Author: Grace

It has been really fun getting to show you all our garden we have been working on for so long.  (see article on here) It has been quite the journey these last three years, and in case you missed it, you can see all of the before pictures and read the background story in this article.

Today I thought I would talk more about the details of our garden makeover.  Keep in mind that this is where we started...

[caption id="attachment_9071" align="aligncenter" width="640"]November 2013 November 2013[/caption] And here we are now!

garden makeover

For this garden space, I really wanted a "put together organically over time" feel.  Our house was built in the early 1920's, and back in the day, this area was supposedly a beautiful rose garden.  What I really love about design is bringing life to a space, breathing art and color and texture to it.  It is so gratifying to turn something not so great into something beautiful.

Once we got the pavers set in the center of the garden (we used these 18x18 pavers from Home Depot), I was immediately imagining what I wanted the dining set to look like.

dining set outdoor

garden makeover

Well hello!  I have a big garden reveal coming up in the next couple of weeks, but I thought it might be helpful to show you where we started, and what has transpired over the last nearly three years since we started this project! I think people are afraid of gardening because they are 1. worried they are going to kill things, or 2. they think they have a black thumb, or 3. it just seems like a lot of work.  Well, the answer to number 1 is "you will", my response to number 2 is "it's all a learning process", and number 3...well, it can be.  If you go into it with the mindset of "this is a trial and error process", I think you will be much better off.  But just like with most things, a good plan is a great place to start. When we moved into our house, we loved this space (pictured below) for a future garden, but before we could get started, we needed to do other things to the house like put on a roof and have working bathrooms, haha.  This is the earliest photo I could find of the proposed garden - it is from July 2012.  You can see the chainlink fence butts into the tall wood fence.  (which was not aesthetically pleasing)  You can also see lots and lots of weeds. [caption id="attachment_9075" align="aligncenter" width="640"]before garden makeover July 2012[/caption] It really is a shame it was in such bad shape, especially after we heard that in the 1920's and 30's, this space was a lovely rose garden that people would stop by and see.  Apparently, it had quite the reputation!  The previous owners of our home used the area as a dog yard of sorts, so it looked like...a dog yard. If you have been following this site for a long time (as in since the beginning), you may remember me talking about the space as my "Dream Project". [caption id="attachment_9073" align="aligncenter" width="640"]garden before July 2012[/caption]

We tossed around some different ideas and plans and finally began the work in November of 2013.  The first order of business was to remove the chainlink fence and replace it with a fence of matching height.  Since the wood looked different (old vs. new), we decided to paint it all charcoal grey.  I thought painting the wood coupled with plants would help hide the difference in the two fences.  The ground was also tilled, the ancient laundry pole removed, and all the weeds were taken out.

[caption id="attachment_9071" align="aligncenter" width="640"]November 2013 November 2013[/caption]

This area had a non-functional sprinkler system most likely installed in the 1940's so that was all removed, and a new sprinkler system was installed. (we used drip irrigation in the outlying beds and sprinkler heads in the raised beds - drip irrigation saves water and is more cost effective!)  The plan was to create two large raised beds and a patio space for a dining table and chairs.

[caption id="attachment_9070" align="aligncenter" width="640"]November 2013 November 2013[/caption] In the next photo, you can see on the right a cost effective solution (much cheaper than wood fencing) for hiding the air conditioner, sprinkler box, and other outdoor items we need to store.  We bought those old gates at my favorite local salvage store/yard, and after support was added, they provided a very nice screen for unsightly items. [caption id="attachment_9069" align="aligncenter" width="640"]November 2013 November 2013[/caption] The gates even came painted the same color as our fence!  It was uncanny how perfectly the color matched!

fence and gate color match

I feel like I need to take a moment here and thank Robbie Young from Mansfield Landscape & Sprinkler for all of his hard work on this space.  Many of these jobs that were the basic foundation of the space were out of my husband and I's realm of expertise, and he was so diligent and easy to work with.  Highly recommend, thanks Robbie!

