Monday, June 7, 2010

What a difference a year makes...

Okay, it's time for the big reveal! I know many of you could have banged out this project in a weekend, but since hubby and I work at a snail's pace, our swingset garden has been a year in the making, or at least a year in the planning!!

(click to enlarge any photos)

But let me tell you, it was worth the wait... It's even better than I had envisioned! Let me show you what a difference a year makes!
Gentlemen, move that Chip!
Summer 2009:

Summer 2009: The girls' old swingset, with so many wonderful memories that I couldn't bear to part with it, was the inspiration for this little garden/sitting area. The swings have been removed, but the sturdy wooden frame was the perfect starting point for this project!

Summer 2010: I just can't believe the difference in the before and after photos! A small deck, some plants, a little bark mulch and voila!

Summer 2009: We planted blue salvia in front of the swingset last year. It was pretty much the first piece of the entire project.

Summer 2010: I think it likes its new home because it came back strong and full this year.

Summer 2009: The grass in this part of the backyard is virtually non-existent...

Summer 2010: The deck and bark mulch took care of the lack of grass in much of this area. Now we're trying to decide whether to put down a ground cover or to reseed the remaining area.

Summer 2009: Another view of the swingset and the steps that lead up to the deck.

Summer 2010: That's better... Much more inviting!

Summer 2009: Last year we planted two climbing hydrangeas, one on each of the back posts of the swingset...

Summer 2010: They are thriving, but they're also s-l-o-w growers!

Summer 2009: We hope that eventually the hydrangeas will climb up the back posts and then travel across the top of the swingset.

Summer 2010: Their foliage is so lush and thick, I think that would be so beautiful!

Summer 2009: View from our patio. We planted this little honeysuckle vine on our homemade obelisk last year.

Summer 2010: The honeysuckle vine has now climbed to the top of the obelisk and the hummingbirds love to split their time between the feeder the the honeysuckle. The swingset deck and the patio both provide wonderful viewing areas!

Summer 2009: Another view of the salvia and honeysuckle vine right after it was planted last year.

Summer 2010: I thought my vintage birdcage planter might look nice placed between the salvia and the honeysuckle. Although this year I got lazy. Instead of real flowers, I just stuck some faux ferns into the cage. I've never used faux anything in the outdoor garden areas before, but I actually think it looks okay (Right, Jill?) (Click here to see my post on making a birdcage planter for your garden).

In addition to the climbing hydgrangeas on the back swingset posts, I planted clematis vines on the two front posts. There are also some pink lilies in front of a little birdbath in the garden. And Ms. Mermaid, who you see sitting on the bottom step, is loving the garden. And she has already made a very special friend! I hope to get a picture of the two of them to share with you sometime soon!

So thank you for letting me share our new garden sitting area with you. And a huge thank you to hubby, who made it all possible!!!



Anonymous said...

I think it looks delighful! XO MARY

Ro said...

Looks like such a peaceful little spot to sit! Lovely! And I have an old birdcage I am now inspired to turn into a planter! Can't wait to give it a try. :)

Angela said...

Oh my, it has turned out just beautiful. I keep thinking what it's going to look like in a few more years...WOW...

I love what you did.

Susan said...

Love it! Great job! Enjoy your time out there. Susan

Claudia said...

I really love the way it turned out, Donna. You've done a beautiful job. I planted a climbing hydrangea 3 summers ago. It is a slow grower and I read that it can take 4-5 years until you see actual flowers!


Bargain Decorating with Laurie said...

Charming! I would have thought to leave the swing set, but it gives the space such a cozy look. I'm sure you are enjoying this great spot in your yard. laurei

Southern Lady said...

I love before and after pictures. Doesn't it make you feel great to look at them? Your project turned out perfect! Carla

Elaine said...

Great transformation! Your little swing set deck looks so inviting.
Love the plantings, I hope the hydrangea blooms for you.

Your birdcage looks so sweet amongst the flowers and I adore your little mermaid.

I am sure you will find your new deck a great spot for relaxing this Summer.

Unknown said...

Great job, and as you said, it will be lovely to look out into the garden, another special place to sit!

Jodie said...

ohhh, lovely! This reminds me of an old episode of 'Home Improvement', when Tim gets rid of the kids old fort or swing set as they had grown out of it, and Jill was upset as it held so many fond memories for her, so Tim got it back and turned it into a lovely swinging love seat for her as a suprise! My family and I have become addicted to your blog and we so adore the little chips in your garden, we don't have them here in Australia, and have never seen a real one before, they are adorable!! Thankyou

Cottage Rose said...

Donna your sitting area turned out so pretty... What a lovely place to sit and watch all the birds,,, and just dream.... have a great week.


Em said...

It's looking great! I love watching the kids on the swingset now but I also look forward to the day I can do something like this :)

Ro said...

I blogged today about my own birdcage makeover - giving you full credit for inspiring me. Hope you have a moment to check it out. :)

Lacy said...

It looks great! I wish I could grow climbing Hydrangas It is going to be gorgeous!

Lisa said...

OH my, you and Chip have been busy, busy, busy. I adore the new area and such a wonderful way to incorporate the memories of the swing. Brilliant! I have a hydrangea on my counter right now awaiting planting. Hope it will survive the extremes here but giving it a try. Enjoy your new area, you deserve a big old glass of lemonade to celebrate!

Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life said...

This is lovely. What a transformation. I hope you will post photos at the end of the summer. It's turning out to be an enchanted place.