THE BACKYARD 2017. GETTING CLOSER TO PERFECT.

 

After 17 or so years of working on my backyard I think I’m finally happy.  Not with the backyard you understand, just happy in general. Which makes me far more tolerant of the things in my backyard which make me nuts.  Like the lack of storage, my possibly dying maple tree and the hellish mosquitos that have not only bit me, but bit my feet while resting on either side of a massive, potted citronella plant. Having said that, as the saying goes, this is the closest to being happy with my backyard as I’ve ever been.  There’s one more thing that would really make my backyard happiness complete and I’ll get into that later in the post.

 

 

I’m just going to tour you through these photos as if I’m actually touring you through my backyard.  K?  We’re going sort of casual today ’cause it’s a summer Monday and no one has the energy for anything else.  I.  Don’t have the energy for anything else, lol.

So here I am in my Restoration Hardware hacked chair pretending to read a book.  It’s a great book actually and I have read it, but I’m not really reading it here.  I’m pretending to read it.  It’s a fantastic floral design book called The Flower Recipe Book.  Very looks, Brooklyn style arrangements.  I also have The Plant Recipe Book which is similar but with plants as opposed to flowers.  Both are on sale now.

 

Last year I had my Restoration Hardware Furniture Hack beside the pizza oven which I LOVED because it was so cozy, but when I had pizza I had to walk it over to the other side of the backyard to slide it onto the table.  It didn’t make sense.  In the winter when I had my 8 cords of wood delivered I had to move the furniture from around the pizza oven to make room for wood stacking.  At the time my sister helped me drag the furniture over to where the dining table was and in the spring I decided it would make more sense to just leave it there and put the table by the pizza oven.

 

Still the best thing I’ve ever done for my backyard was build the pizza oven. It not only saved me a TON of money (like thousands) by building it myself, it’s created a reason for me to be outside and a reason for people to come over.  EVERYONE who comes wants to come over for pizza.  Everyone.  If you want to build your own pizza oven for about $100, start here.

My outdoor dining table and chairs were from Ikea and they feel like regular furniture which is what I like about them.  It’s nice to have something outside that you like enough you could have it inside.  I mean, I wouldn’t but … I could.

 

Those ice-cubes are fake.  For real.  They’re plastic ice cubes.  If you shoot anything outside in the summer your ice-cubes are gonna melt quick-like.  Buy fake ones and they’ll never melt.

 

You know those sales racks they have right at the check out in stores? That’s where I found this speaker.  I wouldn’t say it’s the loudest speaker I’ve ever owned but it’s great for the backyard because it’s bluetooth, has a rechargeable battery so I can set it down anywhere without plugging it in and it’s waterproof  .  It’s called a Cornerstone if you want one.  You can also get two and they’ll pair to each other and create stereo sound.  Get ’em here if you’re in the States. If you’re in Canada, the only place I can find that carries them is The Source.

 

The light fixture you see hanging in the picture below is a prototype I made using corrugated plastic.  I based it on a cardboard light I got at Ikea that obviously wasn’t going to stand up to the elements outside.  Although, like an idiot I did try.  It’s made by cutting the plastic into shapes and then scoring it so it bends. It worked well but I need to make another one that’s a tad neater.  I’ll never do it.  But let’s pretend.

 

Some time last winter I bought the fire table that sits between my chair and sectional.  The manufacturer was coming out with new styles and Rona was selling off all the old stock for almost free. I think this was about $180 regular price around $1,000.  For now I have it hooked up to a propane tank. Once I’m sure I’ve completely committed to having the sectional in this area of the yard I’ll have a gas line permanently run to it.

Hey! There’s that book I’m pretending to read hanging over the arm of the sectional.  I really commit to my lies.

 

I know and I understand that I’ve been saying for almost a year now that I’ll be doing a post on how I built my Restoration Hardware furniture.  I have not yet done that.  Here’s the thing.  I don’t use plans, I don’t even know how to read them. I just build stuff.  I make it to fit me and my yard or house.  So when people ask me how wide or deep the chair is I can tell them, but that’s been built for me.  Not someone who is 6′ tall.  That’s half the advantage to building your own furniture, you can make it the size that feels right to you.