Shortly after we finished the garden space, and had a few plants in the ground, we got a crazy Texas ice and snow storm.  It was kind of a bummer because we ended up losing a lot of plants.  (we are not used to that kind of weather here)

[caption id="attachment_9077" align="aligncenter" width="640"] December 2013[/caption] But by January 2014, things had perked up a bit.  The garden was still pretty bare bones, but it was still winter time, and we knew we would get more plants in the ground in the spring. [caption id="attachment_9066" align="aligncenter" width="640"]January 2014 January 2014[/caption] [caption id="attachment_9064" align="aligncenter" width="640"]January 2014 January 2014[/caption] In April of 2014, we got right to work.  Last year was our first real garden experience in this house.  It was a ton of work planting and planning and researching, but it was fun, too.  We involved the kids in the raised beds planting, and they really enjoyed it.  (my husband, my dad, the green thumb of the family, and myself planted most of the plants in the main beds)

diy gold leafed shelves

Hello hello!

I've taken a bit of a break this last month from blogging.  Unplanned.  Just with client work, and family, and flu season, and holidays, etc., the blog has gotten pushed to the side for a time.  I do appreciate your emails and messages, and I do try to respond to all of them, though I am not quite caught up yet.  So thanks for being here, I'm excited to show you what I have been working on.

I have written about my Guest Room/Office Makeover a couple of times - the first post talked about how the color palette and trim was inspired, and the second post was how the paint and trim came to be, quite a feat! But my beautiful new space would not be what it is without my dear friend, Jen.  You may know her from her really great blog, IHeartOrganizing, or her shop where she sells her practical and pretty products to help make your life more orderly. jen and grace We met at the BHG Stylemaker Event the year before last and hit it off.  It was funny too because after reading her blog all of this time, I had thought before that "we could be friends".  This past year at BHG Stylemakers, we were roommates and stayed a couple of days extra to pal around together.  It was so fun and truly one of my most enjoyable trips to NYC ever.

I had told her before about this cough, rather hoarder looking "storage room" of mine (basically the "receiver" of projects around our house - i.e. "the bathroom is getting redone, so throw everything in here room"), and we both said, "wouldn't it be neat to collaborate?"  It sounded awesome, but I was skeptical it could ever really happen.  We live at basically opposite ends of the country and both have businesses to run and families to raise.  But she hopped on a plane, and we did it together.

[caption id="attachment_9012" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Storied_Style_Organized_Office_Before_1 image via IHeartOrganizing[/caption] The above photo is courtesy of Jen and showcases what we had to go through.  This is the previous state of the closet.  Yes, it had gotten so bad, I would literally throw things in here "that belonged" and shut the door, thinking I would get around to organizing it "later".  Anyone else have any "later" spaces? Much to my surprise, Jen did not run away screaming.  She stayed with me for days, going through this mess, sorting it and putting it away, long into the night(s).  This is true friendship.  Love you, Jen. jen grace kids Jen wrote about this makeover, especially focusing on the organizational aspects of it here and here.  There are TONS of good, practical ideas here, so check it out. Now onto the shelves... I bought a pair of these Stairway shelves from CB2 when they were having a major sale a couple of months ago. stairway-grey-wall-mounted-bookcase I bought the gray instead of the white because at the time, they were cheaper and in stock!  The white was backordered, although if I had gotten the white, I could have skipped the lacquering of the shelves since the shelves would have already been lacquered white. I knew I wanted/needed two large shelving units on either side of my desk for storage and prettiness (and Edith Wharton's design philosophies - see this inspiration post), but the room is not huge so I needed to be mindful of scale.  We have nine foot ceilings in our home, so I knew it would be a good idea to take advantage of height.  These CB2 shelves are eight feet tall, which is giant for this type of off-the-shelf piece, so it was a good choice. The shelving supports were pretty non descript before.  Gray. Metal.

shelving supports before

I spray painted them gold before I gold leafed them just to ensure they would be gold even if I missed a tiny spot.

spray paint

I could have stopped here, but I am so glad I didn't.  The gold leaf gives so much dimension to these shelves.