Bouncing “Round the Rooms (And Yard)
That time then, and once again…
I’m sure you don’t need to know that song (by Phish) to appreciate the sentiment. The past few months have been deadline focuses on the one room challenge, then themed parties, and I finally finished up a secret macrame project for a wedding (remember this announcement?), so as a backlash result we are kinda all over the place on projects now. Consider this your mish-mash update on things to (probably) come.
Paint It Black
(New challenge to self as I write this – song titles for each heading)
The multi-tone fireplace in our living room needs to go. I think I know where I want to take it, but still scared none-the-less. I’m sort of a wood purist? I like painted wood – I just don’t want to be the first person to do it, ya know? But I’m gonna put on my big girl pants and trust myself on this one.
I’m doing it. I’m painting the wall tile white. Goodbye creepy robot smile! I’ve got other ideas for this Phase 1 renovation that I still need to flesh out over time, but I very much want to get the walls started.
Of course it’s finally nice here in upstate New York, so even though I have these indoor projects on my mind, all we really want to be working on is the yard. We are on about 2 acres of yard/grass, and we have an additional 4 acres of woods.
The overall goal this summer is to trim back and organize the yard. It’s been neglected and overgrown for what we guess is several years. We purchased the home from an elderly couple that had other vacation homes they spent the majority of their time at. I filled up our potted plants with annuals this past weekend, and I’m trying to pay attention to the sun to figure out what perennials I can plant where. I like the idea of doing annuals every year – but quickly recognized after a few years in NJ with small kids that I do not have the energy and time for that. Carefully chosen perennials is where it is AT. I’ll probably always keep the pots for annuals on the decks and doorways, and the rest of the garden beds for bushy flowery perennials.
The above picture is a tree that must’ve fallen down and the old owners just left it. Bushes grew up and around it. Last summer when we bought the house we thought it was only bushes, but as everything died off in the winter we saw the tree! Slowly cutting this down will probably take us a summer or two, but we will gain back so much yard (as if we need it)!
Box of Rain
We took down a large tree last summer (remember this chair?) and now we are working on getting shade grass to grow in an around it. The ridiculously wet months of May and June have been good to us! It’s really filling in. Sun and shade mix is a modern frickin marvel.
You might have seen on IG that we started up a vegetable garden this year. We have salvaged bricks and pavers that we’ve found around the yard. Apparently dumping stuff like this in the woods was a thing – that’s ok, free is for me! I think we might actually expand the size of the garden next year, but I wanted to start small with only a few plants to make sure I can keep up with watering it when the inevitable drought hits in August. We are doing cutting flower beds around the perimeter so I can have fresh bouquets. I’m reading up on companion gardening and gardening for pests in this book and I am learning to so much! I actually bought this book waaaay back when we lived in Brooklyn and never really sat and read it. I’m so glad I held onto it after I Kondo’d the majority of our books back in 2014.
The garden itself is really beginning to fill out. Still need to work on the brick flower cutting beds (and need to get the weed wacker out)! We also bought new stakes and wire to re-wrap the perimeter – this stuff is bent and falling down.
We planted tomatoes, peas, beans, peppers, eggplants, zucchini, cucumbers, yellow squash, acorn squash, watermelon, pumpkins rosemary, basil and lavender. We did just one plant of most (aside from the tomatoes, peas, and beans) just to get an idea of how much we actually eat of this stuff this year. We did a CSA box for years in NJ and I loved the variety it forced us to eat, so I’m curious to see how we will do with trying to eat everything from this garden.
All Hands on Deck
As much as I like to DIY stuff, sometimes I just don’t want to! So we paid someone to come and re-stain our back deck. A little furniture rearranging and this area will be looking good. We need to power wash the cushions; all of our covers ripped over time and they are always exposed to the elements now so this’ll probably become an annual task that I really don’t mind doing. Might splurge on a few new pillows (we all know I have a pillow problem).
It’s a slightly different angle and time of day, but man a fresh coat of paint does wonders to make this deck look better. And please note that we power washed the stone along the back wall – the difference is staggering. I’m going to put together another post on the deck with all the furniture back in place, but if there is one thing to take away from this it is POWER WASH POWER WASH POWER WASH. We’ve had this power washer for a few years now, and it is probably getting more use this spring/summer than in all the other years combined. It is the unsung hero of our yard refresh right now.
