Remember the birch tree that died this past year?

And the ugly stump that was left behind?

We worked hard all weekend and completely landscaped that area- adding another layer of retaining wall blocks, building a small circle to encompass the stump, filled it with river rock (ties in with our river rock bed at the end of the patio), and planted some flowers and a swirly tree!

Here’s the new look for that area:

Hopefully the flowers will take off and fill in the area nicely.

And our barren “river rock bed” at the end of the patio got a facelift.  We filled three 2′ tall decorative pots with grass and cascading blooms:

(Ignore the “ugly” topsy turvy planters…I have plans to make burlap covers for them so they are more “natural” and not so hideous.
And believe it or not, thanks to Oregon weather, these pictures were all taken on the same day, just a few hours apart!)

We also put three similar grass plants in our front yard.  It will be a while before they reach their full size, but we think they fit nicely in with the front yard theme:

We ran sprinkler lines to every plant, including all the bamboo in our front yard, hoping we can get it to really take off this year.  We planted 4 groups of bamboo when Brooke was born and 2 of them have taken off (you can see them in the background of the above picture), but the other 2 are still pretty thin.  Cross your fingers!

Still on our to-do list:

– plant 3 evergreen Clematis vines on the backside of the gazebo.  We are going to put up three iron trellises to create a “wall” between the gazebo and shed, so that when we sit in our family room and look out the window, we won’t see the side of the shed.  This is our current view.  You can see why we want to hide the shed (and the dog run for that matter!).

-shed beautification project.  Probably won’t get around to re-siding the shed this year, but we are going to make (or purchase) 2 bamboo-style gates that attach to either side of the shed and act as a fence to hide all the stuff stored behind it.  Here’s the “before” picture.  Don’t hold your breath for the “after” picture because it’ll be a while!