Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Summertime - and the Outdoor Living is Easy!

Back of Farmhouse - 'Before'
We put up with long, cold winters in Maine.  And as we shovel out from our umpteenth snowstorm, we remind ourselves that summer is coming - and it will be glorious.  Beautiful blue skies, BBQ weather, abundant sunshine (but not too warm!) and lots of playtime.

Once the weather warms up, we want to be outside.  ALL THE TIME!  And that means we need some great outdoor space.  And while this house has the nicest backyard we've ever had on a project, there wasn't a way to enjoy it.

French Doors Going In!
So we set out to fix that.  First up, a big, beautiful deck.  With the addition of the french doors on the back of the kitchen, we have the perfect spot for a big deck.

I spent a lot of time planning the deck and finally decided to go big.  At 16' x 16', there's room for lots of seating and a grill.

I'm a sucker for real wood, so we used a prefinished mahogany decking that can be left to weather to a soft gray or coated to maintain its deep red color.  The railings, posts and trim are all AZEK, which never needs painting - so zero maintenance.

And the result?  Well it's a great 'room' that merges the indoor and outdoor living space, to really enjoy the beautiful summer weather.

Courtyard 'Before'
But that's not all.  When we moved the kitchen door to the back of the house, it made sense to move the staircase, creating the perfect spot for a courtyard.

Why a courtyard when you have a deck?  Well our spring and fall can be quite chilly for sitting outside, but this space creates a microclimate as the sun streams in and provides the perfect spot for a morning cup of coffee.

We used concrete pavers to create the hardscape, with lots of curves to soften the edges.  And the planting beds provide the opportunity to add lots of color.

My favorite feature?  This beautiful cedar arbor - perfect for some fast growing vines.
And now that I've got some plantings in there, it's really feeling like a place to hang out.  

And to complete the outdoor beautification, yesterday the guys added a cupola to our bland, vanilla garage.  It looks amazing!!!  I can't get a good shot of it without the port a potty in the way - so it will be awhile before I can share a pic of the whole garage!

Of course we still have lots of construction equipment and material in the way of everything at the moment- but as we get that cleaned up, I'm getting pretty excited about the farmhouse!

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  1. The back deck is wonderful, great proportion! I like the cupola too, how pretty!

    1. Thanks! The cupola was a last minute add....but I LOVE it!!!

  2. This might end up being my favorite "room" in this house. The cupola is so charming.

  3. Ooh la la! This all looks great! :)

  4. Oh, Laurel. Things are looking like they are coming together nicely. Just wondering why you chose not to have stairs off both sides of the deck? My favorite decks have had dual access. And when we were children, my sisters and friends and I loved to run in circles around the house and it always gave us multiple options! Perhaps something to think about for future decking projects . . . Overall, a beautiful outdoor space! On last thing, where does that back door to the right of the deck lead?

    1. Wow - I don't think I've ever had a deck with two staircases! In our case, we usually have baby gates to keep dogs contained and the fewer gates the better :-) For this house, the staircase takes you directly to the garage/driveway as well as the center of the yard. So it's pretty convenient.

    2. gotcha! and so funny--i have only had dual access decks or a no access deck (our very large playpen!). as always, your houses are beautiful!

  5. It's great to have that lovely courtyard as well as the large deck. These make the back yard the place to be.


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