’ and get the answers.
  • Share

    Add updates on your latest project. Review a contractor. Share pictures, videos, and helpful advice with the community.




                                                     ~These are the rules for entering my give-away~

    There are five entry mechanisms in the bulleted list below that are available to you as entry options.  You don’t have to do all five, but the more entry comments I receive, we’re on the road for the prize amount to be doubled!                                                                                 


                                                                      Please note that each entry must be a separate comment.

  • 1. Join Hometalk on their website, then leave me a comment saying that you did so.   

  • 2. “Like” Hometalk on Facebook, then leave me another comment saying that you did so.          .

  • 3.  Visit my post HERE about the completion of our backyard project, then come back to THIS post and leave a comment telling me what your favorite part of the transformation is.   

  • 4.  Leave a comment telling me that you are a follower via Google Friend Connect, whether you’re new or you’ve been reading me for a while.  

  • 5.  Post this give-away on your blog and tell me that you did so. Please use the button code below.  Depending on your format, it might be a bit large for your side-bar; in that case, you may have to put it in the body of your post!


    I’ll announce the winner on October 7th. Remember-  if there are 500 comment entries, Hometalk will up the ante to a $100 gift card.    

  • Just think- it would would only take 100 people to comment with all 5 entry mechanisms in order for Hometalk to raise the prize amount to $100!    

  • Please share this info!                                                       

                                                          Good luck to you all!                                                                                                                                  


  • Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    Fall Mantel


    fireplace and mantel

    I’ve been a little neglectful of the fall decorating this year- my mind has been on finishing up the backyard and having some outdoor par-tays, so the interior of our house has gone un-decorated for the autumn season. By this time last year, the house had been done for a month!  So I quickly put the mantel décor together this morning so I could join Layla’s Fall Mantel Party.



    mantel 4

    You may remember that this 3 ft. diameter clock was originally a cocktail table that was ordered for our store. Its glass top was broken during shipping, and the manufacturer replaced the entire table vs. just sending a new piece of glass, That left us with the a perfectly useable clock and base. I think the base went to furniture heaven and I’ve been using the clock face on the mantel ever since then!


    staffordshire dogs

    The Staffordshire-look doggies came out of storage and were placed in front of the giant clock.


    cornucopia and disc 2

    The cornucopia that I found at a yard sale for a mere pittance was filled with artificial fruit and gourds. An overflow of veggies was scattered outside its mouth onto the mantel.


    cornucopia on mantel







    recording disc

    The old Edison recording disc container was one of my many finds at the French Hen Farm barn sale last fall. Am looking forward to seeing more goodies at Linda’s sale next week.



    The hearth was crying out for a little autumn décor, as well, so I added a few things to the metal terrarium that always has a home in this corner.  I used the burlap coffee bag that I found at the summer Horton’s sale in Indiana as a backdrop for a vase of fresh sunflowers, some dried corn, and a ceramic pumpkin.


    sunflower, close-up

    The grocery store seems to be my go-to place for flowers these days. I hope these dry well and don’t lose a lot of petals.


    leaf balls on pedestals

    Three candle holders on pedestals were the perfect base for the leaf balls that I made two years ago.  The tutorial for making them is on my sidebar, if you’re interested.


    leafball, close-up

    Such pretty variegation in the faux leaves…..




    old photo in terrarium

    The terrarium was put together simply - just a bouquet of dried hydrangeas, two old shoe lasts, and a vintage photo from my collection. At a yard sale early in the spring, I spotted a legal sized envelope filled with old photographs. There were at least 30 of them- some dating back as far as the Civil War. I paid $5 for all of them!




    I’m finally in the mood for fall decorating now, so I guess I’ll be creating some tablescapes for the great room and the foyer over the course of the next few days.  I’d like to have it all done by Friday so our guests can be properly welcomed into our home for another party we’re hosting Saturday night out on the new patios. Hope to have some pics of that once I figure out my new camera!


                                                                     pumpkin yard2



                                                                                                                                           click button to link

                           Visit my give-away post to enter for a $50 gift card to Lowe’s, courtesy of Hometalk.


                                                                                      Linking to:


       Fall_Link_Party_Layla                  nifty thrifty tuesdays       wow us wed.       sharethelovebutton            



         open house thursday               thrifty things friday       Inspiration Friday Graphic              charm of home     

                                                                                 HOHbutton1          Photobucket

    Monday, September 26, 2011

    Our New Backyard Oasis

    Our vision for the backyard was finally realized ten days ago, as the crew from The Site Group left our home after their final work day. It was a fun run over the course of the six week project. There were only small tweaks made to the original design plan and the job ran very smoothly, thanks to the experience of the foreman and his crew. The only major hiccup in the work timeline was the several days of rain that held up the installation of the irrigation lines and the grading on the side of the house towards the end of the project. 