I haven’t abandoned the idea of writing up a post on the basics of how to do this furniture but it’s definitely something I keep putting off.  Sorry about that.

 

I do have  the posts I did last year that show you how to hack up the arms to make them look worn, another post on how to use a natural stain to make the wood look aged, and another post on how to build the arms. If you haven’t done any of that, those posts will get you started.

 

The fish are really easy to take care of  until they get a weird disease that eats their flesh to the point that you can see their internal organs. Then it’s a real shitshow.   If you haven’t read my post on how I treated my fish that had gaping holes in their sides you really should just for the before and after photos.  Big. Gaping. Holes.  You could see their insides!

Most of you know the story behind THAT chair.  For those of you who don’t, read all about it.  It’s the reason the word fiasco was invented.

 

Yeah.  I still have them. And they’re still cute.

Before I let you go we’re going to take a nighttime tour, if you have time for that.  Come on in the back gate …

 

 

 

 

Can you imagine this backyard at night without the lights?  Probably not.  Or else you could but it wouldn’t be nearly as nice or, more importantly, useful.  I can go in my backyard any night and do anything I could do in the day.  I can see well enough to BBQ, eat or read if I want to.  Mainly I watch the Blue Jays on my laptop.

Remember at the beginning of this post I said there was one thing that would make my backyard closer to perfect? It’s a pergola.  A big, modern pergola with straight lines, stained black off the back of my house.  It hasn’t happened yet but I’m leaning in that direction.   Leaning very hard.  I wouldn’t hire anyone to do it.  That’d just be stupid.  But I won’t build it myself either.  That’d be just stupid.

I’ll hopefully be able to convince a few friends to help me and maybe they’ll have some friends and so on.  I pay in pizza.  That might not seem like enough but I use really, really expensive cheese.

I’ve never used my backyard as much as I have this year.  I started out by making an actual point of sitting in it every, single morning.  As soon as I wake up I grab my laptop, a coffee and head out back to go through my emails.  I’ve written this entire post and Photoshopped all of the pictures while … in my backyard.

It isn’t perfect but it’s almost perfect and for the moment that’s good enough for me.

HAHAHAHAHAHA.  Just kidding.  It’s not good enough at all.  I need to erect that effing pergola. I’d better start making a lot of dough.

Pizza dough.

 

78 Comments

  1. Jane S says:

    LOL. I can’t believe that you bought fake ice cubes and I made them. I am so not crafty.

    Love your yard. It looks like a place to live.

  2. Marilyn says:

    Sometimes good enough is enough…enjoy it ..it looks peaceful …

  3. TucsonPatty says:

    Very awesome – all of it! I especially love “That Chair” and desperately need to know if it is comfortable enough to sit in and read for long periods of time?
    Gorgeous yard, especially at night.

  4. Deborah Burns says:

    It looks perfectly wonderful to me!
    Nightime is magical in your backyard, well done!

  5. Valerie says:

    Your yard is simply gorgeous Karen. I love it – its stylish yet so comfortable.
    You won’t like this question but here goes anyway; have you ever though of painting the outside of your pizza oven in a dull black to match everything else?
    I just knew you wouldn’t like this question.

    • Karen says:

      Ha! No, the thought never occurred to me. I wouldn’t do that, I like the natural look of it. 🙂 ~ karen!

  6. MrsChrisSA says:

    I love love your back garden.
    At night it looks like a fairy wonderland.

    I can but dream……………………..

  7. Catherine says:

    This is lovely, you have made so many great sitting nooks and it all goes together brilliantly.

  8. Elaine says:

    Simply stunning, Karen!! You should be really, really, REALLY proud of yourself! It’s beautiful and stylish night-time or day-time!

  9. Carrie says:

    Karen, I want to be you when I grow up! LOL
    Seriously, love your backyard wonderland. Makes me want to grab a book,sit right down and do some fake reading of my own.😀
    As I only have two outlets outside right now,I’m in a bit of a solar light obsession.
    Fire table for $180?????
    How come I never come across deals like that? Lucky!
    Thanks for the tour,if you need help with that pergola, I’m always up for good pizza with expensive cheese!!👍👍👍👍

  10. Grammy says:

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I could spend all day in your back yard (of course I’d sneak in and enjoy myself while you are out working at the community garden or something, so it wouldn’t disturb you). But at night, oh my oh my oh my. What a deliriously wonderful place. Beautiful!

