small changes – an update

Happy Monday, fabulous friends!

A lot of you remember our backyard bliss redo from this fall… and today we wanted to give you a bit of an update.

In retrospect, hindsight and all that other fun stuff … We decided that the garden box we made against the side of our house, was a bit of a mistake.


After a kind reader pointed it out and we thought about it, we decided it was best to take it down. We realized later that we’d made a quick choice without thinking things through. A lot of that came with the pressure of a magazine shoot looming on us… sleep depravity… fun ideas that seemed like a good idea at the time… managing a family… it’s a balance, y’all. And all excuses aside, we certainly aren’t afraid to admit when we’ve made a mistake. ;} We’re only human, after all.

In the end, it was a lesson learned and we feel like we came up with a fun solution in the process.


We were excited to update you guys. I have to say, there have been quite a few repetitive cray cray messages sent to us about this one… And it’s all fun and games in blog land until you receive your first mcstalky pants death threat. We were all, Um, wow. It’s just a garden box. Let’s tone it down in the I-hope-you-sprout-a-third-ear-and-die-department. So we wanted to clear the air.

We stand corrected, and we’re not afraid to admit that. Thank you for being patient with us.


We also updated the rest of the yard with some rocks. As you can see, we’re still working on our grass. This yard has always been a challenge to grow because of Bertha the gargantuan man-eating pecan tree. But partitioning off parts of the yard like this now presents a do-able solution… and makes things a lot neater. Maybe now, our grass can grow.


These stones mark off parts of the yard and make a once impossible solution a new world of neater. We purchased them for cheap at a local quarry… (Sorry guys. No hand-chiseling a-la Fred Flinstone in the woods for us) but its truly amazing what a few rocks and a little paint can do!


Lining parts of the yard with pine straw makes a softer play area for the kids (For those of you not in the south, this is common in our neck of the woods for an affordable ground covering).




I am proudly proclaiming that I laid all these rocks. Me! And I totally did that flower bed. Who needs bootcamp when you have yard work? My thighs have never been so sore. Never. Like, I couldn’t sit down the next day, y’all.


This place has been a real work in progress over the years… and we’re so excited. There’s just something so rewarding about the basic process of yard work, ya know?


Now it’s time to move on to the sides… and front…


In the meantime, we’re super thrilled to announce that we have sprouts for our little veggie garden!

They shot up practically over night. We’re in the process of hardening them off/transplanting/getting them ready to grow outside… wish us luck! We sooo need it.


We also made a new network of super simple garden boxes, and we will be sharing more on that shortly.


It’s a better system that makes more sense for us this way.


We’re ready to enjoy spring, and the great outdoors! Bring on the friends and cookouts! (I have no idea what that child in the middle is doing…)


For the rest of the posts in this series, be sure to check them out, here!

Have an inspired day, lovely friends!

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Responses to small changes – an update

  1. Melissa says:

    What was wrong with the boxes? Too much moisture up against the house?

  2. Everything looks amazing! I’m ready for warmer weather too. Here in NY its still been chilly and windy but this week we’re supposed to get into the high 60’s. Bring it on! The girls and I are on Spring Break and we want to be outside!

  3. Holly says:

    I’m confused… why was the front garden box a mistake?

    • Hey Holly! We are referring to the garden box in our back yard. It was too close to the house, and apparently too great of a risk. Too much moisture, and too much risk for little critters (???) We didn’t realize that it was such a problem but apparently it is. Also, after we built it we were pretty sure a home inspector wouldn’t look too fondly on it if we were to try to sell our home in the future. So we moved it before it caused any problems. ;}

  4. Kim says:

    Love the changes! I can totally understand and relate to the flower box thing, though. I wanted desperately to do something similar but my hubby will NOT allow it due to the moisture/creature thing. Shoot, I’m lucky he lets me put potted flowers on a bench up next to my house! Love how it looks now, though. Your back yard is my inspiration “photo” for my own back yard! Now to get the hubby on board with all the work ahead of us. Anyway, great job as usual!
    (on a side note, we have a ton of those kinds of rocks now because when our street was reconstructed I sent hubby out in the night to dig for rocks! It was a goldmine of various sizes and colors of fabulous landscaping rocks!)

