Welcome to the weekend in my backyard. Where I plan to sit.  And enjoy.  And relax.   I’m going to I’m going to I’m going to I’m going to.

O.K.  I think I typed that enough that I can’t take it back. No take backs on the relaxing pledge.  Only it’s kind of a lie because there’s a big project I have to finish in the backyard.  But once I do that on Saturday morning it’s going to be relax, relax, relax.

A few years ago I ditched the idea of using a patio umbrella in my backyard since it’s shady anyway and got the black table, chairs and bench you see from Ikea.  Not having the umbrella makes it feel much more like a real room.  That has bugs.  At least more bugs than the inside.


It’s the first long weekend of the summer in Canada and for the first time ever my backyard is cleaned up and ready to go.  Plants and everything.


I’m bored with it now, is it too early for snowpants?



Just kidding. I won’t get bored with the backyard until at least the second long weekend of the summer when I decide watering plants is for chumps and dedicate all my spare time to hoping they’ll die instead.

The fake wicker love seat on the left in the photo above is from Walmart and used to be brown.  I painted it the same way I painted my shed, with a sprayer.  The chairs were some kind of a deal at Costco a few years ago.  But what I’d REALLY like to do in this area is to create some built in furniture in the same conversational shape.



If you read my blog regularly you probably know I built a pizza oven because I live very far away from the nearest pizza place.  At least a block and a half.

Summertime hasn’t been the same since building it.  People come here. They flock to my backyard and they sit and relax and wait for pizza to come out of the oven so they can shove it in their mouth.  They get to relax while I get to sweat and slave over a hot oven making pizza.  It’s a win/win really.

If you’re thinking of building a pizza oven, you should get the Bible of books for such a thing, Build Your Own Earth Oven.  I used it and you should too.



But this year I’m vowing to do something I haven’t done before in my backyard.  No.  Not drink 14 cream sodas in a row. I’ve done that.

I’m going to relax.

See I’ve said it again so I really can’t go back on it now.


Hold up!  Where did you get those wire cloches, Karen???  Well, I got them at a discount store in town but I found similar ones in case you can’t live without them.  You  know, like you’ll cry an’ blubber and stuff.



Here’s a handy little tip in case you didn’t think of it.   Even if plastic furniture is clearly meant for inside, you can still use it outside.  Like these Panton S Chairs (copies because I can’t afford real Panton S chairs and even if I could I’d rather spend that money on a dancing troupe of Dachshunds who wear multicoloured tutus).  So, yeah.



(I’m not sure why the patio looks like it’s covered in a layer of dirt in the photo.  It doesn’t look like that in real life.  It’s all splotchy and stuff in real life, but at least it doesn’t look like it’s covered in dirt. )

I painted the potting shed black last year with my Wagner Spray gun.  It took all of an hour or so to do the whole thing 3 coats.

The three white balls you see have old Christmas lights in them so they glow at night.  Which is so stunning it’s enough to make me stop and stare every time I see them.  Which counts as relaxing.  You can read more about my spectacularly famous Glowing Outdoor Orbs here.

Most of the major things are done in the backyard, I just have a few things to get done.

Like what?  Like this …


That’s just for that one corner.  Ditto that kind of stuff for all the corners of the yard.

Except I can only do it if I also relax.  Because that is now the rule.  I wrote it in my notebook too so I’ve got it written down on paper.  Like The Bible.



I have a big rope hanging on my fence.  There is absolutely no reason for it other than the odd time I practice my lassoing technique on the ferns.  Just kidding.  I practice on the chickens.

The rug(s) at the pizza oven area are from a big box store. I can’t remember if they’re from Home Depot or Lowes or Rona but they’re available just about pretty much everywhere now.  I butted two of them up against each other to make a big rug instead of 2 smaller ones.



Someone who can’t relax in this backyard has something seriously wrong with them.  It’s not like my goal is to relax alllll summer. Just 10 minutes a day even. Or 5.  Or the length of your typical tween attention span.  Hardly anything at all really.   I can have my morning coffees outside for instance.  In the backyard, without my laptop or my iPhone.  No technology at all other than my iPad.



I know, right?  Weird plant.  It’s a Boston Fern.  Oh.  You meant the other one.  That’s a Chenille Plant.



Those are a bunch of forks and knives on some plates.  I put them there because you’re supposed to do that if you’re a blogger.  Pretend you’re constantly getting ready for some big party.




My smoker.  Because I smoke.  I even made bacon from scratch in it once.



This thing is for real, not just a blog prop.  I keep many pots of herbs that I use for my pizzas right by my pizza oven so they’re always ready to go when I’m making pizza.  I said pizza a lot in that sentence.  Pizza pizza pizza pizza pizza pizza pizza.  O.K. I’m done.




The plant on the left?  It’s baby tears.  The plant on the right?  Some type of succulent that I nearly but didn’t totally kill over the winter.


And finally my friend Buddha who may or may not help me relax.  I may stare at Buddha hoping to relax and then realize Buddha needs cleaning at which point a very non-relaxing rampage of some sort will ensue.  That’s how it all starts. With a dirty little Buddha.