    • Karen says:

      I sat out there last night Grammy and wouldn’t even come in when it was raining. I mean, realistically, it wasn’t a pounding rain, but still … it was raining. ~ karen!

  11. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    OMG girl…I could live in your backyard…lol…I. also realize how much work you put in to make it that gorgeous!..I would sit there any day and fake read!..I am so proud of you!

  12. susan says:

    It looks wonderful but you know darned well you’ll never be done. Your tastes are constantly evolving and nothing sucks up money more than owning a house and not wanting to live in a time capsule.
    I’ve never quite got the point of pergolas. Except the ones with the retractable shades, of course. They don’t keep the rain off your head, they provide a stripey, dizzying kind of shade so if you don’t move around you get a really weird tan and they are so big they look like an elephant in a small back yard. I have a dream of SOMETHING for my back deck; something so that I can sit out there and get fresh air without being eaten alive. Just haven’t quite figured out what the something is, yet.

  13. Maggie Van sickle says:

    Beautiful Karen. U should be very proud of yourself. I just hope u have lots of company to enjoy that back yard otherwise the masterpiece is just that, a masterpiece. It needs to be seen and enjoyed. Love it!

  14. Debbie D says:

    Absolutely FABULOUS! Now how about this light for your new pergola? No, I have nothing affiliated with this blog, etc., just wanted to show off this light that I think I will be making this upcoming weekend (once I get a fabulous pergola as well—which is on my bucket list for my patio) http://club.chicacircle.com/repurpose-flower-baskets-into-a-glowing-chandelier/ In fact, I might have a couple of them in the pergola.

  15. Kathryn says:

    I had decided yesterday that I was going to start sitting outside on my deck in the morning to drink my first coffee and read my email. But it’s pouring down rain. The dogs sensibly had the shortest possible walk and are back in bed.

  16. Mary W says:

    Many years ago I came across a Pinterest post for a DIY lighted garden orb – from a light shade. I have followed you ever since so looks like we’ve come full circle. Your backyard is gorgeous – my favorite day picture is the first one – who would have thought that black can look cozy and welcoming? Then, like the firework finale, your night time open gate scene is a treasure. I’m sure it stirs many to wish for such elegance and wonder – me? I just get worried about spiders. In FL we have some 6″ nighttime ninja spiders that can run faster than I can. They drape between telephone lines making webs that no horror show can master. They hide under cushions, behind plants, in bushes and yes, even swim in our pool. So I will take your gorgeous nighttime pictures and use them for dreaming – like Idris – it won’t be happening in my back yard but I can rest happy knowing that somewhere up north of the border, this amazing “living yard” really exists and is welcoming and comfy and filled with the aroma of baked pizza. Question: what are those clear tubes under the Buddha head? Is it another water feature? Oh, and the variety of light sizes are genius – giant orbs, nice classic strung lights, tiny twinkle lights and then minuscule reflected lights – pure genius!!!

    • Karen says:

      I had to go back and look to see what you were talking about Mary W. Ha! Those tubes are a garden hose. 🙂 ~ karen!

    • Catherine says:

      Your comment about spiders reminded me of an article I read a couple of years ago about the spiders in Texas who teamed up to spin giant webs. https://goo.gl/images/JVsyR1

      So glad I live in Canada.

      • Karen says:

        I can’t even click on that. Can. Not. ~ karen!

      • Mary W says:

        We also have what is called a wolf spider – related to tarantula. It doesn’t bite humans with much poison but will charge you with it’s two front legs up, ready to strike which is enough to give me a heart attack. They do come out at night and lots of them stay on a black top road so when you drive you can see their red eyes in your headlights. GROSS! I wonder how so many spiders can live in a tree like you show pictured and still get enough to eat? Maybe they just get one cow a year and share.

    • That’s the article which led me to this blog, too, Mary!

