First off, thanks to everyone for their kind words over my feature in Country Living in March, what a hoot! It was a lot of fun getting to hear from you guys. Now then. Spring is on the way, pay no attention to the crazy temperature swings going on around here, from 80 one day to 45 the next, and just remember, soon enough it will be too damn hot to even think about sitting out on the back porch!
Last year Mrs. Hughes and I pulled off some pretty HUGE projects in the backyard. We built a 16 foot by 20 foot deck, that's big, with a pergola. We had a fence installed, we dug a 30 foot long flower bed, I put in a tiny little vegetable garden plot, built some custom planters, built an upcycled potting bench and planted 11 trees and about 20 bushes and then some. And, we did all of that in the middle of June. Here are a couple of pics of some upcycled items that we put back there, this may be a re-hash of an older post, but they are worth mentioning again.
I built two of these planters from left over wood from our deck project. These are big, about 4 feet tall and two feet square. We found giant begonias to plant in them last year, this year they are home to Kimberly ferns, if the 38 degree low tonight doesn't murder them. There is a little bit of upcycling going on here, the feet are old clawfoot bathtub lion feet. They were no fun to attach, I had to use a metal piercing drill bit and 4 screws each. We found the lion's head door knockers online for about $6 each. These were inspired by some planters Mrs. Hughes found in a magazine that were $1500 each. My version ran about $85 for the pair.
I'm really proud of how this one turned out. This is Mrs. Hughes' potting bench and it's made up of about 80% upcycled materials. The back of it is an old fireplace mantle I scored off of craigslist. The table surface is a piece of marble I believe, another craigslist find. And it just happened to fit right into the opening for the mantle. The front legs are porch posts that we picked up at Gaslamp Antiques in Nashville. The rest of the frame was cobbled together from left over wood from the deck build. This project was a little pricey, about $275, but well worth it.
These don't look like much now but you should see the transformation happening with them in the back yard! I spent last week digging a trench to lay down some pvc pipe to house an extension cord to run out to the corner of the yard, where this antique sink will become a fountain. The shield is off of a rowhouse in California that was being demolished. I built a wooden frame to hang the sink on, it looks like a wooden sign kind of, then I put it in the ground with cement. I added an antique faucet from France that I found in an antique store for $15 and retro fitted a pond water pump to it to turn it into a fountain. The water flows out of the faucet like it's always running. I will post another blog about this one and show some pictures of the finished project ASAP, if the weather holds out I will have this project completed this weekend.
Another craigslist find, have I mentioned I LOVE craigslist? I've even bought a car off of there. Anyway we wanted something other than your standard pavers found at the big box stores and these fit the bill. When I originally bought them at about 80 cents each I thought it was a bit high. We wound up getting about 500 over them total. I didn't realize then how far they would go. To date I have built a 10x4 landing off the front of our deck, a small 3x3 landing off of the side exit to the deck, and have edged all of the flower beds in our backyard, about 100 or so feet worth. And, I've STILL got 65 bricks left over. If I can figure out a way to make it safe, like a fence or something, I may use the left overs to create a small fire pit close to the fountain I am constructing. We are working on a whole little sitting area in the backyard. Love these bricks! Oh, forgot to say, these are about 100 years old and came from a street in Nashville. They were pulled up and pavement was put down, how dumb.
Well like I said this is a re-hash of an old post, but it's spring again! And this is a great lead in to my next post where you will get to see the continuation of our backyard projects including my tiny vegetable garden, the completed upcycled fountain, Mrs. Hughes' Peony "bed" and more! Just don't make fun of our "grass" or weeds rather. We are waiting until we have all of the projects done before getting some sod laid. After I am through back there there may only be a hundred square feet to put grass down on.
More soon, CJ