  5. Jenny says:

    Love it all! What flowers / bushes have you put in the garden? And….is that just brown wood chips around the plants?

    Thanks for sharing all your creativeness with us!


    • Hey Jenny! Thanks so much! Our annuals are impatiens, begonias, and marigolds. Our shrubs are Azaleas, Goldmound Spirca, and Aphrodite Hibiscus. (As best I can tell. Still learning! Ha!) And yes, we actually put pine straw around the plants. It’s a staple here in the south. ;} for our veggie garden, we will be supplementing some mulch to keep the moisture in – per a reader’s suggestion!

  6. Thank you so much for this post. I am the reader who emailed you over the weekend about how you built those boxes. Thank you for responding and letting me know you had created something different. I had no idea of the risk involved in creating a box up close to the house till I read the comments here.
    I think you came up with a great solution! Thanks for updating us.
    I love your garden boxes too, we are in the midst of building many of those!

    Thanks again!

    • Hey Denise! Yes, we were getting to that as soon as we could. We didn’t realize how controversial it was either. So I’m glad you didn’t build it. Someone went a little over the top with some abusive language in repetitively contacting us about it, etc. So we took the entire post down until we could update everyone. It was a mistake, but it certainly wasn’t worth the (repetitive from the same person) hateful treatment. Thanks for being patient with us! ;}

      • kimberly helton says:

        That’s horrible! I’d understand a simple email explaining the risks. Well I think it looked great before and it looks great now! Thank you for sharing. :)

  7. Tanai says:

    Wow you got crazy threats over….a garden box???? Geez people, chill! 😛 I like what you all have done in that space though! :)

  8. Very pretty patio. I love the pergola. The shutters are my favorite. We finished out garden yesterday. We already have green onions.

  9. Sandy says:

    I think the changes look great. Sorry you had to deal with internet crazies about a simple garden box! Thank you for sharing your creativity with the rest of us (non-crazies…well mostly)!

  10. katie says:

    Looks beautiful!!

  11. Rita Joy says:

    It looks wonderful! I totally understand the {physical} pain of gardening. It brings to attention muscles I didn’t even know I had! tee hee… I really love the plants and shrubs you chose for your new bed. Will you be giving us the names of them later?? {I’m most interested in the lime green ones in the front. What are those beauties?}

  12. Oh my. I always always always ooo and ahhh when you post about your back yard. It’s because it is my favorite I have ever seen. I am in love!!

  13. Suzanne says:

    Everything looks so beautiful! Would you be willing to share where you purchased the rocks? We are local to Montgomery and have a huge backyard that needs a lot of work. I’m thinking some rocks would be a nice addition! :)

  14. Toni says:

    It’s BEAUTIFUL!!!!! And safe for your siding. I’m soooo glad. The treehouse structure is fabulous. I see campouts happening. : )

  15. Jenny B says:

    I see in the way “before” pic you have a grill. Where do you keep that? It is the thorn in my side when I’m trying to figure out my patio…

    • Hey Jenny! We actually have a side porch right off our kitchen (also, on the spruce up list) where we grill out. We moved it there permanently. But you could always throw a cover on it and just include it in part of your porch plans. Hope that helps!

  16. Lea says:

    Looks wonderful. Hope your legs are recovering. That is worrisome though
    about the McNasty messages. Yikes!

  17. Susan Toto says:

    I love the rocks, your yard looks awesome! What a wonderful job you did.

  18. Melanee says:

    Love everything about your backyard. I hope to build some raised beds this year in our new home. And we just started building my son a fort. Cannot wait for summer!

  19. Elizabeth says:

    It looks great. I was thinking of building a raised flower bed right up against the house too, but now I won’t. Thanks for pointing out the problems with that. Here in northern Alberta we still have mountains of snow in our yard.I wish global warming would have some have affect up here already!jk

  20. Susan Krauss says:


  21. deb says:

    Some readers are just hateful and not much we can do about it. But I do like the new garden and LOVE that yellow painted door and big M…what a great place to spend warm summer nights (if they ever arrive!)

