Saturday, July 19, 2014

designing a backyard shed

This is what we are up to right now.

Designing and building a shed... or two.

So that we stay within the size restrictions of city by-laws regarding sheds, John came up with this creative solution.

At first I had trouble envisioning two sheds in the backyard. In fact, I think my initial reaction was a face cringe. But then I began to see the potential and picture how the design could actually work well and still be visually appealing.

The space in between the sheds is what I am most excited about. I'm envisioning a little nook, shady with a stone and moss covered pathway. At the back of the nook will be a big, rustic wood bench that can serve as a potting table or a spot to use when we are entertaining outdoors. Behind the table will be the original vintage square lattice that I may paint out dark. Add some hooks and it can be used to store tools or get creative and it can be the backdrop for a little garden vignette.

The design is quite modern to fit in with the new addition at the back of the house. The addition is clad in Hardie board so we will recreate that same look using wood siding painted out in Benjamin Moore's Wrought Iron.

I love the idea of stringing twinkling patio lights in between the sheds if the light fixture idea doesn't work out.

What do you think?

You can check out my backyard inspiration board on Pinterest here. The outdoor light option I showed is from Pottery Barn.

Stay tuned for more updates on this project :)

Monday, July 7, 2014

the lawn debate...

We are lucky to have a shady, green urban backyard. It's not huge, but it's cozy and lush with three large oak trees and a towering pine. Because it is a shade garden we stick to hydrangeas, hosta and ferns. I actually love the lushness of a green shady garden.


One problem we have had is with grass. It is very difficult to maintain a lawn in a yard with thirsty trees, lots of shade and urban critters like squirrels and raccoons digging away. 

There has been an ongoing debate in our house about what to do with our "lawn" which is more dirt than grass. John would love to install maintenance free faux grass {insert GASP here}. I would not. You either love the idea or you don't. I'm sorry, I just can't get past the idea of plastic grass. If grass is not meant to grow there then find something that can. So that's what I vowed to do and I did. 

Enter Clover. Your new best friend. It's green. It's soft to walk on. It's pretty. It can withstand traffic and bouts of dryness. It grows fast! I'm so excited. Who knew I'd be so excited by this?

This is our "lawn" with the new clover growing. 

Because it's a seed, we do need to add more to fill in some spaces but it's coming along quite nicely. The great thing is that when a squirrel digs away at it you can just sprinkle more seed and voila! approximately 7 days later you have green.

Clover is much more environmentally friendly than grass because it needs less water. Once it's established you (apparently) don't need to water it as much. I also learned that clover, especially red clover, is great for bee's. With declining bee populations adding a little clover seed to your lawn could help the bee's a little.

So there you go. That's my green thumb advice for your lawn. Wish me (and the clover) luck. I hope it lives up to it's reputation. I'll let you know later this summer how it's doing and whether I'm still winning the debate(wink).

PS. I bought a bag of seeds for $10 at Plant World, my local garden centre. 

Here are a few links with information on establishing clover and other lawn alternatives.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Canadian Pride {the best in Canadian Design}

Canada celebrates it's birthday Tuesday so I thought I would highlight some of my favourite Canadian artists and designers. After all, this country is overflowing with design talent. So limiting myself to four is no easy task but these are artists whose design aesthetic I admire and would love to have in my home. 

You can visit them here:

How could I not highlight Canadian design talent without mentioning these fabulous magazines...

and... of course there are the fabulous mainstream Canadian shelter magazines which I must shout out. They are my Canadian print magazine mainstays. 

Canadian House and Home, Style at Home Magazine and Chatelaine Magazine which has an amazing home decor section edited by Emma Reddington of The Marion House Book.

Cheers to Canadian design!


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