We have now been in our house for all four seasons. As we have been working on the inside of the house, we have done very little to the exterior. I think part of us wanted to wait until we experienced the house in each season – to see how the sun comes through the trees before we thin them, to find out what plants pop up before we move things around, to live in the yard and front porch and back patio before we decide how to update them.
Now that summer is here, the plants have grown in, trees are fully leafed out and the weather is perfect for outdoor living, we’re getting excited to spend more time outside and make a few changes.
To be completely fair, the original owners of the house passed on a pretty beautiful place. The house is darling and landscape is really nice. Most of the plants and trees are 15-20 years old, which means they are full and substantial and fill the gardens nicely. So far, we have done nothing more than trim up a few branches and remove the back pergola (which was blocking light into the house).
It has probably been a few years since any major pruning and mulching have taken place in the yard, so that is what I’m looking forward to doing in the next few weeks. There are a couple of bare spots where I’ll fill in with low shrubs around the front walk and the poor soil is quite compact. Adding nutrient-rich mulch will give those pretty plants a boost.
The boxwoods leading to the front porch are big and a bit misshapen. We couldn’t figure out what happened to that middle one with the big sink-hole in the center until we watched a video the boys were making and saw one of them fall right into it. I’m not sure if it is salvageable – we may need to cut it way back? Boxwoods take forever to grow, so I’m hesitant to mess anything up.
The front porch hasn’t had much use, but now that the summer weather is here, it is proving to be a lovely space to sit. The kids like to swing on the porch swing and for Father’s Day, we bought Ryan two rocking chairs (here’s the link).
We have some work to do on the front porch: new front door, fix the wrapped posts, add a railing, repaint the decking, update the exterior lighting. At some point, we’ll remove the top arched windows and push the rectangular windows up, fix the siding and paint the house white.
One of my favorite views of the house is of the garage with dormers. The previous owners left window boxes with miniature boxwoods and I’ve added to them this summer with some of my favorites: sweet potato vine, creeping jenny and white bacopa.
Beyond the garage is the little chicken coop, set back in the woods.
Each morning, we let the chickens out and they roam the yard all day. They are funny birds who stay together in a little pack and wander about.
They haven’t started laying eggs yet, but should any day now.
Last week, Ryan hung a hammock out under a canopy of trees. It has been the coveted spot around here.
Every day, I catch myself feeling so grateful for this gorgeous retreat. We are surrounded by lush green, with plenty of room to explore, run around, throw the ball for the dog, lay out in the sun. What a treat to look out our windows at such a pretty yard and have such privacy.
Sure, there is a list of projects that must be done, and an even longer one with things we’d like to do, but we truly do love it here!
What an absolutely beautiful retreat …
Might I ask where you found (or how you made) your pom-pom garland? It’s adorable! :)
Sure! Here is a step by step tutorial: https://jonesdesigncompany.com/decorate/diy-pom-pom-garland-two-ways/
It is a gorgeous retreat! Beautiful!
Beautiful. Not a good time of year to prune anything though.
It really is beautiful – a dream-come-true kind of home. :) So happy for your family getting to enjoy it! :)
What a lovely place! Did you guys make your chicken coop or were you able to find one that was pre fabricated?
We bought a premade coop from costco and then added an extra pen to extend the bottom.
I really enjoyed reading this post and seeing your beautiful yard! It gives me so much hope for my own house. One day :) I absolutely adore your porch swing–it’s the perfect size! Can you tell me where you got it?
The porch swing was here when we moved in! What a nice thing to inherit from the previous owners.
Your home is beautiful inside & out. I love reading your blog and seeing all of the photos you post. You always inspire me to try new things in my home. Have a wonderful week!
Thank you, Brenda!
Do you know what your exterior house paint color is? We are looking for a nice medium grey that doesn’t have obvious undertones – just a true grey or greige. Mind sharing yours or any ideas you may have? Your yard and home look beautiful!
I just looked for any extra paint that might say the name of the color and don’t see it. The previous owners painted the house. Sorry I don’t have the name!
