Can you believe it’s the last weekend in April? There are some people (in warmer climates) who have undoubtedly begun prepping their outdoor areas for summer, but for us here in Northern Ontario, Canada, I’m just happy 95% of the snow is gone! And yes… I am still worried we could get some more… but let’s look ahead to the summer outdoor plans I have for our yard this year anyways!
For this summer, we are not tackling as many new projects as last year – it will be more like finishing all those we started, sprucing up the yard, and maybe doing one “big” thing. After all, our little baby is due June 10th, so that kind of eliminates me from a lot of outdoor work.
At the end of the summer last year, I wrote a list down of all the projects I wanted to tackle for the next year. There were also some things I wanted to do before the winter… but let’s just say they didn’t all get done :)
Let’s do a little tour of the yard and look at what we are starting with:
I consider this part of our “side yard” project, even though it is technically at the front of the house. Our hosta plant actually started growing (along with some weeds of course) and I think this area won’t need too much maintenance since all of the plants should just come back. Yes we need to clean up my drywall dust mess and move that shovel too!
The other side yard (the actual side) will need some nice dirt and plants. We’ll also need to clean up the weeds and tree mess – and I’d like to maybe take a look at patching up that cracking chimney. I’m no concrete/aggregate expert, so maybe we’ll need to get someone in to have a look. Oh, and we never actually finished building that gate – so we need to add the caster and handle so that it can open properly.
Looking back to our front yard, we see the sad site of the non-landscaped front walkway. I would like to complete that project, including proper landscaping, my mini-trellis fences (from the original plans), and that’s pretty much it! Yes, we do need to take down the Christmas lights and get rid of all that construction garbage (but next week is free tipping at the dump, so I think I can convince the Husband to do a big haul out).
Unfortunately we did get two cracks in our DIY concrete walkway :( right at the corner. I’ve seen some concrete caulk-type products for repairing cracks, and I know the Husband actually wants to paint the walkway so that it isn’t concrete coloured (who knew he was so picky…). We will probably add an expansion joint here and maybe fill in some of the dips in the wide part if we go the painting route.
I’ve mentioned before that the front door liner started peeling off in the middle of the winter. This will be a warm day project that will involve me actually taking off the door, peeling all the liner off then re-painting it blue. I’d like to maybe get a plant or something for that pot, and of course get rid of the pile of patio stones (although they do come in handy for holding things while opening the door – and for decorating!).
I may have also mentioned that our entire front entrance slab has sunk (you can see the faint line of concrete where it used to be, a few inches higher) – but this is something that happened way before our time. It would be nice to level it out so that things don’t leak towards the house, but I’m putting this major project on the back burner for now. (It’s weird though, because the Husband keeps mentioning this slab, like he forgets the extreme physical labour he had to go through when we did the last concrete job here). I still have concrete splatters on the bricks and windows that need to be cleaned!
We have just a little pile of snow left in the front yard (which has dwindled a bit since yesterday morning when I took these photos). For this side of the yard, we’ll get rid of the garbage – maybe fix those gates as well, and potentially patch the garage door frame I wanted to do last year. It would be nice to seal the driveway, and maybbbbeeee stain the fence. However, both of those things are super time consuming projects (the fence more than the driveway) and they require a long period of nice weather. Would we also have to stain the back of the fence? (This part dipping down into a ditch is also our property).
Moving to the backyard now, we have some snow along the house still (this area gets shade so the snow will probably be there for a long time unless we shovel it out into the grass). The plants should come back in this area, and one day (probably not this summer) I’d like to do another little patio stone path from the deck out to the side yard.
I obviously would have liked to move the DIY patio table (and our regular one too) into the shed during the winter. But considering its weight, we left it where it was. It took a lot of weight from snow, and I’m actually surprised the base held up. There are some chips in some of the tiles, and a crack along the grout – but I think I can work something up to fix those spots. I also need to re-stain the frame (there were some bare wood parts) and maybe if the cover hadn’t flown off, we wouldn’t have got these marks.
Yep, this table stayed out all winter too (and that umbrella – which I’m seriously scared to open). This area will maybe just need some de-weeding, and that cooler needs to go to the dump!
