{project house} our backyard makeover.

our yard has always been a bit more than we could handle since day one. there was lots of landscaping done by the previous owner, but without a strict yardwork regiment & a very green thumb, the plants just took over! there were big privacy hedges on two sides of the yard that needed at least annual, & very expensive, professional trimming, & lots & lots of plants planted right next to each other. needless to say after three years of minimal yardwork on our part, things had gotten a little out of control. plus, the lawn (at least in the backyard) was super uneven & very spotty.

sure enough, I got a bug this past spring to get our yard under control so that it looked as nice as the rest of the house! (apparently a big house remodel will do that…) we started figuring out what we wanted our yard to look like, what our budget was, & reaching out to landscapers to start getting bids. we also decided it was worth it to hire a landscape designer since neither of us know anything about landscaping & we didn’t want to put a lot of time & money into our yard without some kind of design. a friend/neighbor of ours gave us the contact information for Erin Lau Design & she was wonderful! we initially had her out for just the front yard design, but brought her back out later in the summer to do a backyard design as well (we did two 2-hour consults, if that helps anyone who is interested!). not only did she give us simple, easy-to-maintain designs, she gave us a plant list to choose from, & the offer to buy any plants we were interested (cheaper than going to a big box store & saved us from having to drive out of town to a nursery).

of course though seattle had other plans for us & really tested our patience with this project. even though we started the process in the spring (may-ish), our spring & summer were so warm that it didn’t make sense to start any work. if we would have had removal of the old plants & grass done that early, our yard would have been a dirt/mud pit the entire summer! some times it stays cool enough to plant grass in the summer, but everyone we talked to told us to wait until the fall to plant grass & other plants & trees. so we waited. but, the wait did allow us to do some of the work ourselves & save some money. we removed all of the plants from the yard over the course of the late spring & summer, aaron chopped down the laurel bushes that ran the entire east side of the house (with a hatchet & a chainsaw!), & we removed a lot of the rocks that were all over the flower beds. we hired some crews to take out the big bushes that lined our back fence (north) as well as a stump grinder.

after going back & forth with a few yard contractors, we decided to go with EcoYards to do the sod removal, levelling, sprinkler & drip-line installation, & new sod installation. yep, you read that right sprinklers. it was a decision that we sat on for a long time, mostly due to the high cost, but we decided it was worth it after hearing from a neighbor who has the most beautiful front yard that sprinklers were the big secret & a friend who is in the lawn & sprinkler industry. for us, it was worth the investment since we both knew it was the best chance we had at keeping everything alive! {side note: most homes in seattle don’t have sprinklers. we get quite a bit of rain, & during the summer almost everyone lets their lawn go dormant (yellow) & then wait for it to come back green in the fall.} plus, a major selling feature was that this irrigation system has rain sensors so it can adjust the amount of water it puts out based on the rain fall – so cool! we have a little weather station on the back of the house.

finally (finally) we had the crew on-site & they were here for two weeks. it was crazy to see the transformation & we are super happy with the results! we have planted six trees in the backyard, plus mulch in the flowerbeds. then in the spring we will plant the remaining plants in the backyard, & do the removal & planting of the front yard.

without further adieu, before, during, & after pictures! {sidenote: the yard was really hard to photograph with the privacy hedges!}

BEFORE {May, June, & July 2014}:

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{the back hedge & rhodie (left).}

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{the back hedge. you can see our neighbor’s garage back there.}

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{the laurel hedge that was on the east-side of the house.}

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{the back hedge coming down!}

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{& the hedge is gone!}

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{we actually had the laurels trimmed this spring since we were on the fence about whether we wanted to get rid of it or not. we quickly decided we wanted it gone… oh well!}

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{after years of being behind the back hedges, the side of our neighbor’s garage was in rough shape.}

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{the side fence (west) coming down in July, along with all of that ivy!} 20150703_195756981_iOS

{aaron & our neighbor taking down the old back fence.}

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{setting the new posts.}

20150705_173758172_iOS{a new fence!}

20150712_200407391_iOS  {the old laurel. you can see the gap to the right where we had a quince taken out in the spring.}20150809_180438419_iOS

{aaron chopped down ALL of the laurel hedges – by hand! – over the course of the summer, & then we slowly got rid of it in our yard waste.}

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DURING {September & October, 2015}:

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{the lines sprayed for irrigation – white – & the flower bed boundary – orange.}

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{aaron planting our new trees.}

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AFTER {November, 2015}:

20151115_214648396_iOS{peering in thru the east-side gate.}

20151115_214706282_iOS{along this side of the yard are three trees which will hopefully give us privacy in a few years.}

20151115_214718293_iOS{there are two more threes along the north/back edge of our yard.}

20151115_214725856_iOS{I wanted to keep the old rhodie!}

20151115_214739720_iOS{another tree at the end of the flower bed.}

20151115_214749660_iOS{a work in progress, but on the west side of our house is a dog run – the dog door is on this side of the house – & the new home for our little shed.}

20151115_214754487_iOS{we still have this giant tree in the back corner. it’s nice to have a big, mature tree, but boy it has so many leaves! i also added our little lawn flamingos!}

20151115_214806594_iOS{& back towards the east-side gate.}

we are thrilled with the work that was done & how the yard is shaping up. it has been a lot more work on the weekends, since we are actually doing work. & by “we” i mean aaron! he is out there every weekend raking, mowing, etc. we are SO excited for this next spring & summer! i’ll be sure to update this spring too!

have you done a yard makeover lately? any suggestions or hints for us newbies?

