When we first moved into our house a year and a half ago, the back patio/ yard looked like this:

{Haha love how a rainy day makes it look even worse..}
The first thing we did was ditch the pine trees and make garden beds around the patio.  I inititally filled them with hand-me-down plants from family & friends.  I LOVE getting hand-me-down flowers and my mom’s given us at least 4 truckloads of plants from her overflowing gardens.  The thing was, our back garden beds really needed some structure and with all of the mismatched full-sun flowers, it had more of a country cottage feel and I wanted it to feel a bit more classical & balanced.  (I can’t find any pics of it in the flower garden stage.)  SO, this weekend, we finally bit the bullet and bought shrubs (japanese dwarf holly which bears a striking resemblance to boxwood and costs way less) to line our back patio.  We’ve started with 3 on each side and got 1 side planted.  (babysitting time runs out 😉
I moved my basil around so that it grows between the holly and I love the contrast of the light & dark greens next to each other.  I also added a rown of asparagus fern (a new love!!) and some other herbs in front.


In the Springtime, I’ll really pack in the front row with herbs and more fern but we’re leaving it like this for this year.  Even though it’s a bit more bare than I like, it still has has the structured feel I’ve been craving and it finaly feels as if we’re on our way out here.
Here’s a picture of the garden we made yesterday along the side of our fence.  It’s filled with black-eyed susans, zinnias, succulents, daisies and other hand-me-down flowers.  They’re all pretty much at the end of their season and I’m hoping that they come back nicely next year.   There’s also a lilac bush & a forsythia that have been hanging on for me all summer so I hope they do better here …  (Or I water them.)
We also FINALLY painted the kids’ playhouse shed.  Here’s a photo if it before.. (sorry I don’t have a real exterior shot of when it was tan)
And here it is now:
We painted it the same color as our house.  And here’s a couple of peeks of the inside:
I’ve been loving this bench:
This is so pathetic but I got a little teary (not coming-out-of-your-eyes-teary but cheesy-emotional-kodak-commercial teary)  in here the other day because it was just so nice hanging out with the little guys & seeing everything we imagined play out.  I was lying on the bench playing with Justin and Christian was making us “soup” and it was just so relaxing & exaclty as I’d hoped for.  (When you have little ones you know that those moments are typically fleeting but you also learn to appreciate them & savor them when you get them.)
Anyway, Christian has also been sprucing up his playhouse.  He found this feather and a bunch of acorns on walks:
These magnolia leaves fell from a neighbor’s tree and look great with his sticks:
And look what we found in a spiderweb:
{kind of sad but still beautiful}

And here’s one last pic of the playhouse…  I am SO relieved that we finally got it painted!!  It took less than an hour:

(We more than cut corners here:  the back is still not painted and it’s gone on my list for when all of the actually important stuff is finished.)
We also got to most of Dave’s work shed but still need to finish painting, add steps, and get the holly bushes in the ground.
It feels so good to have crossed these items off of our list.  And I have to admit, that as much as I hate putting out the dough for shrubs/ bushes, it made an insane difference in the look & feel of our yard.  SO, this week’s project is to spruce up your yard for Fall and if you’ve been meaning to get some bushes, I’m telling you, go for it.  You won’t regret it and getting the foundation right makes such a difference.

xoxo, Lauren

If you’s like to share pictures of your Fall yard projects, I’d love it if you could link up here!!