      In the States, every single state has its own unique terror. Florida, however, has the rare trifecta: scary insects, scary creatures, AND scary “Florida Man”. As in, “Florida Man Covers Himself in Ashes, Says He’s a 400-Year-Old Indian, Crashes Stolen Car”, “Florida Man Killed 5 Gators, Ate Them for Super Bowl Dinner”, or “Drunk, Machete-Wielding Florida Man Chases Neighbor on Lawnmower”, all of which are REAL HEADLINES from the first three months of 2015 alone. Ah, Florida 🙂

      • Mary W says:

        LOL That would be Florida. We moved to a very rural area in the seventies to raise our own food, vegetable, etc. It was so much fun BUT we ended up both working so we could afford to live that way. Weird. I don’t let my kids (grands) near rivers or lakes that aren’t closely monitored due to alligators and moccasins. Now we have to be worried about the anacondas that have taken over the gators. The bears, wolves, wild hogs, cougars, wild dog mixed with coyote (chupacabra) and foxes with rabies. The wildlife is fun to photo but the mosquitoes blur the pics LOL. We have deer in our backyard with brought ticks and lime disease. Spiders are inside and outside YUK. BUT it is also gorgeous and no snow! Every location has it’s downsides but I do think I’d love to stay for awhile where I don’t sweat if I step outside. Can live without heater but not without AC.

  17. Kari in Dallas says:

    It’s perfect for you. Best money we’ve spent on this 80 yo house is on the pergola. Like you, I’m out here every morning listening to the Anoles chirp their death threats at each other and smelling the green. I do recommend installing UV panels on top of the pergola. Let’s the light in, and I can use it when it rains. Which is lovely.

    • Karen says:

      I’d love the clear panels Kari, but my concern with any sort of clear roof iss how dirty they would get and dingy. Have you found that to be an issue? ~ karen!

      • Kari in Dallas says:

        Surprisingly, no. And we can see the top of the pergola from our living room. (House is on a hill) I think it looks better a little dingy, when it was new it was very shiny…now it just sort of blends in. I will take a photo of the top of it and post it on FB for you when the sun comes out today.

      • Alena says:

        My neighbour built a sort of an pergola that serves as an extension of the roof (it was already there when I moved next door 12 yrs ago). He used the clear corrugated plastic panels as the roof, and underneath, he put the wood lattice panels. The pergola gives his patio a very nice filtered light and yes, I guess the panels are dirty (we live close to a highway) but maybe nobody really notices because of the lattice panels underneath or it’s not a problem. I think he hoses them down at the beginning of the summer with a power washer and that takes care of the worst.

  18. Tigersmom says:

    Your backyard is stunning. I have looked and looked for outdoor furniture with arms that you can rest a drink on.
    One word of warning on the pergola (although you are clever and resourceful enough to find not only a solution, but a solution that looks amazing): I have heard that pergolas become favorite perches for birds and where they perch, they poop. I hate to rain (or rain poop) on your parade, but I would have hated to see you get all those friends to go through all that work just to have some crow poop on your dining table.

    • Karen says:

      Eep, lol. I don’t know. I have a 2 trees over the whole backyard and now that you mention it, I rarely see poop. Maybe I have non pooping Canadian birds or something. 🙂 ~ karen!

  19. christine says:

    Holy crapola! That is the best ever.I am about to recover some cushions.I bought black and have been freaking…do they show dust so much I will have to cover them?

    • Karen says:

      They do get dusty Christine. I sweep them with a broom every morning before I sit down. I also have a very small shop blower (like a leaf blower but tiny) that I use on the cushions once in a while to get the pollen off. ~ karen!

  20. Leisa says:

    Absolutely amazing! No wonder everyone wants to come over, it’s beautiful. Enjoy!!!

  21. Kelly says:

    We used your furniture as a jumping off point – I watched the video of how you put the arms together, and it wasn’t hard to figure out the rest. We just used brackets and boards for the seat and back, and made sure to angle the back to 100 degrees. Now I want to put lights all around my backyard. And maybe convince my husband we need a pizza oven, though that will probably be a hard sell, since he already uses a charcoal grill for pizzas.

    • Karen says:

      NO, no, no. He HAS to build a pizza oven. There’s NO comparison. Every single person who has had the pizza out of this oven (granted homemade dough, sauce etc) has said it’s the best pizza they’ve ever had. It’s incredible! ~ k!