M

my weekend in pictures.

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{our rhodie is in bloom! does anyone know whether rhodies change color from year to year? two years ago this rhodie was white, last year it was light pink, & now its dark pink.}

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{there was lots of progress on the house this week. this was me standing at the front door looking up. updates to come later!}

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{swedish fish – my new favorite treat.}

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{we spent a beautiful sunday afternoon at the ballpark! go mariners!}

my uncle & mom were in town this weekend so it was a lot of catching up! we also ended up having a nice spring-like weekend with the sun shining & temps warming up. how was your weekend?

M

my weekend in pictures.

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{pre-dinner drinks on capital hill. cheers!}

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{out to dinner with old & new friends on friday night.}

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{I don’t know which is more amazing: the fact that spring bulbs are blooming or the fact that I planted these bulbs last fall.}

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{I spent saturday morning on a rainy walk around greenlake with an old friend & her little one. I feel like this was a look into my very near future.}

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{couldn’t resist the freshly picked pop-up shop at land of nod this weekend. picked up the cutest pair of moccasins for baby lower.}

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{sunday lived up to its name today & brought some much-needed sun. needless to say sadie was here for most of the afternoon.}

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{see those tiny little green plants at the base of our front tree? yep, those are tulips that I planted!}

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{borrowing the divergent series from a friend. I need to get going before we go see the movie!}

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{this week sadie got bored & unwound an entire spool of twine she found in my craft supplies. aaron & I spent 15 minutes trying to find an end so I could attempt to re-spin it. still a work in progress.}

we had a fun & productive weekend spending time with old & new friends, & finally taking a much-needed trip to the goodwill in an effort to get a kick-start on spring cleaning. after days & days of rain, we finally got a few dry days, or moments, starting on friday & finishing up with some actual sunshine today – it was glorious! while I am still reeling from the spring forward this morning, it was all-in-all a great weekend! how was your weekend?

M

my weekend in pictures.

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{sometimes when you just have a smoothie for lunch, you grab a bag of cheetos out of the vending machine at 3 pm.}

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{on friday night I introduced aaron to the sandwiches at delicatus in seattle’s pioneer square neighborhood. he approved! thanks to amanda for sharing this spot with me last year.}

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{after some delicious sammies, we joined ben & sarah at the comedy underground. hilarious!}

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{on saturday morning, I breakfasted with an old friend & her new little one at the hangar café in georgetown. definitely check it out if you are ever in town. the crepes are amazing!}

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{a girlfriend & I did some early birthday shopping in bellevue on saturday morning. the 12th man was everywhere, including at nordy’s.}

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{nothing says date night like two glasses of ice water & a plastic table number. to be fair though, this was the second date night of the weekend, so I wasn’t complaining!}

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{we picked up some beast mode skittles after dinner.}

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{it is the beginning of february – seriously? – & my bulbs are already sprouting!}

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{the laziness won over this weekend & our bringing a dish to share at the superbowl party turned into picking up a dozen donuts at top pot on the way over. no one seemed to mind.}

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{the seahawks entering the field. that was before they went on to whoop the broncos! what a game! as much as I would have liked to see a better game – closer score – it was nice to not have to stress about whether the score was too close. from that first play of the game on it was all seahawks!}

this was a really great weekend. the sun was out, I got not one, but two date nights with my husband, we got to catch up with lots of friends, & the seahawks won the superbowl! doesn’t get much better than that! how was your weekend?

M

highlights of 2013.

2013 2014

{via}

happy 2014!

i’ve said it before, & i’ll say it again!, yearly recaps are always my favorite kinds of blog posts. its a small way to sum up your year & to see how much the last 365 days have brought. as i look forward to the New Year, i am humbled & grateful by all of the wondrous events of 2013. here’s the rundown of ours:

january: I started out the new year with a bout of the flu. we hosted our first blog giveaway! we installed the west elm hanging capiz chandelier over our dining room table. I framed my diy polaroids for our bedroom walls. amanda & I met john & sherry from young house love during their book signing tour! I diy-ed campaign dressers for our bedroom.

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february: I did lots of diy-ing for valentine’s day {here, here, & here} I celebrated my birthday! we bought a kitchen island. I tried to be better about getting in front of the camera!

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march: I tried my hand at painting an antler {& was so impressed with the results!}. we took my 91-year-old grandmother to target for the first time! amanda & I diy-ed framed house keys on maps. we sold jez the jetta & bought a new car.

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april: we updated our bathroom vanity with a converted antique sideboard. we updated the closet doors by stripping off the old paint in a crock pot. we celebrated our one year anniversary in our house & I reviewed all of the house diys!

