Moving into a new home is always challenging as there are changes that need to happen to make the new space your own.  Some improvements may be small and some on the larger side. My husband and I moved into a new house two years ago and felt that the home needed some tender loving care.

So we have been very busy changing wall colors, replacing some appliances and inserting new hardware on some of the interior doors. The biggest task for us though is the backyard. We live in an area that has a longer growing season and enjoy having an extended living space outside. The backyard was complete and did have an extended living space, however, it did not suit our needs and felt disjointed from the flow of the home. We put our heads together and decided on a plan of action. Some tools we used for visualization were to draw out our backyard to scale (I am extremely lucky as my husband loves drafting and is very articulate on his designs), also we did a lot of ‘window shopping’ (we love to walk and would check out what we liked and didn’t like  in the area of the homes we were walking), and the final tool was to find someone who would be able to help us with the heavy lifting. Here is the before picture.

As you can see there is a step down from the patio door and is off centre to the door. Now my husband is 6’4″, so you can imagine where his sight line was looking out the patio doors. Not exactly ideal.

The hardest part for us was the fact that we wanted to be able to walk straight out the patio doors without having to step down onto the patio. And that meant finding a landscaper to work with in building up the patio. This was a tough go due to the cost of having this kind of labour done. However, we are no stranger to hard work and within a 9 week period we were able to accomplish what we had set out to do.

Below are the pictures during the transition of building the patio up the 18″  to the patio doors. A retaining wall was required. This project was a labour of love and not for the faint of heart as it is very dusty and time consuming.

That being said, I have a very firm belief that one really needs to know and love their home. What I mean is, know the color of paint underneath the previous color, find the imperfections in the far off corner where no one ever looks, and know whether your baseboards are primed or painted. When we get into all the nooks and crannies of our homes, then we truly begin to know and understand things about our homes that no one else would know.

That doesn’t mean one should start by using a sledge hammer to the nearest wall. Please ensure that you do your homework before you start any renovation project and get the proper systems, permits, and  the right people in place to prevent serious damage to your property. Start small.

Check  your crown moulding, is it primed or painted? Does it require a second coat of paint? Please understand that just like all relationships, getting to know your home takes time. Give it love. I started with wiping down corners and lights and having a close look at what it was I was wiping down. This does two things; it provides you with a look into how the wiring is in your home as well as gives  you insight on those baseboards, to paint or not to paint. Love your home. Give it the attention it deserves. It protects us from the elements and keeps us safe from harm. But just like relationships, if you don’t look after it, you can’t expect it to look after you.

Okay so back to our backyard vision, the finished product was exactly what we were hoping for. My husband no longer has to duck to avoid the gazebo coming our of the house and the leg of the gazebo is no longer lined up with the middle of our patio doors. Job well done. Upon the patio completion we also put effort into beautifying the other areas of our yard as well. I have attached the pictures below for your viewing pleasure.

Before.                                                                                                                           After.

Finishing up the shed area. We decided to remove the grass as this area is always very wet from drainage and the grass tends to get very sponge-like and mossy.

We chose to use Birch bark nuggets to fill the area. OMG! Love the smell. I know it won’t last forever, but right now every time it rains it leaves our backyard smelling fabulous!

You know the saying ‘too much of a good thing, could be bad’? Well, we had to remove a couple of trees due to disease. But on the plus side, we were able to revive smaller trees that were struggling to live as there were too many planted so close together. We moved a couple and then transplanted some of the perrenials so the yard is really starting to take shape.

My husband loves his lawn and is madly trying to revive the life of it as well which is why there are black patches of dirt.  He has added the black earth and seed to not only increase the grass growth but as well to level out any sunk-in spots left from the renovation, creating more of an even surface. 

We even have enough space for me to grow our annual vegetable garden in the corner. This corner too receives a lot of moisture and I can’t wait for the green to start to show!

As you can see, all you need is a vision and lots of love. Our homes are our castles, why not make them beautiful.