Around June 1 every year I try to take a photo of the front of the house. Everything is out in leaf and beautifully green. The farm is looking its best. And it’s really fun to look back and see the progress we’ve made on transforming the property. This year, the picture is all about progress, though you might have to walk around the side of the house to find it.
Last week work on our new patio started (note the yellow excavator in the background on the left), and I am thrilled.
Since finishing the garage and mudroom, the exterior of the south side of the house has been unfinished. This meant no stairs to the living room patio door. No step into the mudroom (aside from a rock I dragged there). And gravel, just gravel, everywhere.
The patio project is about defining this side of the house. We will have steps and a delineated space that’s separate from the driveway.
I decided to shrink the garden around the well slightly. This will give us two small sections of patio alongside the two entrances. I’m thinking one will be for eating and the other will be for lounging. Both are small, but I think we’ll have just enough room. They could also work for a barbecue or a potting bench.
My goal has always been to make the patio look like it fits with the farm. When I first met our contractor (RS Landscape & Construction for any locals), he said, “Can we pull rocks from the fields?” Out loud I said, “Absolutely.” In my head I was fist pumping and happy dancing. He got my vision right away and worked with me on the budget to make it happen.
We chose beautiful natural stone–huge slabs for steps and random flagstone for the patio (selected from a stone yard during an ice storm in December). For the gardens we took the machines on a literal field trip and found large boulders for the edging.
I’ve taken advantage of having the machines here to tackle a few additional jobs. The crew removed the old chicken coop foundation and regraded that corner of the barn. They also trenched a new outflow for our sump pump. They have been super accommodating, friendly, helpful and conscientious. I’m so impressed with their work.
The extra work means that the patio itself got off to a slow start. We also had a miscommunication about the width of the steps leading up to the patio door. I want them wider, which means we need more stone slabs, which were a bit hard to find. A new shipment arrived at the stone yard on Friday afternoon, so we should be back on track soon.
We ended last week with the old coop finally completely gone, the sump trench backfilled, the start of steps into the living room and a beautiful row of boulders (aka new stepping stones) around the well garden and under the dining room window.
Looking at the front of the house, I am amazed at what a difference the boulders make. They give the front so much more presence (and even make me dislike the angel stone a little bit less). The patio project builds on 11 years of slow transformation. I’m excited to see it all come together.