Other backyard stuff

When we moved into a smaller home and I stepped out of the photography business, it made less sense for me to have a personal computer. I have a laptop for work and an iPad for most other computing needs (mostly online shopping).  But the change meant that sorting and editing photos became much harder, requiring me to snag Aaron’s computer, which he uses a LOT. Blogging started waning (as you know) and now the backend of the blog is throwing errors when I try to add photos. So, I’m bringing you a very unseasonable post because it was the most complete of the saved drafts. Apologies to anyone experiencing a true winter. The fantastic weather is a hallmark of SoCal and a big draw when we moved and chose those house. We’ve made steady progress revamping the backyard into our ideal oasis, including a stunning outdoor dining area and kitchen. This collection of projects rounds out this stage of the backyard makeover. The circular outcropping of patio has had multiple lives. Originally conceived as a dining space, we promptly removed the built in table and transitioned this to a fire pit spot when we moved in. When the fire pit moved to sit by the custom benches built into the new dining area, we planned to deck this section and install an herb garden. This solution posed a problem because circles are hard to deck and even harder to cap with a face plate. We ended up deciding that paying to have that section demoed was a better plan. We boxed out the herb garden with corten edging, filled with mulch. We snagged some square CB2 planters in varying heights. We ran irrigation through the bottom of the pots. The larger pots have a base layer of styrofoam (repurposed wine shippers) and gravel to add weight. This helps keep them steady and was more economical than filling them completely with potting soil. I ended up with 10 pots and chose different herbs for each. Many have survived several seasons: sage, chives, thyme, oregano, mint and tarragon. The parsley and basil last one season. The dill died pretty quickly. Last year my neighbor gave me a tomato plant that grew well, but produced subpar fruit. The Midwest wins for humidity and therefore better tomatoes. SoCal wins for just about everything else though. So we’ll stay. I’m pretty obsessed with this garden. I love being able to trim fresh herbs nearly year round. Tarragon has been my favorite addition to my kitchen. Chives are a close second, especially in the height of summer when they are prolific. With that done, Aaron finished decking the rest of the patio. Gratuitous dog photo, but also look at the gorgeous deck!

The last upgrade was a built-in watering bowl for Hank. We love having his water outside because jowls = drool. Aaron repurposed a bar sink, built a custom drain mechanism and an ipe cabinet to house everything. Now it’s easy to drain and refill his bowl. The ipe backsplash keeps the over spray off the house.

Hank’s favorite part is drinking straight from the faucet.

Here’s the best before/after pair I could find. The before is a serious throwback – from the listing for the house.

It’s SO nice to have the deck complete! And this photo shows you how well the herbs grow in the summer.

4 comments
  1. I am so jeal of your entire life!

  2. My current favorite is lemon thyme – I lay greased turkey tenderloins on top of several sprigs and sprinkle the leaves from several more sprigs over the top before roasting. Easy dinner with impressive flavor.

    Fresh herbs in the winter is a luxury I really appreciate!

  3. WOW you are so creative xoxo

  4. It looks amazing!

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