Saturday, January 31, 2009

Behind the Fence

As promised, a peek behind the other side of the fence.

When we bought our house nearly six years ago, it was an expanse of weed-filled grass, melding into the neighboring yard. Oh, and it had a giant concrete RV parking strip adjacent to the alley in back. Perfect for Clark Griswold's cousin, not so perfect for young marrieds trying to cultivate a green thumb.

While there are so many elements that I love (concrete fountain and firepit, custom metal gates and fence, glass garage door), there are others I have come to wish away -- chiefly, our ugly wood fence.

It seems impossible for me to comprehend now the way we approached the building of the fence six years ago, but this was pretty much our strategy: build one. Build one fast. We didn't think much of anything about the design, opting for the premade trellis toppers at Home Depot (apologies to anyone else who has these, but UGH. What were we thinking?).

We wanted a dog, and we wanted privacy. So we built a fence around our entire yard (and by "we" I mean my husband) in a matter of days.

The good news? We got a dog (two, actually), and we got privacy.

The bad news? It's six years later and now we hate our fence. But there is a silver lining: over the last few weekends my husband reinvented one fence panel and installed a set of amazing vintage metal gates replete with--you guessed it--a greek key motif. Dreams really do come true. Photos of this development to follow.

But enough negativity: let's focus on the LOVE.

BEFORE: A view of our garage and backyard from the deck

BEFORE: From the aforementioned RV concrete pad, looking toward the back of the house

BEFORE: In all its glory, the concrete parking strip and back of the garage. (Side note: my husband used a sledgehammer to remove all of this concrete. Insane.)

Now let's move on to the AFTER:

The entry to our side yard, through our old, cobbled-together-on-the-fly wood gate (since replaced with fabulous new-old metal greek-key gates. Stay tuned for more on that project). The weird statue is now gone; it came from a good place, being an homage to St. Francis, patron saint of animals...but one day we both just decided it was weird.

The side yard, showing the detached garage at rear. Not sure if I am feeling the torches any longer, though they are super-functional for dining al fresco on summer evenings.

Reverse view of side yard, looking toward street

Entrance to backyard from side yard. My multi-talented husband welded these gates from pieces of pipe he cut, and the wood came from scraps from a friend's fence project. Growing across it all is a lovely climbing hydrangea that now almost completely shields the two areas from one another with its leaves in the spring and summer. This remains one of my favorite elements of the yard.

The backyard, showing the concrete fountain my husband made. I think this is my very favorite element of the yard.... The sound of running water is so dreamy and seems to be the closest to waterfront living I'm going to get for some time.

Our back deck

Looking toward the back of the house from what used to be the RV parking pad and is now home to a shade garden, firepit, patio and shed! The metal fence shown above was also made by my husband. We are growing privet on either side of the metal arbor to shape around the metal's slow going, but one day we will get there.

The mod shed living in the shadow of the RV parking spot....also built by the husband, who has certainly earned his keep. Its windows and doors all came from our favorite salvage yard, where I have also found amazing treasures for both home and shop.

Fence bordering the alley

Concrete firepit made by...yep, him. The patio under it was crafted from sledgehammered pieces of the former RV parking pad.

One of our splurges was installing a glass garage door where there was previously a homemade set of wooden "carriage doors." (I use that term loosely.)

Finances permitting, we plan to one day convert the garage into a guest house for visiting friends and family. Neither of us are from Seattle, and with a 1,300 square-foot home and two kids, we are desperate to add to our liveable space. The glass garage door was installed with that in mind, so that some day, we and/or our guests can lounge in the garage with an open door, fire blazing and music playing. Life doesn't get much better than that...assuming, of course, that there is easy access to alcohol of some sort.

Like all projects around the home, there remains much more to be done, more growing to occur and refinements to be made, but it is certainly rewarding to stop and reflect on how far we've come.


Bri said...

Looks fantastic! We miss you guys!

anne bryant said...

You already know how much I love your yard, but I'll tell you again. :) You've done so much with a small space! That reminds me I need to get you guys over for our ideas on our garden so I can cash in that trade!

Revival Home and Garden said...

I know, Anne: We still owe we just want to see your house and cool new furniture!

gatherings home said...

I J'adore your damn door too. Do you detect a little envy here. You would be right. Your yard is amazing :)


Revival Home and Garden said...

Carol, you will have to come over for a garden party in the spring! Would love to meet you...maybe we could swap retail survival stories.

Thanks again for the kudos.

Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) said...

WOW! Just wiping up the drool long enough to leave a comment and say, WOW! Now I'm going back to gape a while longer!
Beautiful! Susan

Revival Home and Garden said...

Susan, that might be my favorite comment of all time... I like to hear about people wiping up the drool I elicited!

We have actually made a number of changes since these were taken, so stay tuned for shots of the current incarnation. Each July we have a garden tour in our neighborhood, which we have marked for the last few years by taking shots of the yard to track its evolution. So, a little over a month from now, this year's batch will go up.

Thanks for reading...and drooling!

Tami said...

You are my idol! I can't seem to get the yard thing together no matter what I do! arghhhhhhh. Needless to say it is amazingly beautiful!

hallie said...

I can't even handle the gorgeousness of your yard! It's amazing.
Nice work!

Renate said...

What an amazingly beautiful backyard! I love the glass garagedoor, whatever it cost, it was worth the money! It's fabulous!! Also love how you repurposed the sledgehammered pieces of concrete.
By the by - I don't hate your fence. Its ok. At least - it looks ok on the pics. Nothing wrong with a wooden fence.

compulsively compiled said...

How did your husband make that beautiful fountain? We are working out an idea for one in our backyard using a round galvanized feed trough but concrete sounds so much better. Your yard is dreamy.

Revival Home and Garden said...

Compulsively Compiled, thanks for the kind words. My husband used two sizes of Sonotubes (sp?), concrete forms often used to make giant things like columnar highway supports and such; he picked them up from a local concrete supply store.

Basically (in my sad layman's terms) he inserted a smaller tube into a larger one, then poured concrete inside of the resulting circle that was created. Can't remember if he ran the wiring before or after--if you want more details, let me know and I'll get him to fill me in.

Thanks for reading!

pve design said...

Now that is the garden of Eden!
Gorgeous....herbal essence label worthy!

v8grrl said...

get out!
what is the time frame on this?

I need to get my arse in gear.
My poor pink flamingos are going to abandon my poor yard and head for your!


Cookie said...

thanks so much for posting the basics on the fountain. i've been wanting to make a circular concrete planter for some time but wasn't sure how to do it. i'd planned to hit up a local construction company to see if i could buy/have a concrete culvert. i saw a local company use the metal ones (you know the ones they put in the ground underneath a driveway etc.) for planters and it was very cool and industrial looking. but yours is more my style! can you provide more info on the steps and wiring? i think i can figure it out but i'd like to know just in case.

i might add, i took a welding class last year so i could make my own trellis structures and i plan to use your greek key motif in my next one. LOVE the design. for anyone interested, it's worth the time and such a sense of accomplishment to make your own!

Cookie said...

one more thing, what are your dimensions? that's been a big hold up for me as well. not sure how big i want to make it and i'm afraid i'll go overboard and make this behemoth!

A said...

this is fantastic!

garden rooms said...

The entry to our side yard is old but it looks good in Garden. I think you can built an office in your garden because you have very much space for garden.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin