Category Archives: Gardens

Front Yard Pinspiration

People.  Are we all suffering from Spring fever?

I know I AM, + in fact, just a few days ago,

I went online shopping for something to hang on our front door.

This is what I want, from this etsy shop:


OMiGosh, though.  It’s still only February,

+ yet, I am beyond ready to get outside + plant something!

It’s past time for us to ramp up our houses’s curb appeal!

Right now it’s so plain Jane + incomplete,

+ I fear that the neighbors are grumbling,

“When will they ever finish that house?”


It may be a bit of a blank slate right now,

but here’s how the front of our house looked on the realtor listing:


I think we can all agree that those overgrown shrubs had to go,

as did the errant enclosed front porch:




But I just can’t come up with a design!  The humanity!

I swear, it’s got to be that off-center porch that’s throwing me off.

How on earth am I going to be able to tie each side together?

Then this happened.

A beautiful front yard of a house with a porch on one side:


I’m sorry — I found this on Pinterest but didn’t get the source.

Thank goodness for Pinterest, is all I can say.

I don’t know how we would have managed our re-do without it.

So.  What makes my new favorite front yard so swoon-worthy?

 Let’s break it down:

First up, they’ve added a bit of symmetry

by flanking the front steps with a pair*of my absolute faves,

lollipop shrubs (as they say in the UK), a.k.a. topiaries*.

*Pairs = good.  *Topiaries = good


Notice how they’ve tied everything together

by repeating the same plants from one side to the other.

And who doesn’t love that sweeping curve* of the edges of the beds?

*Curves = good.

+ + + + +

Now, then.  All I have to do is decide what plants to buy,

get that porch all tricked out,

 see about installing a brick sidewalk,

+ maybe get 3 window boxes for our bay!

Stay tuned!

Finally! Our Informal Hedge!

From the minute we closed on our Dutch colonial,

I have been trying (but failing) to design our lot line landscaping.

Then this happened.

Just last weekend, I found (my favorites!) Oak Leaf hydrangeas

at Menards, a Midwestern home improvement store:

oak leaf alabama

$11 each for one gallon size plants!

Can you believe it?

Yesterday we drove to a Menards about an hour away,

to find enough plants (7 total) to  make our informal hedge.

Like this, hopefully:

oak leaf hydrangea big hedge

Back to NOW — here we have our new plants,

marching along our lot line, at left (below).

Imagine, if you will, what our hedge will look like, in a few years:

Good things come to those who wait!

Oak Leaf hydrangeas grow to 6′-8′ tall by 6′ x 8′ wide.

This means our backyard will be less of a fish bowl.

Our hedge will begin + end  between 2 large existing trees —

a huge walnut (L) + a gorgeous maple (R):

Oak Leaf hydrangeas have cone-shaped white flowers

which turn a pretty, faded pink as the blooming season progresses.

Yes, those flowers are gorgeous,

but in my opinion, their leaves are the all stars.

Look at what happens in the Fall:

Is it any wonder that Fall is our favorite season?

Anyway, I am so relieved + happy,

after suffering through all those months of indecision.

oak leaf hydrangea 2

It’s hard to believe I found one of my favorites,

+ at such an affordable price!

Fingers crossed we’ll find the time to plant them THIS week.

Stay tuned!

She Said She Shed

Today’s perfect weather left me no choice.

It was a great day to work outside, so I (we) did!

First thing, I mowed — on the diagonal, like at the ballpark.


Oh, how long have I waited for a re-do of that porch of ours

+ for the chance pop a few (dozen) plants into the ground!

Today’s project, however, was to turn our garden shed into a she shed.

Yeah.  That’s a thing.  She sheds.

Here’s what it looks like now:

garden shed blue with open door

Here’s what it looked like when we bought our house:

garden shed before

OMiGosh!  How nasty!

First up in the re-do — a new roof:

To charm things up a bit, I ordered a pair of metal finials


garden shed finial close up

Ta da!

garden shed 2 finials

Much better, am I right?

garden shed 2 finials 2

Yes, they’re just what that shed roof needed!

Oh, + I forgot to mention — at some point, we painted the exterior

Benjamin Moore’s Blue Spruce.

