Monday, March 4, 2013

Our New Patio

Our new house had a bit of an odd layout in the back yard...  Part of our backyard is a hill so it makes planning outdoor entertaining spaces a little tricky. The architecture of the house itself is contemporary and when I look at it, it sometimes reminds me of a roller coaster...  I'm sure I shouldn't find it pleasing to look at, but I weirdly love it.  I like that you can't quite figure it out and spend lots of time looking at it from the outside trying to figure out which part of the inside you're looking at.  We have a few unused "secret" spots in the house and I always imagine turning them into something cool. (Two of those spots are on the right and left of the main structure on the top floor...)

We have one main deck in the center of the back of the house that can be accessed through the sliding doors in our kitchen (on the right below) or through the sliding doors in our studio (on the left below.)  On either side you walk out onto a small little wooden deck and up a stepped deck to get to the main deck.

Our deck's in the shape of a trapezoid (yay! I learned something in 4th grade!! ;) ;) it's red, and it looks really awkward.  We've always felt like there's a dead spot to the right of the deck outside of the kitchen...  I knew as soon as I saw it that I wanted to extend the entertaining space somehow.  Our outdoor dining table sits on the red (for now) deck and I thought that if I extended the deck somehow to the right, that the new space could be for seating and grilling.

Here's the view from the kitchen sliders a few week ago:

Then I was contacted by Home Depot about joining in their "Style Challenge" where they gift bloggers patio furniture and have you take photos of your new furniture at home...

I was so excited about being gifted the furniture but the wind left my sails a bit when I remembered we didn't actually have a spot for it.  I envisioned a grassy patio furniture photo shoot and it didn't quite look so good.

...So I got in touch with my good friend, Mike Carr, (of CarrMichael Construction who's done our entire house) and asked for a slightly huge favor...  "Can you -pretty please- build a patio- in the dead of Winter.. Umm, right now??"  Mike came through, as usual, and the guys showed up!!

They began by removing my little red kitchen deck...

Then they created a two-tiered patio foundation of gravel and other important stuff that I didn't pay attention to:

So it went from this:

to this: a few days!!

I'm so excited!!!  

We've moved our grill just outside of the kitchen doors, which is going to be so convenient for meals. (When it gets warmer, we do almost all of our meat & nightly meals outside.)  The tiered patio works so nicely on the hill and now we'll have the perfect spot to sit.

Here's the Beverly sectional that Home Depot is (so kindly!!) giving us:

Our patio is now pretty massive so we've decided that we'll be buying six additional middle chairs to add to the sectional so that we can really take advantage of our space.  I just go into my kitchen now and stare at the flagstone because I'm just so happy with it.  When I fell in love with this house, it was because of the light and the indoor-outdoor feeling.  When you're inside, you feel like you're outside and now the patio is the perfect extension of the indoors to the outdoors.  I've already noticed too that my kitchen floors are staying a bit cleaner because when the dog & the boys come in from playing, there's a bigger buffer from grass/mud to kitchen floor.  

I'll be layering the sectional with pillows in some of my own fabrics and waiting for my hydrangea trees to come back to life.  

I've decided to surround the patio (except for the yard entrances) in ornamental grass around the patio and limelight hydrangea.   I fell in love with this image a year or so ago:

How gorgeous is that??!!  The grass has a sort of a modern edgy feel to me that I think works well with my crazy house and I love that "swishy" sound it makes when you walk by it or when the wind blows.  I think I might put a bunch of it in the front too.  I would do the hydrangea on the yard side and the grass on the patio side so it sort of spills over onto the flagstone.  I'm not sure when the garden stores are going to actually start selling what I need so I may have to wait a little later in the season for it.  The final "after" pictures for the Home Depot Style Challenge are due on March 29th, so keep your fingers crossed it that gets a little warmer so I don't have to do a "Winter Wonderland" theme ;) ;)


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