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may: we finally got some good weather in seattle! I painted the ceiling & hallway walls. we celebrated aaron’s thirtieth birthday with a beer tasting party! we had a fun-filled memorial day weekend. we were featured in west elm’s blog front & main.

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front and main

june: aaron replaced our toilet. sadie was featured in the seattle dog spot blog. my parents visited for a long weekend en route to the olympic peninsula. my diy his & hers maps were featured. we finally got some summer weather!

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seattle dog blog thank you

july: we celebrated the long Fourth of July weekend with a holiday parade, fireworks, & time with friends. I made a nine layer ombre cake! we replaced our kitchen track lights with globe pendants from west elm. we road-tripped to idaho for my ten-year high school reunion. we started growing our first eggplant.

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august: we celebrated our three year wedding anniversary. the blog got a Liebster Award Nomination. I diy-ed the tiniest baby hats for our friends’ new baby. we road-tripped to hood river, oregon to celebrate my cousin’s wedding.

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september: we went to the husky vs. bronco game to kick-off labor day weekend complete with husky-style tailgating {via boat}. we took advantage of the warm weather & cleaned up the front yard with a fun game called love it or lose it. we celebrated sadie’s ninth birthday! I attended the Alt Summit for Everyone blog conference.

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october: I attempted to start doing fashion posts again. we celebrated our two year blog anniversary at emerald city diaries! I finished up with the #embracethecamera challenge. we went to the pumpkin patch & carved pumpkins with friends.

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november: aaron joined a team for movember 2013. we snuck off to hawaii for thanksgiving.

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december: I reviewed some of my favorite weekend in pictures pics. I participated in A Pinterest Christmas for the third year {see this year’s projects here, here, here, here, & here}! we celebrated Christmas in indiana with aaron’s family.

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reflecting back on this year, i am reminded how blessed we are & also how different this year has been than the year previous. it has been such a wonderful year & ringing in a new one is a bit bittersweet.

how was your 2013 – was it a year to remember, or are you itching to start 2014 already?

M

see past yearly highlights for 2011 & 2012.

my weekend in pictures.

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{kicked off the weekend with a mani!}

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{triple date night at the one day’s wages charity gala on friday night with these ladies.}

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{saw captain phillips on saturday night with my mom & grandmother. best movie I have seen in a very long time – definitely recommend!}

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{I love this time of year – christmas catalogs!}

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{I planted some spring bulbs in the front yard sunday morning while aaron did a little raking. we are pretending to be good homeowners.}

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{pumpkin carving with friends on sunday afternoon!}

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{aaron, sadie, & jaz playing. it was the sweetest!}

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{we have broken out all of our winter gear as our house is already freezing. thank goodness for the genius who invented cashmere pants.}

my mom was in town this weekend & aaron was back east on a business trip so everything seemed a little crazy. crazy, but good! we had an awesome weekend spending time with friends & family which was much-needed. it makes me excited for the holidays coming up & to take some time with loved ones who we don’t get to see every day.

also, a huge shout-out & congratulations to our cousin kendra & her family on the new addition! love you guys!

how was your weekend?

M

my weekend in pictures.

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{on friday there was a car show at work. i absolutely adore old porsches. someday!}

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{a co-worker of aaron’s gave sadie a treat on friday afternoon. sadie didn’t put it down until she conquered it!}

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{no real weekend plans meant back-to-back nights of redbox. now you see me we watched with ben; it was okay & definitely a rental. world war z was good, surprisingly good, though it would have been way too scary for me to see on a big screen. it was my first zombie movie & probably my last. yep, i am a baby when it comes to scary movies. it was more intense than scary, but there were still zombies.}

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{we finally harvested our eggplant & plan to enjoy the fruits of our labor in a homemade eggplant parmesan later in the week.}

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{for as much technology as we have access to we still mow the lawn old-school.}

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{chinese take-out for dinner. not something we do very often, but so delish!}

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{the sunset was phenomenal on saturday evening. it is crazy getting used to the dark so much earlier this time of year, but the sunsets are worth it!}

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{quick run to get molly moon’s ice cream & beer before movie night.}

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{sunday morning i was up bright & early to get my lift, tone, burn on at pure barre. i was sad to hear the alarm go off & not get to sleep in, but it was worth it. well, ask me tomorrow.}

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{sunday morning brunch with aaron at the local sunlight café. the huevos rancheros were awesome!}

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{traffic was so, so bad this weekend & a local bridge closure forced us onto i-5 for a bit which we normally avoid at all costs. no fun.}

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{sunday night movie. we saw don jon. it was terrible. don’t go see it.}

we ended up with an absolutely gorgeous fall weekend. as much as i appreciate the sunny weather, our local meterologists should really find alternative work as they kept threatening rain storms that never transpired. we didn’t have any real plans this weekend which meant we got a few things done this weekend – like some much-needed yard work – plus just some down time to enjoy the house & doing nothing. it was wonderful. how was your weekend?

M