Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Big Reveal!

WELL, PEEPS, I'M finally finally ready to reveal our big project of the summer (and fall). Before and after photos are always fun and I took a boatload of photos of this project. But, rather than bore you with a bazillion depictions of the same thing from a slightly varied angle, I'll keep to the highlights. 
1. This photo shows "The Final Straw." See that broken board?
Fortunately, I wasn't mortally wounded. 

2. This is the opposite side of the deck. That rug covers an earlier board fracture.
Rugs are great for helping us ignore things.

3. Our deck really is an "outdoor room." We are always out here and I'm afraid
this photo correctly depicts how very lived-in this space is. 

4. This is one of the escape routes. 

5. More rugs and boards covering a multitude of sins of the tripping kind. 

6. I always enjoyed these cute little steps, however my Rose de Rescht
had the unmannerly habit of sending up runners between the deck boards. 
WARNING: Next is a series of uncensored photographs showing the surgery in progress. You may want to keep a barf bag handy. (How did I survive this?)

7. If you scroll back to photo number 1, this is the same area with the final straw, that broken deck board.
That monstrosity in the background is a shelf tipped on its side. 

8. Pointing the camera slightly to the right, you can see the garden
bed that requires a total makeover. Actually, in this photo it's already half done.
The Joe Pye is cut back, the 'Polish Spirit' Clemmy and 'John Cabot' rose bush
are gone. Next up is the Persicaria 'Firetail.' Too big and unruly. 

9. My son Dan was a tremendous help with this project. One of his genius undertakings
was to create temporary supports for the deck roof.
Here you can see two of them precariously positioned.
On the right is the now cut back Rose de Rescht.
10. Horrors! One of the unforeseen tasks (aren't there always a few of those?) was to
redo this wonky gutter drain pipe. Dan to the rescue. Man I love that kid!
(Okay he's 30 but he'll always be my kid.) 

11. I took a lot of photos of this area because I not only dug out the Rose de Rescht,
I removed this hedge. This area looks totally different now as you'll see ahead.

12. Interestingly, below the deck boards we found a small cement pad,
the point of it escapes me. Fortunately we were able to leave it in place.

13. Just about the time I was going to commit myself to the psych ward, the gravel was delivered.
What a pain the back, and shoulders, and legs and every other muscle
in the human body this undertaking was!
14. Foolishly (and to save money) we told the contractor we'd haul and spread the gravel.
Fortunately the whole family (and Bryan) helped.
Unfortunately it was freaking 95 degrees. 

15. The pathway obscured a bit by that stupid board, is photo number 4 (above). 

16. Then the contractor came and put in the forms. There is a step down right here. 

17. The contractor then used his handy dandy thumper thingie to compact the gravel.

18. The next day, I arrived home from work to see this! 

19. And this! Photo number 6 (above) is how this used to look. 

20. Zip the cat had to break it in and make sure it was safe for his people. 

21. This is the new look. Photos 1 and 7 (above) show the befores of this spot. 

While the cement did its curing thing, I went to work on the former Rose de Rescht patch. (That rose had been in the ground over 10 years. Growing on its own roots, (not grafted) it really spread out. I saved a few roots and used herbicide on the rest. Sorry. 

22. The hedge is now gone. (Photo 11 above). Because the patio is raised about 6 inches above the ground,
I wanted to raise the soil level in this area. To hold the soil, I found large rocks from other
parts of the garden. I planted my 'Seiryu' Japanese maple. 

23. This is where the hedge was, (photo 11 above). I've still got a lot of planting to do
but it's coming along nicely. 

My youngest daughter Susan is very artistic. She convinced us to let her paint a faux flagstone motif on the cured cement. 

24. Susan's faux flagstones. My camera depicted the colors a little inaccurately but you get the idea.
The finely detailed edging of the "stones" is time-consuming for my college student
so she will be working on this as time permits.
And finally, photos I took this evening. We're finally settling in. 

25. No deck railing means the area is much more open. 

26. It's so nice to walk out here and not be assaulted by an unstable deck. 

27. The former jungle (photo number 8 above) is gone. I've got several pots here
now debating on where the plants should go.
So there you have it. I'm so glad the weather will be nice for a few more days so I can continue to enjoy the puttering process. So tell me what you think.


  1. That is so pretty! Plus the large size is so nice. I can't wait to see everything planted.

  2. I think it's amazing!
    I think the flagstone design is WONderful.
    I think I wish a person could snap their fingers and produce such a beautiful result.
    I think you've created a space to enjoy for years to come...

  3. Oh wow oh wow oh wow, Grace, that looks wonderful and so much more people friendly! Your kids did a fantastic job, I thought those were real flagstone. We all love a before and after and this one was a doozy. Even before, it looked like a cozy garden-y place to be. I would spend plenty of time there, but the after makes it even more so. Well done!

  4. What a wonderful new look! I love the faux stones too, they are great! You all will enjoy spending even more time out there now.

    Love and hugs to you ~ FlowerLady

  5. What a wonderful transformation...The concrete is perfect and your daughter's faux flagstone creation is fun! gail

  6. Oooo, oooo, wow, omg, amazing, awesome...it's fabulous Grace. Just gorgeous. Don't know how you managed to keep your sanity with all those plants being so close to disaster but you did and they look perfect! I love how it looks like stones were placed there 1 by 1, individually. What a cool concept. Perfect.