Those hiddy original doors still await their makeover,

but I know what I want, + I will share soon, promise.

So.  Today we worked inside.

Exhibit A:




These shelves held (just a fraction of) G.O.’s “valuables”

+ if I was to have myself a she shed, they had to move to the garage.

He offered to give me one of those Rubbermaid masterpieces,

but I said I couldn’t possibly take one!

Given the choice, don’t we always go with something vintage?

Yes, we do, + here we have it —

some really swell old shelves from my old booth space.

Got ’em from the curb!  Score!

Check out the chippy white metal shelves!


Here ’tis, sporting some of my gardening supplies.

Disclaimer: It doesn’t look like this now, as I’ve tweaked it a bit.


Updated photos in the a.m., promise.

My next storage item is made from yet more vintage happiness —

these wonderful yellow metal saw horses:


Aren’t they great?


Disclaimer, the sequel:  it’s all been redone a couple times.

That’s how I roll!

See you in the a.m. for some updated snappies!


Time For Outdoor Happiness

Spring’s finally arrived in northern Illinois,

+ we’ve been sprucing up our yard a bit, as one does.

Our front porch awaits its makeover,

meaning just pots of flowers but no landscaping yet.


I think it’s cool that we hung bunting on our in-progress porch!

Meanwhile, nothing growing out front means 1 thing:

it’s time to head to our backyard . . .

. . . where we planted 10 Autumn ferns behind the garage:


Our baby ferns may not look like much right now,

but soon enough, we’ll have these beauties!

fern autumn

In other news — there’s nothing like moving from house A to house B

to make a gal realize she’s got way too much garden stuff!

How many pairs of pots + urns did I think I needed?

Anyway, I did what I had to do + ruthlessly purged.

We now have a large pile of gardening goodies

that I’ll take to my next market + sell.

So what made the cut, Kay? — you’re no doubt asking.

This stuff:


I have had that old trellis for a long time.

It’s never looked better than here, on the garage wall!

I love the combination of chippy white paint + silvery galvanized metal!


That wonderful stand + bucket await their resident plant.

I am thinking something of the topiary persuasion.

Exhibit A:



The larger bucket to the right will soon be a fountain,

+ that sandwich board sign at left?  I love it!

I made it for my biz — several years + 2 booth spaces ago.


Earlier today, I drug it from its basement hide-a-way

+ plopped it here, next to our trellis + plant stand.

I’m not sure where it will land.  Stay tuned.


Just a few short yards from my plant stand + old sandwich board,

the garage sports this window box with 3 very rustic pots:



This year I’ve filled those pots with pretty, leafy Caladium plants,

under planted with Gin Begonias.

They are both shade tolerant, which is a must in most of our yard.


Next up, our pair of semi-modern Adirondack chairs

have moved from their previous place on our lawn to this patio space.


Somewhere there’s a pair of pale blue outdoor cushions,

+ I need to ask G.O. if he knows where they are.

Stay tuned!


I’ve been working like a bee of late, + while I really love it/mean it . . .

. . . I feared that life might just be passing me by!

Time for an outing.  To here:


I’ve heard good buzz about this place, + it did NOT disappoint..


All this awesomeness is out in the middle of nowhere (J/K, kind of!) . . .

. . . SW of Chicago, somewhere close to Yorkville.

It’s definitely worth the trek,

but you’ll need to use your GPS or MapQuest to get there.

Trust me.


2930 N. 4351 Road / Sheridan, IL

(815) 496-9400

* * *

 Sadly, I’m not yet in the market to buy plants,

as our Dutch colonial landscaping is on the way-back,

ohpleasedon’tmakemewaituntilnextspring burner.

Yes, this could have been a major buzz kill, but it wasn’t.

Here’s why:

IMG_4782(1)Lots of eye candy, of the garden center persuasion!

IMG_4752(1)All that red siding with pretty green trim!

 I felt a pang of siding remorse,

because I’d briefly considered said-same for our Dutch colonial!



 Look at those sweet rafter tails!


Look at the garage door, the lightning rod + the cool barn light!


G.O. pointed out that light fixture, which had me mentally high-fiving myself.

