Our Outdoor Garden & Dining Area: Before & After

Our Outdoor Garden & Dining Area: Before & After

Maxwell Ryan
May 23, 2011
Our outdoor garden in progress

One of the biggest joys of blogging is following reader projects and getting inspired to take on a project myself. We learn so much from one another. One of the favorite projects I'm following is this sweet cottage renovation by John Baker and Juli Daoust up in Canada. So, I'm super pleased to be able to share my own big project this spring. This is the biggest I've undertaken in years — a new garden for Sara Kate (you might remember our old one).

This project is only halfway through, but the summer is coming on. The big idea? To build a new garden and dining area near our family house in the country where we could grow food, entertain and Ursula could play within sight of the house (and keep out the deer!).

The inspiration? To construct everything on perfect sightlines from the house to a point in the distance, where we'll eventually move the Ursula's big bird hotel. I worked for a few weekends with pencil and paper to plan everything and figure out the dimensions (geometry is so cool). Everything you see here is laid out on an East/West axis — everything lines up — which is very satisfying when your eye catches the symmetry.

NOTE: We've had a lot of help with this project. Thanks to Phou Vahn (landscaping) and Chris Gauger (carpentry), we've been able to do everything you see here quickly and our weekends have been spent planning, planting and figuring out what has to happen next. Enjoy!

Oh, and the furniture is all from Bobo Intriguing Objects, and I bought it all at the Highpoint Market last month — fabulous source!

-------------------- MARCH: BEFORE --------------------

Finding the right site for the new dining area and double garden so that everything lines up on the east/west axis.

-------------------- APRIL: DURING --------------------

The furniture I bought from Bobo Curious Objects arrives, and I seal the table with teak oil.

The beds have been leveled and top soiled so that we can now lay the boxes down evenly and do our final geometrical siting - and then FILL them (time is ticking and we had to get planting).

One night we photographed an amazing full moon rise along the garden axis!

-------------------- APRIL: IN PROGRESS --------------------

Filling the boxes and planting in one weekend!

The patio is done! Amazing work here by Phou Vahn.

-------------------- APRIL: GETTING CLOSER --------------------

The fence is going in around gravelled gardens and we bring down all the furniture and eat for the first time. Amazing work here by Chris Gauger, the carpenter.

-------------------- MAY: GETTING THERE! --------------------

To Come! Taking more pics this weekend. Here's a sneak peek.....

Images: Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan

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