  7. Very nice and I know ya'll will enjoy it! Have a great week! Blessings

  8. Absolutely stunning! Your family and your contractor, and you, all did a smashing job! I love it, especially the flagstone pattern that your talented daughter did, that is just beautiful. It's such an improvement over the wooden deck. The new bed looks wonderful too. I had no idea that you had such a major project going on this summer. Well done!

  9. Wow, Grace...that's a huge transformation! I can't believe you kept it under wraps all summer! I do think it looks nice and fresh...and it must be such a relief to not worry about falling through rotten boards!

  10. Oh Grace, it's glorious! I love how comfortable, lived in, and full of interesting plants and objects your deck was before but I'm equally enamored with stable footing so beautifully painted. Your new bed is terrific! A covered deck would be such a treat especially on rainy days. To sit and watch the garden enjoying a little bath would be sweet! Love, love, love your projects!

  11. Holy crap, what an undertaking!!! You must be soooooo ecstatic to have it all done. It looks beautiful. And everything "crammed" back in just like nothing ever happened. :) The leaves changing in some of the pots are sooooo pretty. Gorgeous, gorgeous. All of it.

  12. Looks fantastic ! Must be so exciting to have a fresh space to work on !

  13. Two things especially impressed me about this project. 1) You kept your sense of humor through it all. 2) Your kids think enough of you to pitch in. Just reinforces what we already knew about you, Grace.

  14. When I started reading this post, I assumed you would rebuild the deck, but no... what a wonderful, long term solution to the issue! Your daughter is very talented and the "flagstone" edging makes all the difference to the effect. The new beds look wonderful, and I love how the cooler colors of the concrete contrast so nicely with your foliage. Isn't it lovely to have a project like that come out so well?!

  15. What an incredible difference! Since you spend so much time outside it's certainly worth making such a splendid improvement. The cobblestoning adds so much. I sympathize with getting rid of overgrown jungles, I have a few of those myself.

  16. Gracie girl this is fantastic !
    I love before and after pictures and seeing how this whole project evolved from the human eating wooden monster to the safe beautiful faux flagstone is quite a story to see in pictures.
    So many different plants, it is like a mini botanical garden there girl!
    Well done son & daughter ! & general helping hands and inspector Zip ! LOL
    I really like the wooden overhead too .. that would be great for our deck ! Thanks for the idea ? haha
    Joy : )

  17. That is one heck of a project, Grace! I think your daughter's paint job is very creative. Do post again once everything gets settled in. Will you put any rugs down on the cement?

  18. Oh, that all looks wonderful! Out last house had a very large deck and they are pretty darn high maintenance. It will be nice to not have to worry about falling through it! I love the job your daughter has done, and your new planting bed looks glorious. How difficult was it to get that maple out of the pot? I just did that by myself and it was hard!!

  19. Now that's a project! It's great that your family collaborated on the final product - it reinforces the area's purpose as a communal space.

  20. Great before and after pictures of a beautiful project that looks so inviting. Susan did a fantastic job painting the "faux" flagstones, they look so real no one would know they were not if you hadn't told them. I love the way you decorated it! Great job!

  21. It looks great, in fact, the whole garden looks great...salivating over all the growing plants! Oh how ready I am for our drought to end here in my part of Texas. It has been raining so maybe...anyway, I am looking forward to some pics of just how you decorate that beautiful porch.

  22. Grace, your outdoor room looked so comfy and inviting before, so I bet with the transformation it is even more so. The results of all that work done by you and your family are stunning and, well, let's just say WOW wonderful!

  23. Grace, I love your new outdoor terrace. It looks wonderful and the paintings on the floor are stunning, your daughter is talented.
    Have a nice time in new room!

  24. O-o-o-o-o-o-!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    What a project!
    What a difference! Dramatic!
    Grace, I love your new space! Wonderful!
    That maple should be happy now! Sorry for the hedge, it didn't look bad.
    I also loved the sleeping area in the Before pictures. Very inviting!
    And what's also important - the whole family participated!

  25. How beautiful is that! I can see years of enjoyment ahead.

  26. Amazing and beautiful transformation, Grace! Those projects always seem to go on and on, but when they are complete, it's a "wow, well worth the effort". Job exceptionally well done and especially with family participation. :)

  27. What a beautiful tranformaton

  28. I LOVE IT!! I love how homey your deck/garden/porch are. I'd be out there constantly, too. Smart move to add a concrete patio. So easy to maintain and they don't give you splinters. The faux flagstones are amazing!

  29. Wow, it looks fantastic! And your daughter did a wonderful job with the flagstone painting. Seems a little safer, too.

  30. wowee,wowee,wowee!!! Oh, Grace! You will so enjoy this area (again, and more)! Many hands... and it has paid off, hasn't it? YOU will continue to make it beautiful! :-)

  31. L.O.V.E. this! It looks so warm and inviting... I want to come sit there. Great job and kudos to your daughter.

  32. Well done and certainly worth the wait. You and your whole family will enjoy this space for many years to come. So much fun watching the progress - can only imagine hauling all that stone in that hot weather. You deserve a double gold star.

  33. Grace I love the new patio and the painting to make the flagstones...just gorgeous.


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