It’s good when he digs the same things that I do!


Look closely at what’s on the left side of the potting shed’s door:


OMiGosh, it’s an old kitchen sink, which I totally love

+ which we totally have, languishing downstairs in our basement!!!

Gas up the truck, because it’s headed to its new home,

beside our blue garden shed

(a glimpse of which you can see here, to the right, behind our house!)


But wait!  There’s more!


Yes, that’s another vintage sink, + yes, we have one of those, too!

WOW, my head’s spinning with inspiration!

Speaking of which, this place was packed with repurposed vintage stuff!

Like these:






IMG_4733(1) IMG_4734(1)




IMG_4781(1)+ last but not least, there’s our dog, Dory, enjoying her day!


I Want A German Beer Garden Table!


Today it’s damp + cold, our furnace is roaring + I’m sportin’ a cardigan.

I am not amused, but let’s think summer anyway, shall we?

First up:

for alfresco dining at the Dutch colonial,

I want this from World Market:

484559_*BEER_GARDEN_TBLE_BLUE________ 484556_BEER_GARDEN_BENCH_RED_________

It’s  a replica of an old German beer garden/hall table.

Red = perfect!

It’s collapsible, too,

which means easy winter storage!

The table is $229.99, + each bench costs $139.95.

Keep those prices in mind.

* * *

First, let’s take a look-see at couple of vintage beer garden/hall tables:

Refinery 29

Refinery 29

Don’t you love the way it’s so slim?

One could put this in one’s small space — no problem!

* * *

Meanwhile, here’s another:

Three Potato Four $425

Three Potato Four
$425 No longer available

Um.  Check out the price of the old versus the new knock-off.

$425 for the vintage set

Approximately $510 (before shipping!) for the knock-off!

I could write an entire post about buying vintage instead of reproductions.

Stay tuned for that.

* * *

Here’s what you need to know:

Three Potato Four

is a crazy good online source for all things vintage!

Go here, now!

You’re welcome.

Walpole Woodworkers Dreamin’

Let’s have a quick look-see at a really UGLY before photograph.

This is the back of our Dutch colonial, definitely in progress (last summer!):


Disclaimer: it looks a tad better than this now,

but, sadly, not nearly enough to warrant another photo op.

Instead, let’s focus on what awesomeness

I have in mind for that back door’s immediate future,

courtesy of Walpole Woodworkers:

I’ve never met a pergola that I didn’t love!

* * * *

What I’d really prefer is a larger pergola

combined with a small-ish patio, like this:

walpole woodworkers attached pergola #2

Or this:

walpole woodworkers attached pergola

YUM — + definitely stay tuned.

I’m not sure we’re going to do a lot of landscaping,

not this spring, anyway.

* * * *

Tragic, I know . . . but I’ll just dream about landscaping,

courtesy of Walpole Woodworkers’ website:

Care to join me?

walpole woodworkers arbor with privacy fence

What a stunning privacy fence + arbor! Yes, please!

walpole woodworkers arbor with roses

Omigosh, I’m such a fan of climbing roses!
Fingers crossed that our tree-filled new yard
has a sunny spot for said-same!

walpole woodworkers moon arbor

This bit o’ divine-ness is called a moon arbor.
What do you think of the dark-ish color?
I’m a fan!

walpole woodworkers gate

Who can resist the classic white picket fence?
This gate spells P-E-R-F-E-C-T-I-O-N
in my little world.

walpole woodworkers picket fence


My Round Lawn Love


I’ve somehow managed to stay cheerful + upbeat all winter,

but not so much today.

Yes, sadly,  I finally have the full-blown winter blues.

It’s now past time to gas up the car + point it SOUTH!

* * * *

Since we’re otherwise occupied + sadly, must remain up north,

near Chicago (a.k.a. the arctic circle),

I must seek out this sort of online morale boost:


When I spied this little gem on Pinterest yesterday,

I swooned + immediately thought of another round lawn I’d seen

in a long-ago (May/June 2007) issue of Cottage Living magazine** RIP.

