Come on, summer!

I know it’s only early April, and true to my Minnesotan roots, I am not fooling myself into thinking that summer is just on the horizon. Even out here in the land of sunshine, where we haven’t had a snowfall that “stuck” for several weeks, I know that we’re not past the possibility of winter weather completely. However, it hasn’t stopped us from prepping our yard and house for the season of green grass, al fresco dinners, afternoons playing games under the hot sun, and get-togethers with friends in our urban refuge.

This time last year, we were only just beginning the dreaming phase of our landscaping, and starting the arduous process of spreading rocks and mulch throughout the space. We were only able to lay the groundwork (quite literally) before our summer landscaping budget of patience and funding ran out.

This year, with the expensive parts (8 tons of rock and a professional fence) behind us, we get to move onto the fun stuff!

Of course, with this being his forté, Anthony is over the moon with the possibilities of upgrading our lawn with carefully selected flora and fauna. I really never thought I’d marry a man who would get so excited at the garden shop, checking out shrubbery and baby trees. But, here we are. 😉 This past weekend, he convinced me into getting 4 outrageously large planters, which perfectly compliment one my parents bought us for a spring gift last year. And then, to completely satiate him, we also filled them with some new evergreens for a year-round facelift.

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I’m not immune to this odd fascination with outdoor yard projects, and found myself digging trenches for my little plot of sunshine — my vegetable garden. Last year was my most successful attempt at growing my own produce, but was still a bit on the disappointing side, even with my track record. I have chalked up my low yield and fried plants to the hot summer sun. While a sunny spot usually makes for a happy garden, the water I gave them morning and night would either quickly evaporate or would soak in and act as mirrors for the sun’s rays, and I was left with sad, wilty plants.

Not this year, I’ve vowed! I put in some serious blood, sweat and tears (because I can’t complete any household project without a little of all three of those components) to install a drip irrigation system in my garden. This way, I can set my water up on a timer, and it can go directly to the roots, without settling on those fragile leaves.

    By the way: those shoots of green in the back row are garlic bulbs I planted last fall -- they are really growing!

By the way: those shoots of green in the back row are garlic bulbs I planted last fall — they are really growing!

Because of the position of the garden in the yard, on the opposite side of the house from the house (naturally), I also took on the challenge of laying pipes under ground, including tunneling under two walkways. I actually had to tell the women-hating men working at Home Depot how this is done, courtesy of a video I found via Pinterest. You could say that I’m proud of the results of my efforts!

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To be fair, Anthony did help with some of the trench digging and PVC cutting, and Olive helped with the supervising.

And to get a head start on all of the goodness that will be going into this sure-to-be-successful (right??) garden, I’ve already got my saplings started inside the sunroom. I can’t wait to get them out into their rows, alongside the spinach, kale and lettuce already nestled outside below the straw.

photo 5Our last project for this past weekend was a long overdue revamp for the bench in our “gazebo” (the trellis-like patio that is probably not technically a gazebo at all…). This space was one of the things that got me all dreamy-eyed when we bought the house, and I’ve already enjoyed covering it in twinkly lights and pretending I’m hosting Gatsby-esque fetes. However, the unfortunate truth about the gazebo is that it has never been all that conducive to the al fresco dinners that I imagined us conducting between its four columns. The bench is in somewhat of a sad state of disrepair, and I worried for the clothes and thigh-skin of anyone who may have sat on its dirty, peeling, splintery seat. For parties, we covered it with old towels, which hardly seem like something fitting for my twinkly light dreams. Anthony wants to eventually tear the bench out and build something more permanent on the other side of the structure, where it would actually face the backyard, but that project is not at the top of our very long list of priorities. In the meantime, I wanted to spruce it up and make it worthy of lounging and watching the sun go down as we enjoy summer dinners. All that to say, I took it upon myself to craft some custom cushions for the seat, with super bright, cheery outdoor fabrics.

photo 3 photo 2Needless to say, I can’t wait for summer to finally arrive, for good, so we can start filling in the rest of our plans and enjoying more summer days in the outdoor space we’ve worked so hard to make an extension of our home. More projects to come, for sure!

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