Progress on a Fall Backyard Project: The Pea Gravel Patio!

digging out for pea gravel patio

31 days of falling for fall series

A couple of weeks ago I told you all about our plans for a new pea gravel patio (including some great inspiration pictures). Fall is a great time to fit in a backyard project so I’m so excited that we got started. We’ve already made a ton of progress which I will show you today!

When we bought our house four years ago, it was new construction with basically no landscaping, especially in the backyard. It is a very small yard, with no trees and nothing really to work with in the way of any existing structure, patio or shrubs or anything.

Our ground is extremely hard (lots of rocks) so digging and planting was nearly impossible for me. I made the best of it with container plants and did hire some help to dig some holes for a few plants this summer. While I wanted a charming yard, anything really major was out of the question for our budget.

jack and lily

But with two pups running around, it was becoming more of a necessity to get some structure and landscape in the yard, otherwise they would just have fun all over the yard in the MUD all winter. And I’d be giving LOTS of doggie baths.

SO we started thinking more seriously about the need for a plan we could implement this Fall to prepare for the inevitable.

backyard project

We went around and around with what to do to both give the dogs space to run, ways to keep the mud down and to create specific usable areas in our yard to make the most of our small yard.

Finally we came up with an idea to enclose a portion of our yard for the dogs to safely run (away from any new plants they could dig up!).

backyard landscape plan

And then we would also start out with our first major usable space, a large pea gravel patio with a flagstone walkway around to the enclosed area for the pups. A mud free patio area was going to be heavenly and perfect for entertaining, too.

landscaping

We had a couple of delays on getting the project started but that ended up working out well for me because I conveniently went out of town on business the week the work began. YAY ME!

My husband took control of the project and got some help to do the work because digging in our rocky dirt and moving gravel is a really labor intensive job.

compacting pea gravel patio

I will probably describe the kind of rocks and the process we used for the patio and walkway in a more detailed post at some point when my husband writes out all the steps for me. But for now, you can see that there were quite a few steps involved from digging out dirt to laying landscape fabric and edging, to adding a deep base layer of gravel and compressing it, and then the top layers of pea gravel. And then removing all the excess dirt from our yard since we have no place for it!

peagravel patio project

pea gravel pathway

The new fence and gate will start at the end of this soon-to-be-flagstone path.

You can see by the rock color change that there is no pea gravel in the walkway area yet (the gray is the regular gravel) so we can lay the flagstone.

pea gravel patio progress

Here you can see the patio area and the mound of dirt in the background which will eventually be the area we will use for our garden!

Progress on Peagravel Patio Project

Now that the big part of the work is done, the fun part will begin!

I can’t wait to start adding potted plants, furniture and a new DIY fire pit!

removed dirt for pea gravel patio

Next step in the project is to have all that excess dirt and rock removed since we don’t have any space for it.

Then next is the new fence and gate for the dog area. We will lay flagstone for the path all the way from the deck to the doggie zone .

We will also be using flagstone for a landing zone for a new BBQ by the patio, which you’ll get to see in the coming weeks!

I do love interior projects, but honestly I get almost as excited about creating a charming backyard!

I’ll be back with an update soon!

What Fall outdoor projects are you working on or dreaming about?

Catch all 31 Days of Falling for Fall:

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Day Nine
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Don’t be THAT MOM {Fall Organization}

Command Center The Inspired Room

31 days of falling for fall series

Fall is such a busy time for our family that creating systems and organizing our schedules is a must. In the little hallway outside my kitchen, I have our command central. I LOVE it! It is a simple magnetic blackboard we use for our most urgent papers. It is our go to space for all urgent papers and printed school and sport calendars.

Truth be told, without it?

I’d be THAT mom more often. In fact, the reason I had to get a board like this is I was THAT mom.

You know, the mom who took her son back to school after spring break —  three days BEFORE the break ended.

The one who forgot to order school pictures two years in a row because she lost the order form.

Yep. THAT mom.

If you are at risk of being THAT MOM this Fall, you too might want a command center.

STAT.

I’m over at The Decluttered Home today talking about one of my favorite topics >> organization and command centers!

Come chat with me and tell me if you are THAT mom! 

hallway

 

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Creating Ambience {New Wall Sconces in the Media Room}

home media roomLighting & cable knit throw blanket courtesy of Pottery Barn

You all probably know by now that I love cute lights. And of course, I LOVE fall nesting :-) One of the ways I like to add charm and personality to my house is through light fixtures. Lighting makes SUCH a huge difference in how a room looks and feels, especially in the Fall and winter months when you want to snuggle in on the sofa with a good book — the lighting needs to be just right.

media room

Our media room is upstairs. I call it “the media room” because that makes it sound fancy even though we just have a normal TV. Actually we call it that just to distinguish it from our family room, which is downstairs connected to the kitchen. Our family room does not have a TV, just a cozy fireplace.

But this room is where we watch movies together, read, fold laundry and my son plays games video games. I didn’t take a photo of the other side of the room because I haven’t done anything to that side yet.. Heheh. I’ve got plans for  it though, so I will update on it when I can.  Meanwhile, let’s talk about the new lights!

family room

The lighting in this room was horrible. There is one window and a center light in the middle of the room and that is IT. Never ever have a room with only a center light, unless maybe you are lucky enough to have amazing windows all around the room. But even so, at night, you’ll have dark corners unless you have more lighting.

The sectional takes up pretty much all the available space in the room so there was not enough space for end tables or lamps.

But without ambient lighting around the room, it didn’t feel as cozy as I wanted it to.

So what was my solution?

With Fall nesting in full swing, I have been dreaming of wall sconces around the room as perfect mood lighting for snuggling up on the sofa all winter long. Since there were no existing sconces, adding wired in lamps was going to get expensive since we wanted THREE of them. The next best option was to find plug in lamps, which is sometimes easier said than done.

media room

I wanted swing arm lights that I could move side to side to bring the best light for reading. So, I was SUPER excited to find these Pottery Barn Walker Sconces. They had the beautiful warm finish and library look I wanted, they could swing back and forth AND they were plug-ins, so all we had to do was measure and hang!

I think they were the perfect Fall addition to our room — it feels SO much more cozy and welcoming! And with the addition of a new cable knit throw (also from Pottery Barn) we are ready for SNUGGLING!

media room 2

If you missed the previous with the details about my sectional, click here, and see my guide for choosing a new sofa here.

Cozy Fall Family Room Sectional The Inspired Room

Update: Here is our media room as seen in our 2014 Fall House Tour!

31 days of falling for fall series

Are there any rooms in your house that could be cozier with wall lights?

31 Days of Falling for Fall:
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Day Two
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight
Day Nine
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