It looks like relaxing is a huge goal for most of you who took my 2 question survey last week (thanks to the thousands who took the time!), so I’m not alone. We doers of stuff sometimes need to be forced to relax whether we want to or not because believe it or not relaxing is important.

Have a great long weekend my fellow Canadians, get your backyards cleaned up, fire up the BBQ and relaxxxxxxx.





  1. Elen G says:

    The backyard looks really good, Karen. I left town. That’s the only way I seem to relax. I got on a train and left. Forget grilling. G-Man says I’m never in the backyard unless I’m doing something. Hahahaha. If you sit down…………. the bugs bite. What’s a gal to do?

  2. Pam'a says:

    Karen dear,

    I want to share a secret about relaxing outside in the yard. Come closer and I’ll whisper it to you…

    It only works in somebody else’s yard.

  3. Kim says:

    I showed this to my husband Saturday morning of the long weekend and a plan was put into place to fix our own backyard. Our golden retriever’s love to dig up the grass in the yard and wallow in the dusty dirt was the inspiration to put our ugly yard to bed and wake up a new cottage feel. 35 bags of mulch, plants, baskets, pots , bags of dirt,grass seed, lawn lights,Ninja blender ;0) and help from two eager kids and their wagon later, we did it. Actually YOU did it. Thanks for the inspiration!-love your blog

    • Karen says:

      Kim! That is exactly the type of email I love to get. I absolutely LOVE when people use my sweat for inspiration to do stuff. It tickles me to no end that you redid your backyard. Honestly. Congratulations on all the work! And remember to make a point of enjoying it. :) ~ karen

  4. joanne says:

    Love your backyard. Where did you get the table that you can stack wood under?

  5. Sylvia Estey says:

    Great article and alway inspiring! I’m working on some little projects so I always check out your blog for ideas. Did you ever notice that your blog, when minimized at the top of iPhone screen says “theartof…”?? I love it!! You are tough and smart and inspiring and make me laugh! Thank you

  6. Jody says:

    Your photos were so serene I almost nodded off. But then I remembered all the plants I just bought.
    Have a great long weekend.

  7. Paula says:

    Hi Karen, I have a dacshund & she has a multicolored tutu/hula skirt. I put it on her for halloween. It cracks people up.

  8. Gail Dedrick says:

    I have been plotting and planning a way to separate our vintage travel trailer from the backyard and create some privacy for guests, and I am taking my cue from your fence. Both are great, but the horizontal one, specifically. To be continued …

  9. The succulent is called donkey ears – and I love them. But you have to resist the urge to touch them, or all those little thingies fall off!!!

  10. Heather J Tebbutt says:

    Just bought some seeds from Cubit’s…will be working on making a raised bed this weekend.
    Your backyard looks amazing, Karen…it inspired me to finally ‘tackle’ my own.
    Have a great, relaxing holiday to everyone…

  11. Heather (mtl) says:

    I feel chill just looking at your backyard. Love how the dark stone looks! My balconey is large (for a balconey, I’m told) at 18’x5′. I have 2x6ft privacy blinds and have my rocking chair, table and lots of little lights for the relaxing times. Some latin music (or guitar with Ottmar Liebert or Jesse Cook) is a terrific addition.
    Do you have any music playing while you’re out reading and resting?
    Tomorrow is open veg garden day – can’t wait to prepare the balconey on Sunday with pretty plants!

    • Karen says:

      I LOVE music in the backyard and am just looking into what the best outdoor speakers are actually. But I tend not to have music if I’m reading. Maybe some classical or muted jazz but that’s all. I have Ottmar Liebert’s Christmas music CD., lol! If you like that general vibe in music try Adanowsky. He’s a weirdo and he’s one of my absolute favourites. ~ karen!

  12. Angelique says:

    Ha, ha, ha, ha! Relax, your funny.

  13. Ann says:

    At our house we call the chenille plant a tampon plant….I know, but it’s how we roll. Great space!

  14. Benjamin says:

    The glowing orb project is how I first found you and my life has never been the same since. (in a good way sister). Buddha head is perfect a little shabby chic. Love all the wonderful areas and relaxing vibe happening out there. When do we get to see a video of you lassoing the chickens? LOL

    • Karen says:

      I was just kidding about lassoing the chickens. Lassoing chickens is for amateurs. I lasso flies. ~ karen!

      • Benjamin says:

        That’s a really big rope to lasso flies, lol. gotta be quick to rope them buggers.

  15. Julie says:

    Where did you get the giant orb from?

    Btw, you have the best backyard ever. It’s my favorite.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Julie! I’m getting more and more fond of it every year as I add more things. Like chickens and pizza ovens, lol. I found the giant plastic orb in the garbage on a walk one night. ~ karen!

  16. Kristy says:

    So are you relaxing yet? Doubt it. I have the same problem. I try to relax and find myself doing something productive before I know it. Sort of on autopilot like I don’t even know I’m doing it until suddenly I do. But seriously, your backyard looks amazeballs, and even if you don’t relax in it, just looking at it is somewhat relaxing so that counts?

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