our backyard

We moved into our current home five years ago. We had just sold our darling, but major fixer-upper {or perhaps tear-down} 1920’s bungalow and were beyond thrilled to have a new home {read: without rodents and a sagging foundation}.  At that time our eyes were so engaged by the large rooms, functional kitchen {with a dishwasher!}, multiple bathrooms and charming neighborhood that we didn’t think too much about the teensy tiny backyard.  And we definitely didn’t pay much attention to the towering houses surrounding us on all sides.   If we could do it again, we would have bought a home situated on the edge of the neighborhood, but those are the things you learn once you move in.

So over the past five years, we’ve done our best to transform our little piece of land into something usable and pretty. Let me share with you our backyard.

backyard before

backyard after

We decided that since the lawn was not big enough to really enjoy, we pulled it all out and created a large patio for entertaining, a fire pit/patio for our table and a place for the kids to play.


Last summer, Ryan built a trellis {it is our attempt to distract the eye from the ginormous house behind it : you don’t even see it, do you? Wink, wink}.  I love how it turned out {my best friend calls it a totem-pole-trellis} and will really love it when it is covered in flowering clematis vines.


The patio furniture is a new addition awaiting some new pillows.

from the right

The area on the left on the yard is my favorite. The plants have had a chance to grow and the stone path is a look I love. We built in a patio for a fire pit, but currently have our table & chairs there.


stone walk

patio table

table towards house

On the right side of the yard {which you can see beyond the patio below} is a play set for the kiddos with swings {their fave}.  While it is not a big yard, I do like that the kids have a spot to dig, swing and play pirates.

patio towards playset

It is the work-in-progress part of the yard. We’re not exactly sure what to do in that back section where the wheelbarrow is {a mini garden? shrubs?} and I am hoping to finish the path this summer and plant ground cover to add some green to the mix.


There is always work to be done and I’m sure things will change and grow with each new season, but we are happy with what we’ve created so far. Even if we are surrounded by houses on all sides.

Just for fun, I thought I’d share some close ups of favorite plants in our yard.

Do you have a favorite backyard plant? Please share :

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66 Responses to our backyard

  1. Kim July 9, 2011 at 10:35 pm #

    Whoa!!! Looking good!
    What a nice space to be in!

  2. Eillim Cintron July 10, 2011 at 7:22 am #

    I really like it!
    I have a question though, I see that you have table cover, centerpiece and a sitting area that seems to have regular fabric to it. How do you do when it rains? do you have to cover it? do you put it away? or is it a special kind that will not ruin or get mold?

  3. Heather July 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

    Creeping fig! It’s a great green color and it covers and crawls up a trellis really quickly. Love your yard though. Great job.

  4. Janean July 11, 2011 at 11:34 pm #

    A little over a week ago, I purchased your paper patterned collection and continue to find more and more ways to use the cute patterns, as well as passing on those ideas on my blog and for others who ask! Thank you!

  5. Kat July 15, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

    I have many favorite plants! I especially love my mother-in-laws garden. It’s beautiful and I find is so peaceful when I visit. Please visit my blog to see pics!

  6. Kim July 28, 2011 at 6:59 am #

    Loved this post. We actually have a backyard that looks VERY similar to yours – especially with the large houses in the background! Too funny.

    You asked what some of our favorite plants are, which inspired me to write a post on that topic. Everything must be easy care, otherwise it wouldn’t survive in our yard for long!http://makeminevintage.wordpress.com/2011/07/23/a-few-of-my-favorite-perennials/

  7. Jess August 27, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    Emily, your backyard is magical! I love it! :) I would LOVE to see pictures of your first home! it would be give ideas to those of us who have smaller homes! Do you have pictures?!

  8. Susan Krzywicki November 15, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

    How about some native plants in that beautiful garden? What is super-local to you? Ask around and see what grew there before all the exotics moved in – you’ll be surprised at the richness that will be yours. Support the environment, too.

  9. Julie April 30, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

    Pull out that creeping jenny! Return it to the store where you bought it! It’ll take over your entire existence! Here is just a sample of experiences with this invasive, non-native plant: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/677/

  10. Hannah May 25, 2012 at 8:31 am #

    I was wondering what those tall green evergreen trees you have are called? I just love them! Your yard is beautiful! Love your blog!

  11. Stacy September 14, 2012 at 11:35 am #

    Your house is beautiful & I have fallen in love with your backyard!

  12. Alice March 20, 2013 at 8:01 am #

    Hi Emily~ Would you mind sharing where you got your outdoor furniture? It is so classic-looking, and I’m having a hard time finding anything. Thanks!

  13. Sarah May 19, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

    Oh Emily,

    I have the perfect idea for that corner with the wheelbarrow (assuming no one else has already suggested it). You should put a big chalkboard on the fence there with tin buckets hanging next to it full of colorful chalk. (I’ve seen this on Pinterest…perhaps you have too. Then maybe some tiny kid’s chairs so they can sit and enjoy their gallery :)

    Beautiful yard. I’m inspired. My yard looks like your “before”. Time to get crackin’!


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