**Yes, of course, I saved it all my CL mags!   (Much to G.O.’s dismay!)

Here’s the cover:


Here’s the lawn:


Whee!  Bad photo, but you get the idea.

This bit of perfection is near Cape Neddick, Maine

+ was designed by its owner, Thomas Lovejoy.

There he is:


Is anyone as wowed as I am at the way he mows in a circle??

 * * * *

All I know is that,

ever since I first saw that round garden in Cottage Living,

I’ve longed to have one of my own!

Here’s yesterday’s inspiration again:



Wow, those edging bricks, laid in a soldier course!  Genius!

I’m especially glad — now — that I insisted we salvage our old bricks

from the torn-out chimney in our Dutch colonial fixer:


Dare I hope that we have enough bricks

so that we’re able to complete not 1 but 2 projects —

edging for my proposed round lawn and a patio —

as done by these landscaping winners?:

round lawn with brick patio

Please.  I love it!

Here’s one more round lawn:



I’m almost as fond of this stone edging as I am of the brick.

Doesn’t it define the lawn’s roundness

+ give its edges awesome crispness?

* * * *

Meanwhile, my plans for the rest of the day

include fantasizing about having a round lawn in our new yard.

Hurry UP, spring!  (As if.)

Stay tuned!

Snapping Fall Color!

Our yard is popping with Fall color right now,

+ it’s everything I can do to keep from snapping photos all day!

Oak Leaf Hydrangea Every yard should have 1.

Oak Leaf Hydrangea
Every yard should have 1.

The weather was nice + warm, albeit drizzly, on Halloween,

so up went the hood on my Cardinals sweatshirt + outside I went!

Here’s what caught my eye initially . . .

. . . beautiful golden Chokeberry shrub leaves against our dark brown fence:



In a nearby corner is my vintage Purple Martin birdhouse:


(Past) time to move everything inside for the winter!

I dread this project so much!


Did I mention that, by now, I’d hoped G.O. would have moved my roof spire

from this garage to the one at our fixer upper?


Now on to the front of our house:


Okay, so maybe it’s (past) time to take down my Cardinals flag, too!


Every yard needs at least 1 Japanese maple tree, too!

We have 3.

Looking east toward our neighbor’s spectacular burning bush:


Back toward our house.

Those window boxes filled with begonias still look pretty festive!



Our friends, Stacey + Erik Olson,

surprised me with a pair of concrete “sausage dogs”,

one on our current porch

 + “his sister” over at the Dutch colonial fixer upper!


And, speaking of still looking (somewhat) festive,

take a look at the rose climbing our front arbor!


You GO, climbing rose!

Every yard should have roses, too.

I think ours has 12 climbers +/or shrubs.


Who knew? — that every Thanksgiving,

we’d still have plenty of roses

for our table centerpiece!?

Charming Up A Garage With Ivy

We planted ivy to grow up + around the brick walls of our detached garage.

Some of its corner bricks were lose + a few were missing,

+ I wanted to disguise that.


Look closely at the roof peak.
There’s my roof spire.

I’m sorry, but neither G.O. nor I can recall the name of our ivy.

I searched for the box in which I keep all my plant tags,

(where IS that thing?) but naturally, I couldn’t find it!


Our garage’s east side —
just beginning to get its ivy on.

In honor of the World Series, let’s just say it’s Boston ivy.

That works for me!

Anyway, in just 2 or 3 short years,

the west + south sides of the garage are covered.

I do like the way it looks — very much.

Ivy-covered buildings are charming,

+ trust me, our sad, little garage was in need of charm!


I painted the window sashes tan
to match those on our house.

In the fall, the ivy turns a beautiful scarlet!



Here’s a photo of the ivy starting to climb across the arbor

that, against his wishes, G.O. built above our garage door.

(I’m pretty sure he likes it now!)


He was not amused
when I wanted to paint our garage door tan.
He said it would ‘never last’, but thankfully, it has.

Now look at a couple photos where I’ve tried to be ‘Artsy’

featuring G.O.’s beloved 70’s-era Ford Ranchero.

I thought the white of the car would contrast nicely with the darker brick + ivy.



Oops.  Ansel Adams, I’m NOT.

I’ll try again later.  Stay tuned!



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