  22. jaine kunst says:

    What a beautiful, cozy backyard retreat! I think the first time I saw your blog you were in the process of digging up the slate pavers and I thought to myself, this is one badass broad and I better follow her to see what amazing stuff she’ll do next. You have never disappointed. Thank you, Karen for the tour; I can almost taste the pizza.

  23. Alena says:

    I thought about you on Saturday when, on my way to Home Depot, I stopped at HomeSense which just a block from HD. I wondered how come people find all this cool stuff at HS when ours usually has nothing. I really love the round chair that you got last week (or the week before) and, in hindsight, it’s probably good that HS did not have it because I am sure I would have bought regardless that I don’t have space for it. I find that Toronto and Burlington HS stores usually have much better stuff but it’s not practical to keep driving over every weekend, with the 401 as packed as it usually is.

    I cancelled my Style At Home subscription a few years ago because I got frustrated with it – mostly due to the font being so tiny and so thin that it became entirely illegible for my eyes. But the one issue I can’t toss out is the one with your garden in it. I will probably be buried clutching that issue in my stiff fingers.
    I only wish I had your trees and also your amount of rain. I get nothin’.
    Not that I don’t have trees but they are mostly in my neighbour’s yard and on the wrong side of my yard. They are aging maples that overhang so much into my lot it’s me who gets most of their fallen leaves and other craps that keeps falling from them.

    So I have a question for you – let’s forget your pristine garden and tell me honestly how often you have to sweep. Because it seems to me I can sweep twice a day and there is always crap on the patio. I always took as necessary evil but this it’s really weighing on me as I have a damaged shoulder (and it looks like it’s a permanent problem so I guess my garden-building days are over). Also, where do you store all that furniture? Are you leaving everything outdoors over winter or do you put it in the shed? (I assume the RH chairs stay where they are because they are too heavy to be moved elsewhere.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Alena. I sweep sporadically and it really depends on the season. I partly swept yesterday, got bored, and only swept half the backyard. I do a quick sweep when I come out every morning. Sometimes a good one where I scoop everything up and and put it in the compost. Other times I just sweep into little piles and leave them hidden behind the chairs, lol. The furniture stays outside, the cushions come inside in the winter for storage and the black dining table breaks down and goes in the shed. Dining chairs stay outside covered with a tarp. ~ karen!

  24. SueSchneid22 says:

    The perfect backyard! Thanks for the tour. You are over the top creative and you get things done. I am sure we’ll be seeing the pergola pics soon and the smell of pizza will be wafting over the border…

  25. MaggieB says:

    Just Bliss, Karen! Was just deciding if I had the energy to have a full scale implosion MELTDOWN, then realised hadn’t logged on for my thrice weekly therapy session, and now am in a better place, so really thank you for that as well.

    Having followed you for, ooh forever, it is inspiring and interesting to see the changes and evolutions that the house and garden/yard have gone through. Have put cheap flights from Germany to Canada on my watchlist – kidding, or am I? No, seriously, i’m kidding …… :)……. It would be great to see a time-lapse of the pergola/pizza party/ies – just a thought.

    Right enough procrastination, off to find out where one of the kids has left some food, because went away for 5 days and have come back to a fly infestation, of almost plague proportions it would appear.

    • Karen says:

      The food is between the couch cushions. It’s ALWAYS between the couch cushions. Or is that money? I forget. ~ karen!

  26. Susan says:

    For the mosquitos – you need the Thermacell Mosquito Area Repellant Patio Lantern from Home Depot (available in Canada, Ancaster is where we got ours). Works like an charm, and covers a good size area. Best thing we ever got for the outside (aside from building our pergola).

  27. Jackie Cameron says:

    What a great back yard. You do such a good job with everything you do. Love it.

  28. susan says:

    have you consider a bat house? is it possible to show a plot plan? how big is carpeting under your tale? did you make the orbs in the garden? sorry about all the questions but I just love your home and postings

  29. Jan in Waterdown says:

    No wonder there’s a glow in the night sky from Dundas!

  30. Linda in Illinois says:

    the back yard is effing fantastic. It looks fantastic. I looked at your fish, ugh.. I don’t eat fish, but I like to look at them too. Glad they are mended and hopefully you got rid of the infectious fish.

