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Blog — "garden"

Urban Gardening

Heidi Shenk "garden" "home"

It's kind of hard to have a garden in Baltimore, but every year I still do my best to make it feel as though we have one. I've found that the best option is to use pots and containers of various sizes and arrange them in a way to create a lush space.

After spending an afternoon at our favorite greenhouse, I was finally able to finish planting everything that we brought home with us. We have an array of herbs-- basil, cilantro, mint, chives, and dill. I addition, we planted a lettuce mix, and tomato and pepper plants that we picked up at the farmer's market. In addition to our herbs and veggies, we planted all sorts of flowers and started growing a flowering vine which we hope will begin growing on our pergola.

The best part about planting is seeing how lush everything is by the peak of summer. While the pots currently look much to big for many of our plants, the reward comes when the plants have filled each pot out fully and we have lots of green life! I am also especially excited about our plants this year because this summer our patio is finished instead of looking like this. And that is definitely something to be happy about! :)
P.S. The winner of the Ephemeral Pillages ring giveaway is commenter #4-- Beth! Congratulations Beth! I'll be in touch with you shortly! :)

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Contractor vs Architect

Heidi Shenk "construction" "garden" "outdoors" "projects"

Finally I feel as though I have something good to write about when it comes to the fence. Remember way back when? A jackhammer had arrived and then there were fence posts put up. Then a whole lot didn't seem to happen because it happened so slowly. I grew up in a house that always had projects going on. My dad is a woodworker and he spent a lot of time building houses as well. So when I thought of a DYI backyard project, I imagined a few weekends and we'd be good to go-- that's what always happened when my dad was building things. Give him an afternoon and he'd have an entire room trimmed out arts and crafts style.

That's a craftsman. I guess I didn't consider how architects approach things. No offense (and I don't think any will be taken because all architects I know openly admit to this), but architects are too nerdy about the design for their own good. When I suggested to Andrew that we use an old door instead of building a fence gate, I was immediately shot down. The second time I suggested it, I was shot down. And the third time? You guessed it.

I told my dad, now I finally know why he used to always complain about the architect when he was in construction. And now I finally know why contractors and architects are seemingly always at each others' throats. My dad, joking about the door situation, said something like, "You know what your problem is? You didn't put in a change order with the architect."

The next day, I told Andrew, "That's it-- I'm putting in a change order. The gate needs to be redrawn as a door in your blueprints." And I got my way.

Maybe my dad was right after all.

In other news, despite the slow, thoughtful process of the architect in constructing our backyard, things are finally going in the right direction and we're nearly done! Here are some other photos to enjoy--

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The Beginnings of a Cedar Fence

Heidi Shenk "construction" "garden" "home" "outdoors" "projects"

Progress on the fence is now noticeable, and noticeable progress is the kind that I like to see. Andrew's parents were in town for the weekend with the intention of getting the ball rolling a bit more. While it was expected that more would get done than did, there was a bit of a road block. Two steel posts needed to be removed and apparently they were installed very well with about 3 feet of concrete going down. So the jackhammer arrived once more. Steel post removal and new cedar post installation ended up eating an entire day's worth of work.

Sunday was spent beginning to install the back wall of the fence-- I stayed out of the laborious portion for fear that I may not do something right (which is often the case in the other half's mind) and let Andrew's parents pitch in. It wasn't a job that required four people anyway, so I just enjoyed catching some rays of sun and documented the progress. As for today, the project came to a standstill with 100 degree weather keeping us inside to enjoy a cool air-conditioned house. The fun will continue next weekend.

Here's the progress:


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The Cedar Has Arrived!

Heidi Shenk "construction" "garden" "home" "projects" "tools"

All of the concrete that was sitting in the back yard is now gone. It has been replaced by a heaping pile of red cedar. Not only does it look great, but it smells great too! The lumber truck arrived yesterday afternoon, trying to squeeze through our narrow alley. That was not meant to be-- unless of course the truck didn't mind losing a side mirror or two. So the wood had to be carried plank by plank down the alley to the back yard.

The next step was digging post holes. This is clearly not as loud of a project as the previous one only by default because it didn't involve a jackhammer. Three foot holes were dug out and 6 by 6 posts were set in concrete. 6 by 6! Yes, rather large posts though the plan is to have a pergola on one side of the yard for some shade. The pergola will cover about a third of the space. The hope is to get some fabulous flowering vines to creep up around the pergola for a cozy green space. I currently have a Black-Eyed Susan started in a large pot with a trellis. I am beginning to think that this would be fully appropriate as it is the Maryland state flower. Their flowers are such a vibrant bright orange and when I think about the other options such as wisteria or roses, I would rather lean away from the frilly pinks and purples.

Needless to say, the back yard and fence is making some progress bit by bit.

Post hole-- don't fall in!

Cedar and cement mix ready to go.

The tools-- spade and post digger.

Red cedar


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Thinking of a Summer Fiesta

Heidi Shenk "cuisine" "garden" "outdoors" "pendant lights"

While we've been enjoying some amazing weather the past few weeks (finally!) it seems that we have still experienced cooler weather than what is to be expected for Baltimore in May. With all of the work we've done lately with out back yard-soon-to-be-garden-slash-patio, I'm longing for those balmy summer nights. I've picked up a few things here and there to add to out outdoor space, yet I've not been able to actually use them since our patio is nowhere near completed. So for now I just daydream of the fun atmospheric additions I could make once we have reached the finished stages-- which may not be for another few weeks.
There is nothing I love more than having a few friends over for some good food and drinks on a beautiful summer evening. And here are some of the fun things I've found that would be perfect for a summer fiesta. 
via Pigeon Toe Ceramics
via West Elm
via My Fathers House
via Aedriel Originals
via West Elm
via West Elm

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