    If you live in the Dayton, Ohio area, this is the “go-to” company to have do your landscaping project. We highly recommend their expertise and attention to detail.  Many thanks go out to owner, Dave Swearingen, foreman Rod Deaton and his right hand man, Jason Stamy, as well as the rest of the crew who worked on our project!


    looking into the woods

    This is a shot of the lower patio looking into the wooded area behind us. We have been using this setting as our coffee drinking spot in the morning. We just plop ourselves into the chairs around the bistro table and listen to the soothing sounds of the waterfall.



    looking into thelower patio and the woods

    The patio area, with its fire-pit, can be accessed one of two ways- you can follow a stepping stone path from the middle of the main paver patio pathway ….


    looking under the bridge

    Or you can cross over the stream on the stone bridge closer to the small patio off of the kitchen.  The stream begins about midway between the two paths and winds its way down into the waterfall in the lower patio.


    start of the stream

    This is the first water drop at the beginning of the stream.


    looking north to small patio

    The planting bed around the stream is filled with small grasses, hostas, and vinca.


    stream and bridge

    Red knockout roses separate the bridge from another small patio at the north end of the yard. There was originally a brick patio laid here when we moved in, but It gradually started sliding down the hill. The crew built a retaining wall with large boulders to support this pad.




    looking north into the woods





    back of waterfall wall

    At the end of the stream bed, the water cascades over a retaining wall and into a pond-less basin. Two virburnum trees flank both sides of the retaining walls of the patio.


    waterfall wall into pondless basin

    For most of the summer, these two ferns hung in the shade of the deck outside the sunroom patio, but they seem to be thriving here in the sunlight above the waterfall.


    nightview of waterfall wall

    Here’s what the water basin looks like at night. Just enough highlighting so as not to be obtrusive….


    looking towards house

    We wanted just a small area of lawn to break up the expanse of all the pavers and the plantings. It took me all of four minutes to cut and trim this area for the first time this past weekend. You can see that the leaves have begun to fall and land in the mulch beds. When we had a small unveiling party over the weekend, one of my sisters-in-law asked me if I had strategically placed them there for effect!  What?!  I don’t think Martha Stewart would even do that, would she?  But if she did want to achieve this look, I bet she’d delegate someone else to put them into place!



    looking  uphill from waterfall basin

    The two patios on this end of the yard were extremely visible from the street and sidewalk, so we had a fence screen installed by Willhoite Fence, the company that has done work on our fences for over 20 years.



    We’re going to enjoy our backyard so much now that it is actually terraced and useable. If you want to see what the yard looked like before and see its progress, click herehere and here. We had the husband’s sisters and their husbands over for dinner on Saturday night for an unveiling and they just loved the yard!  The brothers and their wives are scheduled to come over this coming Saturday night. It’s a big family and so much easier to have them over in batches.


    round paver patio

    Having so many patio areas to use for entertaining will make things so much easier. There will be private areas away from the crowd for those who want them….








    firepit and seating wall

    And there are more public areas, such as the lower patio, where guests can sit on the retaining wall and enjoy the crackling sounds of a roaring fire in the fire-pit.  We actually roasted some marshmallows on Saturday, towards the end of the night. I hadn’t planned on doing that, so I didn’t have graham crackers or chocolate bars on hand in the pantry to make S’mores like the girls wanted to, but it was fun all the same! 


    I’ll have to take some night shots of the yard at this weekend’s party. Until then, I leave you with some pictures that I took this morning. It rained hard for over 12 hours now and this is what the backyard looks like today….

    flooding backyard2

    Our yard backs up to a secluded park area that has a creek running through it.  The creek is approximately 50 yards away on the left side of the property line and is only about a foot below the natural grade; but after a hard rainfall, this level area fills with water as it overflows the bank before it gets to the bend in the creek.  On the right side of our yard where the bend is, the creek is about 20 feet away from the property line. It is about six feet below the lowest elevation grade, so it  rarely floods into the yard. The last time that happened was in 2003, when it rained for three days straight.


    flooded backyard3

    In these photos, the water level looks closer to the patio than it actually is because you really can’t tell how steep the hill’s grade is.



    flooding backyard1

    The hard and non-stop rain that we had overnight and into the morning culminated into a LOT of water, as you can see here!  As I’ve been typing this post, I’ve noticed that the rain has slowed down and the water has receded back into the creek a little more. I don’t think I’ll ever get too worried unless the water would start inching up the hill and end up close to the lower patio area.  So, needless to say, I’m hoping that the rain is over for the week! Guess I better go check the Weather Channel! 

    Hope you enjoyed seeing our new backyard oasis!


                                                                                                                                         giveaway button


              Click on the button above to enter the give-away to celebrate our backyard transformation.



    Linking this post to the following:

    metamorphis mon.              wow us wed.                   outdoor wed.             



     open house thursday                  Inspiration Friday Graphic                        french country cottage                    Honey, 2805