Nona’s cottage outdoor overhaul!

IMG_1809

For the past two months we have been spending the majority of our days off, weekends, and nights building and revamping the yard of my Mom’s new little house. We partnered with the Father of All home improvement stores Lowe’s to take this drab and unused space and make it usable and cute as can be. Because the space was for my Mom, I sat down with her and got some inspiration for what she wanted the end result to look like. The house is a tiny little thing, so she wanted it to feel cozy, and warm and like a little cottage. She wanted an herb garden where she could plant some herbs and maybe veggies, and she really wanted a place where me and my siblings and her grandkids could come to eat, chill out, and feel like they were at home.

Here are some of the pics my Mom loved.

cc0c2c25f847eaa34a29768bcc1bf260

 source

IMG_0767

IMG_0768

64d86f9824f56ddf6f7c88ec7558d783

source

00000gardenparty

source

The vibe is pretty monochromatic, with pops of color on the landscaping and extremely quaint. Now here is some before shots of the nightmare we had to work with.

Brace yourself for some seriously CRAPPY “before’s”

frontbefore2 copy

Front before3 copy

Frontbefore4 copy

Frontbefore6 copy

before9

sooooo. yep, that’s a whole lotta “Fug” in 5 pictures. As you can see, there was really a lot more of the low down and dirty work that needed to be done. Moving brick, ripping out stuff, re-routing pipes, and building building building. Or as I liked to say “less pretty more gritty”. We turned to the lovely folks at Lowe’s for all of the hard questions that needed answers and I can’t say enough about how helpful they were.

Anyways, here is where we ended up.

IMG_1788 copy

IMG_1999

IMG_2033

IMG_2020 copy

IMG_1750

IMG_1932copy

IMG_1840 copy

IMG_2001 copy

IMG_1894copy

IMG_1826 copy

IMG_2021copy

IMG_1854copy

IMG_0734copy

IMG_1947copy

IMG_1867copy

Literally I could have posted 200 more pictures, but I’ll spare showing you my sweaty self 10 feet up on a ladder painting trim.

Here was the process and a bit of what we did:

 We began by ripping out the old landscaping (or lack thereof) including the old bamboo fence that was tired and worn. We replaced it with a cedar dog eared fence and painted it with Valspar “White” paint. I had to enlist some muscle during this part because digging 20 post holes and setting them with Quikrete was no easy feat.

 We built 2 gates. 1 to the side yard to allow for easy access and the second gate at the back to hide the ugly part of the house, as well as a place to hide tools and a small storage shed. My mom really wanted an herb garden so we took the pieces from the busted up concrete and used it to wall off the herb garden. It was a cute little way to recycle the concrete pieces that would have just gone in the trash otherwise. Saving money and recycling FOR THE WIN!

The fence was a whole lotta white without any greenery or pretty plants to break it up. So we kept it simple and made a small planter bed and filled in with Iceberg Roses, and some Purple Fountain Grass, then finished it with some dark brown mulch nuggets. OH and did I mention we ordered 8 tons of pea gravel?? Well we did, and I am pretty sure the Duck pulled a hammy moving it wheel barrow load by wheel barrow load to the back yard. Pshhht, whatever I gave birth!!

The house got a quick lick of paint and I am pretty stoked with the color. We used Valspar’s “Subtle Taupe” and painted the trim out in Valspar “White” . The porch got Valspar “Mountain Smoke” and its my new FAVE porch color. The windows on the house are sad, so we added black pre-finished shutters to the windows to finish the facade and give it a little more interest and dimension, plus I love that the black grounded the otherwise really light exterior.

On the side of the house, we wanted to open up the space to make it feel larger and did so by demo-ing the back railing and adding a set of stairs down to the outdoor sitting area. We also added a purple bougainvillea for a pop of color against the light house. We couldn’t find a pot we were jiving on and in our budget, so we settled on making a box with cedar fence posts (same as fence) that we planted in a cedar planter that we painted to match the trim and fencing. The lighting before was horrendous  so we swapped them out for this cute barn light. We shushed up the space with cute outdoor decor by Lowe’s allen + roth line: gray and white throw pillows, created a sitting area using simple adirondack chairs, paired my mom’s existing dining table with some cute teak folding chairs, and added a few lanterns and a succulent arrangement.

The result was a much needed improvement that all of our family can now enjoy together!

IMG_1999

I have to take a second and give thanks. Let’s first start by pointing out the obvious. Living in SoCal can be about as hot as the surface of the sun in the summer. It was probably the worst time to take on a remodel of an outside project being as that most (read all) days would be spent outside in the 95 degree weather. My Mom is basically the toughest lady I know, and she would start the day around 7:30am and bust her hump till 7:30pm to get this done and I can’t thank her enough. I also had the muscle of my “Papa” (Grandpa.. Yeah he’s 82 and is a flipping champion) and the Duck, as well as my Grandma, Chris, Uncle Kevin, Auntie, and G. It was a family affair and the experience was rad. I also wanted to thank Lowe’s Home Improvement for sponsoring this project and post.

**This post was written in sponsorship with Lowe’s**

Lowe's Logo

26 thoughts on “Nona’s cottage outdoor overhaul!

  1. So very good! I think my fave is your use of the old concrete! genius! looks so super fabulous and over all such a lovely retreat! pretty neat that is was a family affair – makes it all the more welcoming.

  2. Aww, it looks absolutely amazing and I bet your mom is SO happy! I love that you did this for her. It looks fabulous and the lights are magical….and I hope you got a new hula hoop.

  3. It is absolutely stunning. Love that it is all hard scape that will be so simple for your mom to keep alive. I need to do finish my grandparents yard this year and build them a deck, I’ve procrastinated long enough. Must get to work!!!

  4. Thank you, my beautiful, gifted and generous girl! So much work, and so very worth it!! I’m loving each and every second outside in my new and lovely yard. As Keri put it…it was truly a family affair. :)) Love you!

  5. I had the privilege of seeing the home before improvements….what a disaster area! To say that Amber is so talented is an understatement. Pure genius in what she creates. I know her Mom, Lori, is so grateful to have had this amazing experience. I’m sure it was a major fete to accomplish. So enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!

  6. Amber the place looks amazing! You are SO talented! I’m just wondering of the bench is also from Lowes? I didn’t find it in the online catalog, maybe you can point me in the right direction! :)

  7. wow wow wow. crazy good transformation!! I can usually envision an end result but even that was a stretch for me. I can’t believe how much brighter it is – well done!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>