Deckscaping… outside is just another room in the house

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You know, I will confess something, and I won’t even be secretive about it. There is something I REALLY miss about my last house. Well, two things. One is I miss the old neighbors.  My biggest regret is I didn’t get to know them sooner, as I always enjoyed our “over the fence” chats about gardening, and I miss looking at their garden. It kept me going.

There’s something else I miss though. I miss my old deck. It was a plain ol’ rectangular sort of affair, but it had a large footprint, walls for privacy, and some pergolas on both sides which provided some shade and a cozy sense of being enclosed. We covered it with lights, and we sat outside in the evenings and drank wine, listened to the town noise, and chatted away.  I hung up a Hammock swing, and I could sit outside and plink away idly on a kalimba or ukulele.

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…okay, that’s enough reminiscing. Let’s face it, that old house’s kitchen was way too small. I had to dig up these old memories to sort of inspire myself.

 

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How it was about a week ago…

This house has a more complex deck, and maybe that is where we struggled. It has two, actually. One is on the back of the house, and it is large enough that we got a gazebo last year due to the insufferable amount of mosquitoes. We also put our bistro set here, which pretty much takes up the bulk of it. And I did not use the bistro set ONCE. It was too hard to sit here and eat while swatting at flies and mosquitoes. It was also just too hot to eat dinner, as this is the southern side of the house. Not pictured, there’s a long run along the side that steps down, and leads to the front of the house. The Canoe lives there for now.

The 2nd deck is the front of the house, and then wraps around and runs along the picture window (below it is our rock garden and bird city). Not much was here except my Hibiscus. The Deck then ends with a raised platform that is covered with a roof. The door to the kitchen is on this deck, and this is also where the BBQ grilling happens. But it’s all just not quite cozy or functional enough. So this week, I decided I would really change up the look so it gives a “wow, I want to be out here for the month of july!” feeling.

Now, I’m not a room designer. I just watch Marilyn Dennis. And what I learned is that I am getting on the right track, but I am missing a few key elements to cement it all together. Like putting things where you will use them and enjoy them.

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I have pots of basil everywhere. I feel like I could whip up a pesto at any time.

So I started with really scrubbing down the bistro set so it looked clean enough to actually eat on (but it sure beats being peppered with caterpillar poop in the last house). This year, I had to wipe a pile of yellowy pollen grime that overtook probably the whole province. But look now! I finally got it in place.

20160626_202328.jpgI tried it out after setting the table up. Aside from the umbrella causing me to need to shuffle the table further from the house (but also a necessity if you’re on this side before the sun passes over), it feels really nice to sit here. I could sit there and watch the chipmunk rob the bird feeder and pick away at my new lavender hedge. And you know, when he wasn’t doing that, he would sit on a rock in the rock garden and chirp INCESSANTLY. Of the two rodents that visit, I definitely find the squirrels to be less obtrusive and jerkish.

20160626_202237.jpgI also planted a tomato in a giant tomato tub (from Canadian Tire) which was WAY bigger than I think it needed to be. But hey, by the time I’m done planting things around the deck, there should be a planter at any given deck, there for you to pick at and have a snack. Someone told me about having a planter by the bbq so the cook can snack on them while grilling. I thought this seemed so ideal and fun I had to do it. I also still have a surplus of tomato plants from my roadside sale and I’m thinking it’s time to pull them and plant them instead of composting them.

20160626_202203.jpgAnd now, on the back deck, with the empty space made by the missing table, I shuffled my Heliotrope in the corner, and added a railing planter with some extra Hibiscus trionium and Petunias. (And the lesson I learned here is I need to pump them with more fertilizer as they grow so they don’t look so hungry in a cell pack). Right now, I like the space. I can put my laundry basket here, a chair maybe. When it comes time to have guests, there is room for chairs that the table took up, a place for people to stand and socialize, or just a place where the dog willingly chooses to lay and cook herself in the sun. Sometimes (in my perverse opinion) a little space feels good.

The only thing left to do, I suppose, is to hang up some lights, put some off! Lanterns out and set up the music. I’m waiting for some impatiens to show up in garden centers so I can put something colorful and living in the gazebo.

I like it here already. I just have to remind myself that the planting launchpad is not here anymore, it’s at the greenhouse. Breaking old habits can be tough when you’re busy!

That’s it for the week. Hopefully you readers have also found your deck amid the plants in queue for garden. I’m still not quite there yet but small improvements made a huge impact on the overall feel of it. It’s still a little messy, but who has time to pick things up around the deck when there’s fresh weeds glaring at you and a hedge to plant? And if you don’t have any idea where to begin when creating an outdoor space on your deck, ask yourself:

What do I hate out here? (get rid of it or move it)
What would make me want to be out here? (water feature? A comfy chair? An offset umbrella to take the sun off?)
What do I want to do when I’m out here? (Read? Drink coffee before/after work? Sit n text? Take naps? Write blog posts? 😉 )

Now if I could only find time to sit down and enjoy it. Maybe in July. Hey, that’s coming right up! The break is near!

 

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