Our one “big” project for this summer will be tackling the shed. It needs to be completely cleaned out and organized, and I’m amazed at how we are able to get in there and actually remove things. The door is broken (and was just a piece of plywood screwed into some 2x4s) so we will need to replace it (the Husband is hoping for something bigger). Me too actually, considering he is somehow able to get a snowmobile in and out of there when the lawnmower barely fits. There are a lot of things that can also be thrown out or donated… basically after we cleaned the garage, the shed became the dumping ground for the unorganized things.
The back of the shed should be cleared out (the previous homeowners stored their firewood back there) and there’s a tree growing, and some rocks and concrete mess. We would need to add siding to the back too so that it doesn’t rot and to keep animals out (I spotted a little hole in the wood last year!).
We’ll obviously be planting some veggies in our raised garden beds again this year, but I’d like to do it a bit sooner (weather permitting) so they have time to grow. The Husband has asked for more cucumbers and I heard you can plant them upwards to save space. We never actually removed the old garden, so there are a few patio stones and some plants/weeds that can be taken out of the yard.
It would be nice to finally level out the yard so it’s not so bumpy… but that’s kind of like a dream that will most likely not happen. I think I can also get by with not having to stain the deck again this year, although we will see once we give it a good cleaning.
There’s still a hole in the base of the deck that I would like to repair, and I need to finish raking the leaves that I started… oohhh maybe in the fall haha!? Looking at this view, the rightmost window is our Master Bedroom, then the one next to it is the main bathroom, then the kitchen and the dining room goes to the sliding doors.
We have some wooden patio chairs that could use a remodel, but they work fine – so who knows (it’s one of those projects that I may just up and do one day, since it doesn’t involve the Husband).
Oh, I’m surprised our Costco plants actually still look 50% the same since we left them out all winter (seeing a pattern here – we clearly do not like to care for our things apparently!). And, looking back at how our backyard was last year – it’s actually a huge improvement from on all the things we were able to accomplish last summer :)
So, I think I’ve managed to update my master list, and they should hopefully be in order of importance/priority (here Husband – please use this list as your chronological guide!):
Summer Outdoor Plans
- All garbage to the dump
- Remove Christmas lights
- Cleaning out the gutters (just a quick clean would be fine)
- Rake the leaves
- Plant veggies earlier
- Get rid of the old garden
- Plant grass seed where needed
- Get rid of weeds in the gardens and stones
- Tidying up the porch stones from the front
- Front Walkway
- Landscaping/Planting along the front walkway
- Repairing concrete walkway
- Paint concrete walkway?
- Side Yard
- Landscaping/Planting in the side yard
- Finishing homemade gate on side yard
- Fixing chimney brick area?
- Main gate fix
- Sealing the grout and fixing the tiled patio table
- Connecting two “sideyard” areas somehow
- Building the trellis mini-fences in the front walkway
- Fix the back deck trellis (where Tootsie made a hole)
- Seal the driveway
- Shed Project
- Clean/Organize shed interior
- Replace shed door
- Clean out the area behind the shed
- Add siding to the back of the shed
- Fancy-up the patio chairs/lounger
- Paint the interior of the garage
- Flatten the hills + bumps in our yard
- Get rid of weeds in the lawn
- Stain the fence
- Stain the raised gardens
- Do some landscaping (patio stones) around the back deck
- Re-stain the deck
- Level our entrance porch concrete slab
- Clean exterior of house + windows
Phew! Is that a list or what? Now you guys might be thinking… umm didn’t you say that this year would more along the lines of maintaining/finishing projects? Ha yes, but like I’ve mentioned before, updating a yard is a yearly commitment, it does get easier each time – but there are still things you have to do every summer. If we can get at least 70% of that list accomplished, I’ll be a happy lady!
Besides… I think my parents might be coming up for a weekend in May, and if you’ve read this blog before you know how much my parents love to help me :)
(And by that I mean I obviously force them into doing work against their will – and now that I’m getting super pregnant I have an excuse haha!).
Laura Ingalls GunnMay 3, 2016 at 10:30 am
Oh I see so much potential! It’s a big job that will have big benefits! Cannot wait to see how this progresses.
NicoleMay 3, 2016 at 4:11 pm
Updating the outside/landscaping is always something that is so time consuming and requires maintenance every year. I’m just hoping we can get to as many projects as I would like :)