Your yard and gardens are so pretty! And the chickens are adorable! I can’t wait to hear more about that experience. How do they feel about your dog?
I wanted to pass along a source for boxwood trimming advice. Nicole at Making it Lovely has been working on the boxwoods in front of her house for a few years now. Her experience may help you decide if you want to try to salvage these or start over with something new. She shares every painful detail.
Thank you for the resource! I’ll go check it out.
The chickens and Atlas do just fine together. They mostly just leave each other alone :)
I’m so happy you have found such a retreat-like home! I want a hammock now. Your colors and style of house look a bit like mine, which made me laugh about the boxwood story…..we have one that looks like yours. Our driveway is long and curvy and the first time my husband backed out, he hit the middle boxwood. We never replaced it- just laugh about it and keep it shaped up.
I remember visiting you at your old house and hearing you talk about how much you wished your view out back wasn’t of other house. Look at that backyard!! so happy for you emily! :)
Right?! It’s pretty dreamy :)
Your yard is beautiful. It is fun to hear your vision of how you want to enhance it. Thank your for your generosity in sharing your life with us all.
love your house…….and love your plans…to make it yours! Wondering if you could do me a favor. I’ve been wanting to put a small strip of “pergola” as shown in your 1st photo of your house. Could you send me a larger photo of it so I can show my “handy man” how it’s suppose to look? I don’t find many of these around, except above garage doors. I want mine on the back of my 2 story family room to give it some dimension outside AND most importantly, to hang a few lights as it will be over our deck.
Beautiful! How do you water the window box? Do you just open the window? I would like to do some window boxes but haven’t figured out how to water without having to remove the screens every day, which I just won’t do!
Yes, I just bring a watering can upstairs and water out the window.
Have you had a Japanese maple right by the front door before?!?! You will grow to DESPISE that thing, I kid you not. We have one right between our garage & front door – I HATE it. Whoever decided that was a good place to plant it was not in their right mind! (Probably the same person that planted the ivy & the bamboo…GRRRRR!)
I would have had someone come over & dig the damn thing out if it weren’t already mature – part of the concrete would have to be removed to get it out. It doesn’t stay small, the leaves get everywhere in the fall & they are prickly, so they are constantly getting tracked into the house. I prune it back every year & by spring it is huge again.
Take it out now if you can, you won’t regret it!
What a gorgeous retreat indeed!
Love the chickens!
We had the same thing happen with one of our bushes in the front except it was my husband that fell into one. It eventually filled back in on its own so I was glad we didn’t touch it. Drove me crazy for awhile though!
Just beautiful! Do you have hungry deer in your area? I would love to plant hydrangeas but here on South Bainbridge…I know my deer friends will find them within 24 hours and snack on them. And of course they like the flower buds the best! I can only plant the same plants, over and over and over…Rhodies, shasta daisies, fushia, salvia and sages, lavenders, poppies and foxglove, dahlias, boxwoods, mock Mexican orange bushes, california lilac or rock rose bushes and even these fall prey to the deer if the winter is cold. Anything else I’ve tried is a smorgasbord for the deer.
So happy for you. It looks like you landed in a perfect space for your family.
Love your hydrangeas!! I have taken it upon myself to prune and mulch our beds this year and I have found tons of great youtube videos to guide me on how to prune all the plants we have in our gardens. I am having such fun and it saves tons of money on landscapers.
We also bought a home that had a nice landscape but needed to be pruned and cared for a bit.
Enjoy your beautiful yard!
This is perfect! Such a gorgeous space, I know it’s been a lot of work and it didn’t “just happen” lol.
The hydrangea bushes are gorgeous! Everything about the space looks dreamy!
Looks like an awesome yard to explore! But we will need close up photos of the planters….over the garage and by the door…at some point. And as always, thanks for sharing a piece of your life with us!!
You’re blessed with all the landscaping and that hydrangea? Gorgeous!
What an idyllic setting for summer fun, Emily, one your children will remember far into adulthood. This is a gift of fond memories you and Ryan are giving them, like the fantastic road trip you gave them. Cheers, Ardith