Pure Project # 16: Spruce Up the Yard

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!!


Kathysue said...

Oh Lauren it all looks so pretty, you have a huge yard and I know that is a lot of work. It will be so pretty next spring when it all grows and fills in. I have asparagus ferns and you can not kill that stuff, mine will even grown in the cracks of cement on its own. I have a huge meyer fern which is in the asparagus family that you might like. It is fun it almost looks like an octopus, mine thinks it is on steroids or something. You can see it here if you would like to see how big one can get, Have a great Monday!!


Catherine said...

Hi Lauren,
Your yard looks beautiful! And the playhouse looks like the perfect little getaway for the boys - and you. xoxoTrina

Donna Lynne Cox said...


The shrubs look fantastic! Just make sure you water them every few days. It is still really dry!

The sheds look great.

Luv ya,


Donna Lynne Cox said...


The shrubs look fantastic! Just make sure you water them every few days. It is still really dry!

The sheds look great.

Luv ya,


Teresa Hatfield ~ Splendid Sass said...

Lawn looks beautiful and lush. I love the childrens playhouse!
Have nice day.

Kate Riley said...

Lauren, I can't get enough of that shed, so inspiring !

Your yard looks lovely for fall!

kate @ be merry, kate said...

Oh that playhouse is darling... It reminds me of the Laurence Museum that the boys have in the book Little Men (which I'm reading right now). It was a little museum they set up to collect butterflies, leaves, beetles... so adorable!

Everything looks great!


Jennifer said...

looking GREAT Lauren! we used the dwarf hollies too ... but sadly most of them got a fungus this summer and bit the dust!

Me! said...

It is just wonderful! I absolutely love the play house! It is simply what all children should have. :) A small warning about asparagus ferns . . . I have found that they have really, super dense root systems . . . at least at our house, it makes it impossible to plant anything else near them . . . it's almost like digging in soft, delicate . . . burlap! :) I love what you are doing!

Unknown said...

Perfect timing on this one. We just met with our gardener this weekend to map out the front and back yards re-do plan. I struggle with my outdoor spaces as I grew up in a perfect gardening climate and now live in a more unforgiving one. I think we have a great plan in place though and it's going to look A-mazing by the end of next month. Happy gardening!!

Katie said...

We are dealing with having to relandscape our new house at the moment and it is quite a job for sure. I am in love with the play house shed though, what a great idea!

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Your yard looks fabulous and all the shrubs are wonderful. Love the playhouse. It is fantastic. Hugs, Marty

Liz said...

The yard looks great! I couldn't agree more about shrubbery - makes such a difference! We finally planted some (azaleas) in the beds around our property line this spring and it looks worlds better.

Acquired Objects said...

Your yard project sounds and looks so wonderful, love the idea of herbs around the shrubs. That playhouse is a dream! You and your husband are so creative.

Personality is preferred... said...

Love your blog. Love that you guys are slowly doing everything.

Anonymous said...

I am always amazed how much a little landscaping can do. Your yard looks great and I love the shed for the kiddos to play in and for you to relax.

Anonymous said...

Gardens take time...

I have to agree with you -- shrubs make a huge difference in a landscape. They offer a sense of structure, maturity and permanence. (rocks do the same thing)

Over the years, I've replaced some of my perennials with shrubs. I'd say my gardens are almost half and half at this point. Ornamental grasses are good choices as well.

Awesome playhouse! I really like the collection of leaves and acorns lined up on the wall studs.

Since my yard is pretty much "done" in the way of design (I've lived in the same house for twelve years), I worked on changing out my big planter by the front door for Pure Project #16.

KellyMellyBoBellyBananaFanna said...

I love Christian's "treasures"! So precious.


carmen said...

Wow! You did such a great job with the kids house. The flooring rocks.

Lisa at The Cottage of Content said...

Lauren - so lovely, and not too much to do for the bushes, eh? :) They (the hollies) are a great alternative, and you can bet you will see even cheaper prices as October comes around - you can plant until the ground freezes where we live (we happen to live in Philomont, VA) - do you live close by? We are SOOOOOOOOOO times a million excited that you MAY be hanging up a shingle in Leesburg - so close to us! Love and blessings to you! lisa

Shannon @ Hase Haus said...

Lauren, love the new plants. What a cozy patio! Although I'm sad to see summer go, I'm getting excited about the cooler weather here in NOVA. Get ready for apple-picking soon!

Ness Lockyer said...

It is looking beautiful Lauren and the shed and playhouse are great. I would love to able to join this one as our garden is in need of some love after Winter, but the rain is still keeping us in right now. Enjoy your garden and those precious moments with your lovely boys.
Ness xx

designchic said...

Your yard looks amazing, but that playhouse...so adorable!!!

Danielle Oakey Interiors said...

i love it all!

Anonymous said...

How cute! Love the playhouse. Amazed that your kids let you decorate it. My boys at that age would have insisted on an action figure theme. I can just hear them:"it's our playhouse Mom)"
:-) Lynn

Maria Killam said...

I think I like the picture with the acorns the best, so simple and cute. Well the whole post is fabulous actually, I love your house!

Casa Jacaranda said...

Great post Lauren! Love, love, love Christian's organic designs on his shelves. He has inspired me to go gather a few magnolia leaves to place in my favorite little wooden bowl. And then head over to the nursery for a few new shrubs!

Hello Lover... said...

Love that shed - adorable. The yard is looking great!

Brooke Michie said...

Wow, I am so impressed with what you did with your shed. It's a lovely space with just the right touches!