Ahhh, the tennis court. We actually promised ourselves we WOULD NOT TOUCH this side of the yard until next year. It’s overwhelming to say the least. It’s a Har-Tru clay tennis court, that had an irrigation system (they removed the pressure tank so we can’t get water up here anymore) and stadium lighting. Talk about bougie areas of your yard. We’ve got a MILLION ideas for this area, none of which include ever playing tennis here.
I’m not sure exactly what will flesh out, but the plan is to break it up into a fire pit / lounge / outdoor movie area(<--you know we had to), a golf area, and then probably a soccer net/volley ball/badminton net area. Maybe some bocce. I don’t know, I don’t know if we’ll have time. We’d even like to be able to flood it for ice skating in the winter (at least a portion of it.)!
The shed is probably a mold-filled cancer hut. We are going to starting peeling stuff away on the inside to see what we are working with (this might actually stay a 2020 task). Worst case, we turn it into a pavilion and just beef up the frame and roof. Best case, we can salvage the walls/windows/doors, and I’d like to turn one wall into a large window opening so it feels like you are sitting at a tiki-hut bar. We never had any interest in owning a pool, and I would be really surprised if we ever decided to put one in, but this general area would definitely be the place for it.
It’s actually really spacious inside, so we’ve got the kid crap in here for now. Before we bought the house and had only seen it from the outside, we thought this might be a nice separate office for one of us. But it smells awful. We’ve left the windows open for weeks (can’t get any damper in here!) and it still smells bad. I’m actually thinking maybe we shouldn’t have kid toys in here now….
We started trying to rake out all of the weeds in the clay itself. It’s tedious work. We upped the ante after two weekends of that going basically no where to laying down rolls of plastic – essentially huge garbage bags. The hope is this will heat up and kill the weeds and the seeds so that nothing comes back next year. Per the Har-Tru website, apparently this court is supposed to be BRUSHED DAILY to avoid weeds. Not going to happen folks. Man, they must’ve played a lot of tennis!!
If you’ve got any other suggestions (we looked into turfing even a portion of it but its expensive!!) we are all ears. I should note that the way the fence is enclosed, it would be almost impossible to get our ride-on lawn mower in here, so growing grass in the sand isn’t really an option either. We’ve got to clean it out – and maybe eventually cover it with something.
Let me try to orient you. The above picture is facing the house, the shed is to the left. This’ll be the lounge / pergola / fire pit area.
This is facing the woods, the shed is to the right in this picture. This back half will be the “sports” area.
And from standing in the back of the court, back to the woods, facing the house. The far right in this picture will be my little golf area.
Can you tell we got a little excited and started buying stuff even though this area is far from picturesque?? Used semi-circle bar stand, used kids picnic table (I’ve got plans to paint both), and a sweet fire pit and this ginormous log holder. We keep looking at couches and pulling ourselves back. I think we need a better plan of what else is going in here before we stock up on too much furniture. But can you see it???
This picture below is on the deck area, facing the house. It starts with wood at the shed, then this slate patio, then a paver patio walkway to the driveway/house. Last weekend we took down some small saplings near the opening that wouldn’t have lasted here anyway. We power washed out the stone patio and laid down stone dust, and moved some river rocks from another area to try to deter weeds.
I actually really wanted to keep the moss on the paver part of the walkway, but once we removed the saplings, the sun came through and it started dying anyway. Even I have to admit when cleaning something vs. keeping some old charm wins out!
We power washed the wooden deck and HOLY. SHIT. Did not see that transformation coming! This is what really got us excited to do more work over here and thwarted our promises to ourselves to wait one more year to tackle this beast. Did I mention how much we love our power washer??
Tom got on a ladder and sawed off the top of one of the poles that was pulling down the wall and we cut the electricity to the flood light. Having electricity over here is great – but we don’t ever plan to need these flood lights! It’s a liiiiiiiittle much if you know what I mean.
There is so much more I could talk about for the yard. We didn’t even get into the pond and gazebo and waterfall area! And soooo many gardens that are chock-full of bamboo right now. I know, it’s ridiculous. But I’m going to stop there. How many songs did you get without looking them up? The last few are a complete departure from the others genre-wise, so kudos if you knew those off the top of your head!
Do you like these run-on mind dump post updates? Or is it easier to digest if I do one area at a time? Let me know what else you want to hear about in the yard!
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