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Around The Yard | Early Summer

Oh yes, I'm so thankful for this space.

We've lived in this house for just about two years now. Last year I did just a bit in the yard - mainly with the raised beds in the summer and planting some shade perennials in a bed between the house and the patio. Take a look back at early spring, mid-spring and mid-summer 2011. Especially crazy to see the difference between April 2011 and now (bare trees vs. the green of now).

Part of my manifesto this summer is to spend an hour outside everyday. That might be playing, reading, working, eating, resting, entertaining, dreaming or puttering.

Click on any image to view it larger.

Right now a lot of my outside time has been planting and a bit of moving things around.

I love perennials so a lot of what I've been doing is planting those and in the process digging up some things that were here before we moved in that I don't love.

Those chairs and tables (three of them put together) are from Costco.

This yard has three main sections. (1) An area with a shed and raised beds (and a whole other side along the house where the AC is located that is just dirt right now), (2) an area directly behind the house where the patio sits (the photo above is in this area), and then (3) a large grass area off to the right (what you see through the pergola in the photo above) with a couple trees at the far edge.

This is in the second area just behind the house. This is what I see when I look out my kitchen window.

These are my beloved peonies. I've cut most of them and brought them inside. They smell amazing.

This is also in that area directly behind the house, farther down from the peonies, that needs a bit more love and attention.

For me, working in the yard like this is an exercise in patience. It's remembering that that small hydrangea I just planted won't be so small next year or the year after or the year after. Sometimes it's hard to wait - I want it to all be established and full and lush right now. I can tell, though, that I'm getting better at the waiting. It's all a learning process, every last step of the way.

To the left of the patio area are the raised beds and the shed (and an area you can't see that's currently a no-man's land of just dirt). I have plans for this area - I'm still thinking pea gravel around the beds. Around the corner, over by the shed, there's a pretty big blank space. I need some new dirt over there and then I'll plant the pumpkins and corn and see how that goes (I haven't done either before).

Another place that needs some new dirt (and a new lattice on top of the fence) is along one of the edges of the grass area in the left yard. There's some really big (giant) trees in the neighbors and roots all throughout that soil that you see here.

I've got three blueberry plants that are totally thriving in the spot they were planted last summer.

Those strawberries were here when we moved in - they did pretty good last year.

Once the rain stops again we'll be working on some sort of a fort for the kids back in this area behind the fern.

Looking back towards the house from the far end of the grassy area.

There's a lot to learn and right now I'm really relishing getting my hands dirty and joyfully doing the work.

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83 thoughts

  1. Kristine S says…
    06/06/2012

    Your outside space is so lovely

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  2. Toni From says…
    06/06/2012

    Looking really good Ali. It is a beautiful space already and I am sure when you are done puttering it will be spectacular.

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  3. Ainslie H says…
    06/06/2012

    Ali, your yard is just beautiful!!! I could imagine spending some wonderful summer hours out there. I especially love all your different trees and plants, almost makes me want to do more gardening!!!

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  4. Ilona says…
    06/06/2012

    Your garden is very beautiful! And I love your white Adirondack chair! :-)

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  5. Kimberly says…
    06/06/2012

    Love the patio space you have for outdoor living. Perfect.

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  6. Ilona says…
    06/06/2012

    And I have to add: I like the idea of writing the details onto the picutres! I will do that for my garden pictures too, last year we designed our new garden and we started planting and planting and planting. This is great to keep in mind which plants are where and how it looks from year to year / season to season!
    Thanks for sharing Ali!

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Marie says…
    06/06/2012

    I agree with you when you say that you want to spend one hour a day in your yard, it's so lovely!

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. MonicaB says…
    06/06/2012

    I don't have the patience for gardening. I love the flowers that come back every year without me doing anything. But I do love a beautiful garden and yours is definitely one of those.

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. Lisa W. says…
    06/06/2012

    WOW...it looks beautiful Ali. You do good work:) I SO so so get what you mean with the waiting. I just planted my first hydrangea this year. Everyone says they wont do good here (in Michigan) well I so LOVE them and I am gonna try. Thanks so much for sharing your yard it truly is lovely!!!

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  10. Kayla says…
    06/06/2012

    Love, love, love your outdoor spaces - your yard is charming. I love seeing another aspect to your creativity. Creativity in the yard feeds the soul - I never was much of a yard person until a few years ago and now I can't imagine life without planting/improving/enjoying something - there's just something one gets from gardening that can't be found elsewhere. Thanks for this post!

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. Alida says…
    06/06/2012

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful yard. We've lived in a few places, in some we did a bit of intensive gardening. Now we have a small but established garden and my test of patience is to wait for a place of our own again where I can garden as I like:).Enjoy!

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  12. Naomi says…
    06/06/2012

    Beautiful!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Marsaille says…
    06/06/2012

    I would fall in love with this place too! Thanks for the tour. I am an outside girl, and always wondered about your layout. Well done Ali.

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Marilyn Johnson says…
    06/06/2012

    Beautiful. We have a garden every year. Pumpkins are one a the few things I can grow. My husband has the real green thumb. We plant zuchinni in a few hills on the edge of our pumpkins to help with bores and bugs.

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. kelsey says…
    06/06/2012

    You have a beautiful yard! I love that you labeled Lilly!

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  16. kelsey says…
    06/06/2012

    OOPS! I meant Lily. My daughter is named Lilly and she spells it with two L's.

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  17. Michelle L says…
    06/06/2012

    This is impressive! I love what you've done with the yard. I have a huge side and backyard and have never really done anything with it. It's clean but very blah. Must start doing something with it soon. =)

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. Tina J. says…
    06/06/2012

    Looks like so much fun! I hope you enjoy it!

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. J3SS1C4 says…
    06/06/2012

    You have such an amazing looking yard! I'm super envious over here in my 3rd floor apartment! I can't wait until me and my partner find a place to buy and I get to make my own gardens!! I love how you wrote on the photos and did all of the arrows. Are the arrows something you just made for these photos, or can you buy them somewhere digitally?

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Kitty Whitlow says…
    06/06/2012

    Very inspiring. I have never been into yard work. I am struggeling along with an unwanted divorce and have surprisingly found myself out in the yard and flower beds twice in the past month. I want to do more and you inspire me to do just that.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…
      06/06/2012

      I find it therapeutic.

  21. amy says…
    06/06/2012

    lovely yard - i like how you labeled the lily in the last picture. cute.

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  22. amy says…
    06/06/2012

    lol sorry i mean "lily the dog" :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. Patti L says…
    06/06/2012

    Wow, really nice! Looks so peaceful.

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  24. Alexandra says…
    06/06/2012

    everything looks beautiful.
    I can see why you want to make sure you spend an hour a day outside - you've got a great spot - a little sanctuary. And a fabulous yard for the kids!!

    I love perennials too - if you have any shady areas you might want to try hostas and/or ferns. We have a pathway of flagstone through our grass and beds of hostas and ferns on either side. it's lovely, lush and low maintenance.

    thanks for this post... you inspired me to go out and snap a few pics of our yard : )

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. wendy says…
    06/06/2012

    You have such a great yard! So many of your plants are already established. We just bought our first home last September so we've been doing a ton of outdoor work too. The back yard for us was basically a blank slate - as in all the only things out there were two trees, arbortivaes, and two blueberry bushes. All the plants we put in are babies and I know how it feels to want them all bigger!

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