  31. Dan says:

    It is a great backyard. My wife and I are looking at having some work done in ours (blank slate right now after moving in last fall, and the previous owner/renovator left it with just lawn and a walkway), but I’m afraid the designers will come up with all kinds of ultramodern stuff which is all over the place in Toronto now. We’ll see, but I keep showing her pictures of your yard, and say “this is what I want”.

    With regard to your fire table, if it operates at all like a BBQ, it will run on propane OR nat gas, but not either. You may need some different guts to plumb it into the house gas line.

  32. Flash says:

    what a great yard.
    I am up for ideas on mine when you make it here for a visit. having a deliema with the tree house 🙁 Should it stay or go?

  33. Regina says:

    Absolutely fabulous!! Job well done! Two questions:
    #1 the metal orb
    #2 the giant white orb
    As usual you continue to make my day. I thank you!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Regina. 🙂 The metal orb was an architectural item from a garden centre that was on clearance at the end of the year and the giant white orb is plastic. I believe it used to be for street lamps but that’s a guess. I found 2 of them in my neighbour’s garbage several years ago. ~ karen!

  34. Jennie Lee says:

    Awesome, Karen. Absolute fairyland. For fairies that eat pizza. I’ve been wanting to complement your full-figure Buddha statue. I am picky about Buddha statues, and I like yours almost as much as mine. Yours is better for your yard, though, because mine is black and would disappear, against your shed. Both our Buddhas are in the same pose, which makes them “meditation” Buddhas. Perfect.

    • Karen says:

      That’s right! I learned all about buddha poses when I was in Thailand. 🙂 I have another wood buddha inside that’s in the teaching pose that I like as well. ~ karen!

  35. Bobbie says:

    Love, Love the back yard. Thank you for the night time tour. The black is terrific and yes, a pergola! Now about the speakers: forget about them 😉 ; talk to me about the round metal art globe behind the speaker. I have been saving the metal rings from the wine barrel planters as they collapse and wanted exactly that kind of construction for the yard. Did you make it or.. ? If you made it, did you make a tutorial on it? Is the outside ring a bicycle tire rim? I also don’t see any rivets holding it together. Just askin’…
    Love your blog and keep DH updated on Your adventures. We obviously don’t have any.

    • Karen says:

      I got the sphere at a local nursery at the end of season on sale. But you’re right wine barrel rings would be perfect! This sphere of mine might be welded but I’m not sure. There are also metal glues you could use that would work. ~ karen!

  36. kelli says:

    Now THAT is one nice backyard. It just screams “garden party!”

    Hope Yoko brings her walrus. 🙂

  37. ronda says:

    stupid ipad has crashed twice now. I’d better type faster lol!
    First off, your back yard was my inspiration! I too would LOVE a pergola in my back yard, and I’ve planned it all in my head. But tonight, I stopped at Ikea with my daughter, and they have this humongous cantilevered patio umbrella on sale that just might replace the pergola …. there are zero trees in my back yard, and none in either of my neighbours, so instant shade is almost a pergola breaker.

    • Karen says:

      My friend just got one of those and swings it between two different sitting areas in his backyard. It’s great! ~ karen

  38. Dina Hitchcock says:

    So, I have to ask…I mean, it rains in Canada right? So what do you do? Race around and pick up all the pillows or race around and cover all with plastic when it starts? Or what if it’s in the middle of the night, or you aren’t home? I had to give up on all nice things in the backyard because of the dogs, but I also know that I live in PA, NOT, unfortunately Napa Valley, where it only rains when it is convenient for the residents and plants flourish there…so what do you do re: rain and furniture and pillows?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Dina. I attached a tarp to the back of the sectional with a staple gun. When it threatens to rain I just pull the tarp over the whole thing. Sectional, fire table, chair. I’ve missed cover it up a couple of times but it’s not a big deal. It dries out fairly quickly. ~ karen!

  39. Ardith says:

    This is an absolutely magical, serene backyard, Karen. Cheers, Ardith

  40. Maggie says:

    Agree with all the other readers – great job. Question – how high did you mount the string lights so they did not droop too low? How far is it from 1 side to the other – is it necessary to provide some sort of post in the middle to prop them up? We had a neighbor a few years ago that wanted us all to come over to help build a play set for her children. When she invited us all to an erection party we, of course, couldn’t get there fast enough!!

