Monday, July 3, 2017

Backyard Secrets Revealed

Our backyard has a secret world. 

I’m so excited about this part of our yard. And I’m so excited to show you it!
In fact I made a video to walk you around and let you experience it, since photos don’t really convey it as well.
If you remember, last August I walked you around our very different backyard, for a video tour. I HIGHLY recommend going back to watch those! (There are actually two. One after the deck, and one after the dig.) The difference is outrageous! I forgot how bad it used to be. It hurt to look back and see it again. Yikes! (Man that was a lot of work!... Mainly done by Blake!)
In the old videos you also get to hear some of my plans being talked out in the videos, some came to be, some did not.

But here is our yard today! 
In the video you get to see the whole yard, but the extra fun is seeing our hidden world, and how to get to it.

Now for some stills that I’ll type you through. (But the video is better for this.)

So see these evergreens?

I always felt like they were special, because they really add some magic to the yard. They make it feel much more private and nature-y than our yard would otherwise feel in a neighborhood with houses around.
So I was always fond of them. But this spring I went on a landscape cleanup spree and I cleaned out all the dead branches that were back in those evergreens.

Blake was out of town on a work trip... and what happens when you leave me alone with my imagination? I create worlds. 
After the trees were free of the endless pokey leafless branches, there was suddenly 4 distinct nooks back in these trees.

The kids already went back there sometimes. And it was a cool novelty, which we called the hideout or hideaway. But there wasn’t much to do but walk back there. 
However once it was cleared out, and I walked it over and over carrying the branches, I started seeing (and smelling the fresh earthy piney scent of) a fairy land.

Before you know it I had gone "Pinterest shopping", applied my hopes and dreams and constraints, and had drawn up plans. Blake came home to a very excited Lydia, who had some strong hopes for this yard.

(It should be noted, that right before he left he worked really hard to get our two side fences back into place so that we could play in the backyard with out Bronny constantly trying to run away. And so even without the fairy land ideas, the back yard was suddenly a very magic place to be.)

Well Blake being the amazing person that he is, just jumped right on board with me and turned my imaginations into reality.

He used pressure treated lumber and an old free pallet he found to create an “outdoor kitchen” (which is just a countertop and some muffin pans.)

 And a forest house. 
 We used every last inch of our biggest nook’s freespace by building around the branches that were left.

I used some of our Minwax stain in Walnut (that we have leftovers from our failed attempt to stain our floors.) And just rubbed the stain on. I wasn’t sure you could stain treated lumber but it worked fine for me!
Having the lumber stained darker makes it:
1) More magical, because the wood feels as old as time, like fairies built this and abandoned it.
2) Prettier because treated lumber isn’t pretty.
3) Invisible from the outside of the evergreens because it matches the bark and camouflages everything away.


Jasmine REALLY wanted a lantern for her house. And I found this one at Big Lots. The white part is plastic, but there is still glass in the windows. So far they have been very careful with it and I feel totally ok with them having it out there.

It turned out so cute. 
The kids love it.
And it’s so fun surprising our friends when they come over and discover a whole new world they never saw coming.

There are a couple more nooks I want to fill. I was hoping to find a big stump for a table and a couple small stumps for chairs. 
And maybe trying to make some kind of music area -- where there are wind chimes or something like that to play with. 

But for now we are all so happy with how our yard turned out.

It’s SO fun to add this bit of magic and LOADS of imagination.

Hope you guys enjoyed the tour!
I had a lot of fun showing you.


  1. Oh I LOVE it!!! I would have loved that as a little girl! Reading all day on the little house, and taking breaks to bake mud pies. ❤❤❤ I love your ideas for stump chairs and a table and wind chimes. I can imagine a few stepping stones contributing to the fairyland feel as well, maybe.

    1. ❤️ Thank you!! Yes the little girl in me can hardly take it, it's such a great spot for imagination to take flight.

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