Follow along as we adjust to life on the farm and attempt to bring a little urban sophistication to prairie living.
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Happy Birthday, Eva!

Here is a bit of colorful cheer to brighten the front page of my neglected blog...

Can you believe our princess is four?

I can hardly believe it myself, especially since this also marks the 4-year anniversary of our big move to Montana.


Four big happy years that we never would have imagined in a million years, but would never give back.

Eva just finished her first year of preschool, and since then has asked every day without fail, "Mom, do I have school today?" She should be good and ready to back in September. 

Here are a few thousand more photos I snapped of her the other day. Sorry, I couldn't narrow them down any further. Mamma's prerogative.



Front yard landscaping—the plantings

To refer back to the plan/layout and before photos, click here.

I am no gardener, and I've learned what I do know by trial and error. I do know this much about what I want: it must be low maintenance and survive on infrequent watering. I like native plants and like a variety of colors and textures in the foliage. I seem to like purple flowers, especially alliums. And judging by the collage below, I like both random naturalized planting and structured rows. I'm not sure how I will combine that all into a cohesive look, but I'm going to try. 

Sources, clockwise from top left: 1. Europa Concorci  2. Houzz  3. Houzz  4. Feldman Architecture via Desire to Inspire  5. unknown (This along the shop maybe?)  6. Houzz   7. Houzz (I'll take the pool!)

I have had good luck so far with a few things—grasses, Russian sage, purple salvia, some seedums (although the bunnies like them), and thyme. I plan to transplant some native yucca that grow along the river beds locally. Any other suggestions?


Now let's talk about my terraced concrete planting beds and rock garden for a minute. Last summer they were growing in nicely:

But they aren't feeling cohesive enough for me. I think I need to take a lot of it out and start over. I might end up with fewer flowers in the terraced beds and opt for a cleaner look with lots of the same types of plants, like this:

Sources, clockwise from top left: 1. Houzz  2. Houzz  3. Jeffrey Gordon Smith via Desire to Inspire  4. Houzz

That wraps it up for my landscaping plan posts. Now all we have left is to work work work. I will try to keep you updated on our progress! Be patient with us, though. Outdoor projects are hard to accomplish because farm work comes first!



Front yard landscaping—the fence and pergola

Hi! I hope you aren't bored with landscaping posts yet, because I'm back this week to share a little more of my yard inspiration. Today it is all about the fence and pergola.

To refer back to the plan/layout and before photos, click here.

I have no trouble imagining a new beautiful fence in our yard. Building it will be the hard part. Fortunately it isn't a huge area. I'd love to have a fancy gate like some of those shown here, but as long as it is easy to operate, I'll take it. I do know that I want horizontal fence slats. Easier to climb, yes, but it will be nice and tall so at least our dogs won't be able to climb it. (I hope.)

Sources: Clockwise from upper left: 1. DWR via Gardenista  2. Houzz  3. Houzz  4. Houzz  5. Houzz  6. Life of an Architect

Beautiful, right? Can you see it in our little courtyard between our house and shop? Instead of this?

Anything would be a drastic improvement.

The other thing I hope to add is not completely necessary for function but absolutely necessary for aesthetics—the pergola. Don't you agree? This isn't just your average pergola, either. It must have a mix of wood and metal and be lovely and modern. Here ya go:

Sources, clockwise from top: 1. Houzz  2. Houzz  3. Houzz

Drool. Now if we can just execute...  Anyone in need of a summer job? :)


Front yard landscaping—the hard-scaping

To refer back to the plan/layout and before photos, click here.

The major drive behind redoing these our two small front yards is to reduce lawn area and watering. These spaces will be much more usable to us as outdoor rooms for lounging and dining. (Don't worry, we have plenty of lawn for the kids elsewhere.) Now if we could just do something about the mosquitoes...

I really like a permeable hard scape for function, but mostly for form. I think this looks great with our midcentury modern style. It allows you to break up a mass of concrete area with texture and plantings, not to mention allowing for proper drainage. 

Here is my patio inspiration:

Clockwise from left: 1. unknown  2. Houzz; I want my pavers to be a bit larger than shown here. 3. Houzz; This is one of my favorites to illustrate the patio edged by plantings. 4. Houzz; This is probably way more beautiful and elaborate than I will be able to achieve, but I love this. I like how they have mixed rock and mulch areas. 5. Houzz  6. Houzz  7. Houzz; This is the best example I have of what I want the concrete to look like in the courtyard area, leading back to the fence. My plants won't be this lush or my fence this fancy, I'm sure.  

I'm anxious to get to this part of the project because our dirt yard is soon going to = a weed yard!


Front yard landscaping—the deck

To refer back to the plan/layout and before photos, click here.

Improving the deck is a pretty major element in improving our curb appeal, not to mention our safety. Our current deck has given many a sliver, and the railing consists of weather-warped and wobbly 2 x 4s that would do nothing to contain a child. We added some hog wire for safety, but it isn't pretty. 

From the beginning I have envisioned a cable railing. Preserving the view is paramount so I don't want anything with heavy stiles. Here is my inspiration:

Sources: Clockwise from top left: 1. Houzz; obviously we would need more cable than this for safety, but the idea is that you can see through it! 2. Houzz  3. eBay  4. n fiore on flikr  5. Czuba Steel Works  6. Houzz

My preference is to have metal posts, but I don't mind a little wood either. Our basement railing turned out great, but I think my dad hopes to DIY this one to save some money. We are probably going to use composite material for the decking, but I'm open to using redwood. What are your thoughts?