Three years ago we started on a decking project in our back yard to turn a hilly section of the lawn into usable space. It looked like this, back when we first started:

Today, it looks like this:

And at night:

A few of the things we love:

  • The River Birch we planted behind the deck. These guys love to soak up all the extra water that rolls down from the hill and we hope in a few more years it will help shade the deck from blistering TN summers.
  • Two varieties of edible grape vines, one on each side of the pergola, trained upwards. This is their second year in and it seems like they’ve done all their work on getting roots established. They have already grown 3-5 feet this year. We fully expect to be able to wander out and grab a snack from above our heads in another year or two.
  • Herbs. Everywhere. Many herbs are quite beautiful on their own, so there’s no reason to segregate them to their own planting beds. We mixed them in with abandon last year, and because the winter was so mild many of them came back up. Like our mint, which has spread like wildfire. We also have thyme, sage, and basil.
  • The string lights. At night, they light up the entire back yard well enough to walk, talk, and play games. We strung them all the way up to the deck off the back of our house where we have our dining table, which makes BBQing and eating outside irresistible.
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Cardboard and foam deer heads are not new, but this quirky design is definitely one of a kind. Lots of different designs to chose from, but this is our fav. Now, just what kind of decor would you pair this with?

 

Winter Blues via IKEA.se:

 

As a christmas gift to myself, I picked up volume II of Kinfolk Magazine, released earlier this month. The essays and photos this edition focus on spending winter months gathering with friends and families over good food and in front of cozy fire places.

It sounded like the perfect thing to read while curled up with a blanket and hot coco. (photos from volume II below)