| |

An Outdoor Series: Our Yard “Before” Pics and Spring Plans

I am sharing all my plans for our yard, plus all the before pictures.

Good morning, friends!

It’s been a busy week, despite, or maybe because of, the Easter long weekend. With the organizing challenge nearing to an end, we have a few tweaks and projects that we are finishing up, including donating or selling all of the STUFF that we purged that has turned our garage into a disaster zone. We’ve made lots of progress and I hope to have it all gone from our home by the end of the month. I think getting rid of the items you purge is sometimes as much work as the purging. It definitely teaches me to think twice before I buy as I don’t want to end up back where we were! Remember: only bring in things that you really love…

Our Yard

So with the challenge wrapping up I definitely have some tweaks and organizing tips I plan to share each week or two; but I also want to share a new upcoming HUGE project with you all! We are completely tackling our yard, deck, siding, and lawns this spring. Eek!

This whole outdoor project has been a long time coming. And a long time saving-for. We have a fantastic carpenter who is insanely skilled and a super fast worker who is doing many projects for us, and we have a few things we are going to do ourselves.

Have you ever seen the outside of our house? Here she is…

A house perched above a lake.

I guess I could have at least closed my garage door for you when I took this shot?? Now you can see we haven’t quite tackled the garage organization – at least not completely. In fact, I have a big garage makeover planned for soon.

As far as our exterior, the plan is to replace our siding this year with a combination of shingle and planks. I’ll be sharing more details on that project soon; including some beautiful house exterior inspiration!

In the front of our yard, we have a pretty garden and river rock bed that we landscaped a few years ago; it just needs some cleaning up for spring and some new soil and mulch… I can’t wait to see all the plants green out again. It’s full of my favourite butterfly garden perennials! We are also hoping to install a split rail fence along the side and front of our yard; I love the casual rustic style of them.

A small rock garden.

Down the side of our house there has been some recent action. Last fall, we had some concrete installed as a sidewalk to the lake, as well as a concrete pad which we plan to put our hot tub and hopefully a pergola on. We hope to landscape this whole area and get a hot tub and sitting area in place.

You may also notice the random ladder and raw wood attached to the deck?!? Well, we didn’t have stairs going off our deck before, so now that it’s time to replace the surface of our deck it’s also the perfect time to add ins some stairs, amIright??!

A slab of concrete beside the house.

Here is a quick side shot of our house and (dirty) siding that we will be replacing… I think changing up the types of siding on the peak will be a nice accent.

This is the first garden bed that needs some serious landscaping. This whole slope used to be grass, and we had this new rock wall built when we had the concrete sidewalks and concrete slab patio laid last fall.

Large boulder rocks beside the house.

On the other side we are lucky to have a nice break of woods between us and the neighbour, so we just want to add some Cedar, Ferns, Salal and other naturalized plants that fit in with our area…

The slab of concrete.

Right below the cement pad where the hot tub will go is this little triangle left by the creation of the sidewalks. Originally we thought about doing a garden in here, but then I realized it was the perfect place for a fire pit! You can see the remnants of an impromptu fire we had with our extended family on Easter Sunday afternoon. I can’t wait to use this space in the spring and summer. I’m thinking pea gravel and a series of painted Muskoka/Adirondack chairs. What do you think?!

Blue Adirondack chairs in the back yard.

This is the view up towards the road from our lower lawn… again you can see the construction has begun! Our carpenter was here over the Easter weekend starting on the deck and siding.. he already has the siding removed from the bottom half of the house. I can’t wait to see the new stuff!

The blue chairs around a fire pit.

A hot tub in the back yard.

And then we come to… the lawn.

When we had all the work done last fall we also had a truckload of soil brought in to fix up our lakeside lawn; we then reseeded and fertilized and got it growing just in time for the worst winter we’ve had in years to hit. So it’s looking pretty rough. But we have a plan; and I’ll be sharing all the details on that soon!

Growing grass in the yard.

We also have to fix up the corners near the lake where the extra high water washed out our garden. Eek! We’ve never had water so high in all the years we’ve lived here!

The roughed in back patio area.

Finally, the deck.

The surface was in very bad shape so we are ripping it up , putting on new plywood, and then having it re-surfaced along with new hand railings. I can’t wait to see this area with glass railings!

A view of the calm lake from the upper patio.

A look at the cracks in the patio.

Water on the back patio.

So, a lot of unattractive before pictures today; but that’s reality, right? Over the next few months I’m going to be sharing all kinds of DIYs and afters with you.

I can’t wait to see how it all turns out!

Do you have any outdoor projects on the go this spring season?


signature and quote





Similar Posts


  1. Hi Krista, you two have already put in a lot of great ideas and work into your exterior, so congratulations are in order. It all looks good to me, and I like your pea gravel idea for the triangular fire pit area. I would love to have a pea gravel area in our backyard, but three outdoor cats means it’s likely to stay a dream.

    On our exterior wish list includes painting, new gutters, and a dining room window (which would face the backyard). I also have my mind set on creating a cobblestone extension of the patio that would also wrap around the rest of the back of the house. I just have to find a way to build a fund to make it happen.

    Kudos on what you have already accomplished since last fall with your exterior improvements. I’m looking forward to seeing updates as they come. Cheers, Ardith

  2. I loved this post Krista!!! It is so nice to see the outside of your house. You are doing a lot. We have done things to the yard, added a hot tub and new fire pit, but have not done anything to update the exterior of the house yet. I am still in the dreaming stage and looking at it with new ideas I get. I find myself saying to Ed…
    What if we did…? But no real plans yet.

    Looking forward to following your progress. I can’t wait to see the results. 🙂

    1. Hi Diane,
      I know what you mean; but all that “dreaming” and chatting about changes is kind of fun, right?! Aaron and I talked and talked about these yard and exterior changes for years (in fact, I can hardly believe this is our seventh summer in this house!). The first focus is always the inside, but now that it’s pretty much finished, we can focus our energy and savings outdoors. It sounds like you guys have made some lovely changes already! I can wait to get our fire pit area setup!

  3. Thanks for this post – it makes all my before projects feel normal – ha! I can’t wait to see more. Just found your blog and I’m so glad I’m here!

    1. Hi Kristen! It always starts somewhere, right?! Thanks for your comment, and glad you’re here, too!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.