So it’s a long weekend, and that means projects! It’s been such a long winter that it’s nice to finally be outside enjoying the warm weather. But, there’s a bit of a to-do list around here for outside.
Let’s start with one that’s been on there about 5 years, new outdoor lighting. We have the standard, brass, builder chosen outdoor lights, and I’ve been meaning to change them ever since we moved in.
I’ve had my eye open for some for years, but never found anything I really liked. I didn’t want something too traditional, it’s just not me. I always like the marine inspired ones, but we don’t live near the water. Last night, while I studied, yes studied, the long weekend flyers I noticed this one at Rona. Nice clean lines, simple, perfect. Let’s see if they have any in-stock…
Next item on the agenda…SHADE. I love our backyard, and we’ve done a lot of work to it, but it’s a fairly new house and there’s no shade. We built the pergola a few years ago, and have planted numerous vines on it in our attempt to create some shade. We’re still waiting. Last year I planted a new grape vine. It was starting to make some progress, but some rascally-rabbits broke into our yard while we were away this winter and did a lot of damage to lots of my plants, including the vine.
I think it’s still alive and coming on, but its tiny. On the other side of the pergola I have a honeysuckle vine. I have a different variety on a fence and its going gang-busters, but Murphy’s law, this particular one seems to prefer to grow down than climb up, so I feel like I’m always tying it up and trying to coax it up to the pergola top where it could actually make some shade for us. It also had one entire side eaten off by the naughty bunnies, so I’ve pulled out the dead and stretched it up as far as we can. Still hoping for some shade from it; maybe by the end of the summer.
Last year we made some shade covers for the pergola out of drop cloth sheets.
We really liked them, but (you knew a but was coming), they didn’t weather too well. Despite being out in the sun, which we assumed would bleach them, they got a little black coloured from the rain. We’ll probably put them up again, but they aren’t an ideal solution. I have spotted some wisteria vines at Loblaws, so I thought I’d get one and declare it a race to see who can give us some shade first, the grape vine, the new wisteria, or the honeysuckle. I’ll keep you posted. And, I’m imagining in a year or two having the new problem of too many vines, but at this point that’s the problem I’ll take. 😉 Any suggestions on a vine?
The shade issue also extends to the deck. It’s just too hot to sit out there, so last year we bought a fancy, cantilever umbrella. It was the cheap one, I’ll admit it. I probably should have returned it when I realized that the wind would blow it, so you couldn’t really direct where you wanted the shade if there was any bit of a breeze. By the end of the summer it broke.
We’ve considered replacing it with an awning, but I don’t like them very much, they feel like the front of a store to me. While debating it, we realized that since the back of the house juts out a bit, the flat surface is too small to mount one.
Next idea, a metal gazebo. Not perfect, and would block a lot of light out of the kitchen. Not the prettiest either. While debating it, a neighbour told us that you’re supposed to take the cover off when not in use, or the wind can blow them right off your deck, even if it’s screwed down. Cross this one off the list.
So, back to the umbrella. I hoped a nice one would be on sale this weekend, but after studying all the flyers, no luck. We’re on the hunt, and this time I’m tempted to fork over the big money in hopes it won’t break a few months in. Let me know if you have a great one.
The other deck issue, well it’s more of an issue with me then the deck I guess, is the watering of the pots. I love pots on the deck, and my girls can’t wait to make their fairy gardens for this year, but it’s seems like I always end up not watering them enough.
I try, I really do. But, I fail. So, I’m going to invest in a Lee Valley Deck Irrigation System.
I’ve had my eye on it for the last two years, and this weekend I’m going for it. You install it to your hose outlet, you can add a timer, and it provides drip irrigation to your pots all summer long. I hope it’s not too hard to install. I’ll let you know.
Last and not least on the list, new mulch for all the flower beds. We’re debating over bags, or a load dumped on the driveway. This weekend we’ll be costing it out and making a decision.
Lots of summer projects to do, lots of the summer budget being spent, but hopefully lots of summer days in the backyard spent enjoying it all! With all these little improvements, life will be a party around here, when it’s all done. 😉
What’s on your summer to-do list? Happy long weekend!