Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Backyard Evolution: From Jungle to Patio

Now that summer is here, and I'm all fired up about going outside, I'm so, so thankful for our yard. Not just our yard, either - I'm thankful that last fall, we made the very good decision to have a patio built in our side yard. We've been using it a ton, in kind of a "if you build it, we will use it" way.

When we moved into our house, the side yard (well, most of the whole yard, actually) was a big overgrown mess. Once Cooper started pulling stuff out of the ground, just to clean it up, we realized we had a lot of space on our hands.
The view from our front porch, pre-patio. It was a jungle back there.
One day, our friend/landscaper Chuck came over and we started talking about putting in a little patio - just enough space for a couple chairs and a firepit. Next thing you know, we had much grander plans.
Kyle & Mary's dog Mia was a fan of the construction phase. We had a Bobcat in our yard for, oh, two months. There was a lot to clear (plus, it rained about every other day last fall, making it hard to get anything done).
After some discussion, Cooper and Chuck and I agreed that if we were going to put in a patio, we might as well go big. For a long time, I've had a thing about dinner parties at long tables (evidence here and here). So why not put in a patio that could house a super long table? So that's what we did.

Plus, there's a retaining wall and a walkway and some excellent landscaping (Chuck is great). All of the stone is local and the plants are fairly low maintenance, so we get to enjoy the patio without too much extra work.
Last March, when we used this space for the first time, we comfortably fit about 15 people around the fire. The rock wall adds extra seating - and the rocks retain the warmth from the fire, which means we can use this space most of the year.

This is the view towards the front yard - that's the door Dixon's standing by in the very first picture and the tree to the right is the fig tree that stands outside the window above my kitchen sink (and produces comical amounts of fruit each year).
Next project - which is already underway - is for Cooper to build me that long table. Over Memorial Day weekend, we bought some beautiful sycamore from a guy in Harford County and Cooper has begun the sanding process. Soon, I'll have a ten foot long table, plus benches. Add a few lights in the trees and some pretty table linens and I will be hosting the al fresco dinner party I've been daydreaming about for years!

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