Well folks as promised, here is the completed patio. I’m sure I promised these pictures some time ago, but I hope by now you are familiar with the premise of the blog, painfully slow and under deliver at all opportunities.
The backyard has been a long time coming. We took the rotten deck down over the 2017 summer (it took us so long the City of Oakdale even noticed), paid someone to put in a patio in 2018, and finally got around to finishing the space in 2019.
I’d still like to add a small table up against the bench for a little alfresco dining. Now I don’t know if this is a point of confusion for anyone else, but alfresco – just means outside, not nude as Brett had supposed. Not sure if you can get a sense of how close the neighbors house is, and you might also notice they are up the hill from us. I mean I am totally on board with idea of elastic waistband pants for comfort while eating, but nude just takes it too far. So please, friends if we invite you for a patio dinner, do not be confused!
Not to toot our own horn, but the pergola turned out beautifully. When I was designing it I really loved the look of chunkier posts. These 6×6 cedar posts did the trick. I also really wanted a more clean line, modern looking pergola, versus the traditional pergola. Brett took a day off of work and his dad came down and spent a full day working on it. I was slightly worried at how things were progressing when at 1:00 in the afternoon they had only 4 posts in the ground. Now if you were to ask my father-in-law that was because some nimrod designed a pergola based off aesthetic and with zero thought to construction. There were some challenges to be sure. Nothing was square, he had some real beef about how the posts had to be the correct height and couldn’t just be lopped off. But, you know he loves you when he gripes and moans, all while doing it just how you wanted, while also worrying about tedious things like level, making things structurally sound, all the crap that I hate.
We were really stuck on how we were going to get the beams across the top stable. I actually found a picture on Instagram that had this kind of corner design and it ended up working out great. Now Brett and Dan might disagree because they had to lift these massive beams, up and down to make cuts with no real margin for error. They end up fitting in kind of like a puzzle piece and then they secured them with bolts from the top.
Brett and his dad put up the posts and the beams in a single day and then Brett and I finished the rest of it up over a couple weeks. We screwed in 2×4 from the top, spacing them 9 inches apart. We actually ordered these wingdings (knee brace might be the real term) from Amazon (is there anything you can’t get from there?). If you ever find yourself building a pergola and wondering on size, these are 3 inches wide. I originally thought we should get chunky ones to match the beams, but thank heavens we didn’t because it would have been a million more dollars and since nothing was square we had to cheat them quite a bit in a few spots.
We added 2 boards horizontally across the fence side to make it easier to weave the wisteria through. I don’t know why those vines bring me so much joy, but they do!
Hilariously, I think I said I was going to wait to take pictures until we had some grass. Well to be fair we do have some grass, it may only make up 10% of the weed field, but it used to be 0%, so there’s that. We debated doing sod and hydro seeding. We were sick of doing yard work and did not feel like ripping up the backyard. We did actually get 2 yards of compost that we spread back there, but lost pretty much all gusto after that. We loved the idea of hydro seeding, but no one would do a job with that little square feet. So then we decided to just buy a bag of seed and a timer for those hose and hope for the best. I will say though mowing makes a world of difference between weed jungle and subdued weed field. We were talking projects with one of Brett’s old friends and talking about how our backyard didn’t have any grass, he said if you are fancy enough to have a pergola, you don’t need grass. Guess it’s official then.
Here are a few of the pretty details. The wisteria of course and this cute little bell that Gideon managed to drop while pulling it out of the Target bag. This is a lesson best learned multiple times, I can’t have nice things. A little super glue did the trick of piecing it back together and I’m sure you can just feel the charm oozing from it now.
I got this little faux stump from Target which adds a little warmth to the black and white furniture. And Trader Joe’s for the win with peonies. I have never bought peonies before, but they are really lovely. I am hoping to add some peonies to the back at some point, but for now these do the trick.
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend flame next to plants, but I essentially wanted to make sure I had the wisteria in every picture I took.
The chairs are from Ikea and pretty lazy people friendly, because they even have a drain hole, so they require zero maintenance.
We got the little couch from Target and I love it thus far. We’ve never had anywhere to sit in the backyard before and I am really loving it. (That’s not entirely true, we were notorious for leaving our camping chairs out, they’d always have pooling water in the seat, which slowly decreased the structural integrity to the point where my 8 year old nephew managed to fall through it, butt first-thighs-to-face-style. So maybe I should qualify with the first time we have had safe seating in the backyard.) I’ve been making Levi read a book every day this summer and this is the perfect spot for it..
The shed on the other hands is a bit beat up and could use some love. Behind the couch it has some see through sections. Unlike those fancy new fridges where it is meant as a feature to be able to see what is inside, it is slightly less useful in a shed. I’m toying with painting it the same dark blue green as the kid’s fort, Salamander, but it seems a little silly if we don’t repair it. It also used to have power to it, but doesn’t currently.
And since I can’t just show you the pretty parts, here are the work in progress shots. I am hoping to add some peonies and other bushes this fall to line the retaining wall and go under that little wall. We have boxwood along the existing retaining wall which form a nice natural barrier. I planted a bunch of ground cover by the sunroom door. It is all supposed to spread and be able to handle light foot traffic. I’m going for a whimsical footpath.
I’ll leave you with a little magic in the form of twinkle lights.