Backyard Landscaping

We have a nice big backyard full of lush green grass (thanks to Steven), but that since we have moved in, that is all it has been – grass. No flowerbeds, bushes, patios – nada. With the beautiful Colorado weather, we’d love to spend more time in our backyard so we have big plans to make it into an outdoor living space, but first things first – landscaping!

Before:

Lots of grass,  a horrible tree called a Tree of Heaven in the back (that kills everything but was literally the only tree on the property when we moved in so I suppose we should be grateful), and a tiny aspen clump we put in last summer (It didn’t die y’all!)

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Shopping Trip(s)

There’s obviously tons of things we can do with the backyard – small bushes, flowers, a vegetable garden – but we wanted to start with the big stuff that needs longer to get established and can give us the biggest impact (and privacy) right away.

Here’s what we bought:

  • 3 Emerald Arborvitae – to give us some privacy from the 2 story next to us. I think we’re actually going to put in one more.
  • Snowball bush – supposedly gets pretty big relatively quickly. We’ve seen a lot of these around the neighborhood so we are assuming it will do well. And bonus – it’s really pretty.
  • Aspen clump – a second one, we are going to move the first one and create a little aspen grove to complete my Colorado dreams.
  • Limber Pine – again, for some year-round privacy. The color is pretty nice and the needles aren’t as sharp and painful as other pines.
  • McIntosh Apple Tree – Steven was set on a fruit tree… I’m pretty excited about it too.
  • Crabapple Tree – to help pollinate our apple tree, and they have gorgeous pink flowers in the Spring!
  • Lilac Bush – not a huge one, but they seem to be pretty popular in our neighborhood – so again, we are hoping it does well and grows to be large pretty quickly.

Yes, that is SEVEN trees. We bit off more than we could chew, we know that now. But we were so ambitious and driven to makeover our yard, totally naive, but driven!

Look at this fool:

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Planting

We had planted other trees last year – it was hard work but we knew what to expect and were ready to dig in. What we didn’t take into account was that creating these flower beds meant lots of digging out that beautiful, lush grass I mentioned before. That was overall the WORST part. But lesson learned, for future flower beds and/or our patio we will definitely put more thought into it and either devote the time to remove it or kill the grass beforehand.

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progress

After

Well, we didn’t get it done in one weekend; but we did get it done throughout one week! It’s amazing how quickly these small trees and plants make a big difference – the yard already feels more inviting, like a place we’d actually want to hang out. We now have even more ideas and more ambition to get it all done as soon as possible! Stay tuned – hopefully we’ll put in a pergola next!)

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New couch!

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We finally got our new chaise sectional from West Elm! I’m in love! The picture doesn’t do it justice, but it is a dark blue chenille tweed. Now to decorate with pillows and new (non-blue) curtains!

Thanks again to all of our family members who gave us gift cards for Christmas – we were able to pay for nearly half of it with gift cards alone!

Side note – the rug is also relatively new. Got that bad boy at the beginning of the year!

 

Privacy Fence

We had a wooden privacy fence installed for our backyard last week! Now that the snow has melted we thought we’d share some pictures. It’s rather plain and large right now but we are so excited to have gotten rid of that ugly chain link fence and beyond thrilled at the prospect of hanging out in our backyard without having the whole neighborhood staring at us.

Before:

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After:

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We have big plans for the backyard this spring – a patio, pergola, and LOTS of landscaping! We’ll keep you updated!

Fireplace Built-ins

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Dear Diary,

In order to add some character to our living room, we decided to install some built-ins around our faux  fireplace.  You’ll remember Meagan’s previous blog post Fireplace Built-ins Inspiration … you know, three months ago….

Anyways, for months (or maybe a whole year) the fireplace sat alone, acting as a constant reminder to work on the built ins. We finally decided to tackle the project and it turned out to be a doozy. The first step was to hang the TV mount to the wall.

Before:

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The Plan:

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Then we built a protruding wall from the top of the fireplace to the ceiling with perfect cutouts for the TV and sound bar. This was done by securing 2 x 4 s to the wall studs, nailing thin sheets of particle board to the 2 x 4s, and then nailing the decorative wood planks to finish it off.

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We then installed the actual shelving units. The wonky, un-level floor of our old house made this part extra fun. To fit the shelving snugly on either side of the fireplace, part of the window trim and baseboards had to be removed.

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We built everything in place and secured the shelves to the fireplace and walls, leaving a space at the bottom to be covered up with trim. Making sure the shelves were not only level from side to side, but front to back, made it challenging – but we got it done!

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Once everything fit perfectly together and the shelves were level (level enough) it was time to install the trim and molding. The un-level floors required us to get creative in selecting various pieces of base molding in order to cover the large gaps. We then caulked (lots of caulk) and painted the entire thing to make it look like one unit.

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^ I call this picture “Working hard or hardly working?”

After all that, it was finally time to thread all of the electrical wires through drilled holes in the shelves, through the hollow protruding wall, and to the TV. This was a lot more arduous then it should have been, but between coat hangers, floss, a borescope (that I won at a conference!), and a lot of determination we got it done.

 After:

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Now Meagan just has to figure out how to cover up all of our electrical stuff and decorate the shelving!