  22. janet smith says:

    As I look at your plantings, I wish you had spoken to someone about the best things to plant in that area on the back of your house. Impatients and boxwood have a blight and not the best selection.

  23. Kelly says:

    It looks wonderful. I really love the addition of the shutters and the yellow door. Your garden boxes are also inspiring. I need to get out in the yard!

  24. Karen says:

    Love the rock border idea! I needed a new plan for our front yard that has two large sections of garden area that we have just let go downhill. This looks awesome and I’m so looking forward to recreating something similar!

  25. Laila says:

    So sorry to hear that people have been so mean to you. Those comments are really uncalled for! Your house and yard are amazing! I hope you and your family can focus on the positive comments and enjoy the fruit on your hard work!!

  26. Candee Holmes says:

    Without being too nosy (oh, who am I kidding, I’m dying to know) what was the person’s issue with your garden box by the house? Is it not good to have a garden box close to the house or was it just a personal preference from that reader?

    • Candee Holmes says:

      I have just read through all of the comments, so there is no need for you to explain yourself for the UMPTEENTH time. I think I understand. Looks great! :)

  27. Hey, Ashley, I totally missed your backyard makeover until this week. Wow, is that an amazing job. Love the checked concrete and all the things ya’ll did with the pergola. It’s beeee-u-tiful now! What an amazing job. And bah on those who were crazy over garden boxes. Glad you found a good solution, your backyard looks like a little paradise to me!! Can’t wait to hear more about the photoshoot! xoxo

  28. You are WOMAN, Ashley! The yard is looking great! Bring on the good weather (minus the pollen please!).
    xo heidi

  29. Pam Ekker says:

    You didn’t really say why the box against the house was a bad idea…we were wanting to do the same thing at our house. Our back of the house is very similar to yours and I liked how you had done yours. Is it because of dirt against the brick? Anyway, I am very curious because I had asked my husband to do this for me for mother’s day and had showed him your blog and how you had done it.

  30. Your outdoor space is amazing! Love it all!

  31. Pip says:

    What a great job you’ve done Ashley – the yard looks wonderful and ready for spring-time fun. I’m sure your plants will grow and thrive. We’ve done some planting here and I can’t wait for those little shrubs to fill out the garden beds.

  32. Sarah says:

    It all looks great! Makes me want to get out in my yard and get to work, or at least add to my hubby’s list. :)

    I’m wondering about the change in your siding color. Is it new siding, painted? If so, do you have wood or aluminum siding, or did you paint vinyl siding (which is something I’ve been wanting to try so would love to hear more). Thanks!

  33. Debbie says:

    Your yard looks so nice… Who wouldn’t want to spend the day out there… God job!!!

  34. Kristen says:

    It looks great. Thanks for giving an update. I think its healthy for me to see that I’m not the only person who has to start something over from time to time. As for the mean comments you received, some people just never learn. If you don’t have anything nice to say . . .

  35. Rachel says:

    Crazy! I had to read through the comments to see why it was a problem to have the box up against the house. I’m sorry for the mean comments sent your way – seriously, those can be weird and kinda ridiculous to read. Hope no one was too mean (which they probably were – people these days). Your yard is looking fantastic! And I love that Bertha has a name. And that she’s a man-eating pecan tree. Adds some serious character.

  36. Ida says:

    Such a lovely backyard and perfect for all the spring and summer fun!

  37. Angela says:

    I love it all, it has so many different little outdoor rooms and interesting focal points. I live in Tennessee, my husband and I have been working in our yard for the last few days so I completely understand the physical pain that comes with it, groaning every time I get in and out of the car is a bit embarrassing! HA! I have a question for you, I love all my pretty cushions and pillows outside but I always bring them in when it rains which is a pain, do you leave yours out or bring them in?

  38. Liz says:

    I am in love with your Blog and back yard… can you tell me where you got the Pergola?? I am looking for one just like that??? Also, how much this reno cost??