    • Karen says:

      Ha! Yeah, that sounds like a memorable party. 😉 I’m not sure how far the lights are strung. It doesn’t really make any difference. You just string them where you want them (and have buildings/trees to attach them to. There’s nothing propping them up in the middle. I’ve must made them high enough so the low point is high enough for someone around 6′ tall to walk under. ~ karen!

  41. Lohi Karhu says:

    Karen, nice photography! I make the not-so-outrageous presumption that you do your own…

    How/where did you learn photographic skills, and, more important, “vision”?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lohi! Funny you should mention the photos because this backyard was especially difficult to photograph. Photography is kind of like writing. You get better by doing it every day. I’ve taken a few 9 week photography courses at my local art school as well as a Photoshop course over the past few years. I also took a private lesson from a professional lifestyle photographer. But most importantly, like I said … I take photos every day. As far as vision goes, everyone gets their own style. It just sort of appears over time. 🙂 ~ karen!

  42. Mo says:

    Beautiful Karen. When are you having us over?

  43. Deb says:

    Karen,

    Backyard is gorgeous. Furniture insanely good.

    Off the subject question: what happened to your baby chicks? I ask because one of my birds recently hatched 6 (yay!) and I am waiting to see if they all turn out to be roosters. (Yes, I read your sexing post and it was very helpful, but I figured knowing whether they were males at one week wasn’t going to be of any use because what was I going to do, drown the adorable little things? So I figured I’d wait until the crowing started, at which point I would no longer be able to avoid the issue of what to do with them.) So far, I think two are probably roosters.

    Anyway, I’m wondering if yours are still around and laying or if you did something else –eek — with them. Also wondering what your plans are for the original girls when they stop laying. I have found that there is a guy in these parts (nameless, faceless, and really, what sort of person does this for a living) who travels around and picks up one’s old birds and hauls them off. Reportedly, he evens pays you a few bucks for each bird. Weird, but I am thinking it’s better than staging a mass slaughter which, farm girl that I aspire to be, I really haven’t the desire for.

    Perhaps you could post an update on the current bird population at your place one of these days?

    In the meantime, we had your bruschetta again last night and while no one wept exactly, there were a lot of sighs and very little conversation other than yummy noises. So thanks for that!

  44. jess says:

    WOOOOOW!! I have seen a lot of pictures of your backyard. And always enjoyed. But I am extra enjoying these nighttime shots!

    And thank you for saying it took 17 years. We are 7 years into our backyard. Gives me a good decade to catch up 😉

  45. Stephbo says:

    I have serious back yard envy. Ours could be nice, but the mosquitos make it pretty much unusable.

    And for the record, I would be quite content to help you build the pergola in exchange for pizza. You’d just need to give me a place to sleep and plenty of notice so I can book my flight. 😉

  46. karin sorensen says:

    Your backyard is out of this world. What a stunning, serene space you’ve created! I’m in continuous awe of you, you da bomb! But I must asked again, how do you get anything done? :0B I would simply sit quietly in your backyard for hours – no days and watch the light change, oooohing and aaaahing about the lighting at night and be content AF, ‘cuse my French.

    Amazing and such an inspiration you are.

    Karin

  47. Elen G says:

    Oh, the night shots. Magical.

  48. Patti says:

    I love, love, love it all, Karen! And I have a question!

    I noticed that in one photo it shows you have some succulents out on your patio. Do you bring those in every time it rains? I’ve made a centerpiece of succulents which I bring in nightly in the event of rain, but I was wondering whether you’ve found a variety which will happily live outdoors. Also, I saw you had a boston fern outside – same question goes for that!

    And lastly, where on earth did you find that amazing pot for your succulents, AND for your basil? I have been looking everywhere, but every pot I find which I really, really like turns out to have plastic succulents glued into it, and that makes me mad.

    It looks amazing! Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hey Patti! When I pull the tarp over my outdoor furniture when it’s going to rain the succulents get covered up! But they should be fine outside as long as they have really great drainage. And boston ferns LOVE it outside. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. They just need to be in the shade or at least only partial sun. ~ karen!

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