Late spring, the entire summer and early fall saw the renovation of our backyard. The project was designed as a whole, but the actual process took place in stages. I showed you the first stage in Part 1 and now I'm excited to share the next stages with you!
Although the entire backyard was a construction zone throughout the summer, thankfully we were able to use the deck fairly quickly. Since we sheltered at home, the deck offered a welcome area to spend the time outdoors and watch progress on the other areas. The photos below were taken the second week of October.
We'll start where we left off in Part 1 — the bridge that crosses the upper stream. The stream begins with a waterfall that's visible through the bridge's guard rails. The flagstones lead from the upper patio to the bridge and resume on the other side. . .
where you'll find a colorful bench just above another waterfall. Several small boulders define the stream's curve and provide additional interest.
The view from the bench takes in the new middle patio, the deck and one of the two original stone walls. When we first built the house I had attempted a perennial garden in this space. But the combination of encroaching shade from the trees and the heat radiating off the house in the summer was too much for even the hardiest of the flowers I planted. After about nine years, we replaced the struggling perennial garden with a large koi pond that had pretty water lilies and papyrus. Ten years later the shade from the oaks and hickories was too much for the water plants.
These chairs are perfectly placed to see and hear the waterfalls! The chairs on the patio are not new; we purchased them last year for Miss J's graduation. The elephant table we've had for about ten years used to sit on the deck. The tips of its tusks are a bit worse for wear after several run-ins with our boisterous 90-lb Labrador retrievers!
I really love the design on the back of the teak chairs. Several pots of summer annuals have moved to the middle patio, which is the smallest of the three.
A few stone steps and you've reached the lower patio. Four comfortable teak chairs surround a metal table that converts to a fire pit. After seven years the furniture is in excellent shape, only requiring a good cleaning each spring. In the renovation we expanded the size of this patio as well as setting it on a concrete base. (No more weeding the patios for me, lol!)
In the background are the French doors you've seen framing many a tablescape in the garden room, such as Acorns and Flowers and Dreaming of Paris. What I forgot to take a photo of is the pretty bar cart that sits to the left of the doors.
New to the backyard are the pergola and swing. They replaced the wooden play set that my daughter had since she was a toddler. The individual swings were long gone, their place taken by a wooden swing. Why did we still have the play set? Though it had been useful for hanging a swing that could accommodate two or more, the real reason we had kept it was that our older lab loved to climb the gangplank and hang out in the shade of the fort, then exit by sliding down the slide!!
You may have noticed some of the landscape lighting we had installed (the conical shades on short posts). They illuminate the pond and borders of the patios and enhance the safety of the walkways.
The pergola was built of cedar. The seat of the new swing is curved and the back is very supportive. I love relaxing on it!
The pergola and swing face the new koi pond. It's much deeper than the one we had before, which should help the koi and goldfish avoid the herons that come to visit. We've placed a few plants on a submerged ledge in the pond, which are not only attractive but provide hiding spaces for the fish.
One of the interesting things we've discovered is that our backyard actually appears larger than it did before.
We are quite happy with our new spaces and spent a lot of time out here in the fall. Greg has held numerous conference calls from the lower patio!
And Jake loves to move between the cool stone on the lower patios and the warmth of the sun in the grass above the upper patio!
I am happily perusing garden catalogs for perennials, ground covers and shrubs to plant!
Thanks for joining me! I'll post updates in the spring when I've added landscaping.