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Sunday, May 27, 2012

New Spaces

Sometimes I think living in a 3 story townhome can be hard. All the steps. The limited storage. All the steps. Did I mention the steps? Ah, it keeps me thin(ner) anyway. (I like to pretend).

One of the things about having a townhouse is that we kind of lack on the outdoor space arena. We don't have a big backyard. Yes, it's true, I sometimes (often) wish I did. But that's not the case for us right now. Even though we have an end unit, our side grass is often a community dog-peeing spot. And if you live in a townhome development, you so know what I mean.

Therefore, we don't really play out there. Okay, ever.

You have to maximize your outdoor space in other ways. Adding a deck. Making a patio. Playing in your driveway. Those kinds of things.

We added a big 'ole deck about a year or two ago (totally cannot remember), and it has been great. It's nice to eat out there, although it's burny-hot out there from about 2pm-7:30pm, and even umbrella's don't give you relief with the direction of the sun. Still, though. We love it. We have a water table out there, kids picnic table, adult sitting chairs and tables--it's nice. I should get photos of that sometime. For now, you can see it this way:


For a townhouse, it is a BIG deck. It really is. So we love it. But this year, once we decided to take our house off the market, we knew we needed to do something with the underneath space. It didn't get enough sun to make the grass grow properly. It kind of became a little dumping ground for our pup (truth), and it was kinda gross and buggy back there. AKA: never, ever went back there. Creepy-town.

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So, we decided to put in a rock patio beneath the deck. The area was sloped, so it needed to be graded & we hired Declan's brother to do the work with his team of guys (he owns a contracting business). Putting brick pavers or something fancier would have been thousands of dollars more, and honestly? I don't plan on being in this house long enough to enjoy that kind of return. So we went with the fun beachy stone, and slate pieces for some sturdiness in areas. And NOW we have a nice, fun spot where we spend a lot of time lately.


Eme has dollar store toys galore under here. She digs & plays in the stones (she's way past the age of putting stuff like stones in her mouth, for the record), she makes hills, she fills buckets, she dumps buckets--rinse & repeat. She would sit and play in these stones for hours, and sometimes we do. Who knew.



Did you know people are making stone boxes for their kids instead of sandboxes these days? They're cleaner, and also the manufactured sand has warnings for 'cancer causing' stuff on it. Scary. We didn't really plan this to be a giant play box for Eme, but it's kind of fun this way, too.

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We installed swings, too. I got a baby swing for $2 at a yardsale (which sure beats the $24.99 it sells for in stores), and then we got Eme the 'big girl swing'. She likes her choice of swings, and enjoys both thoroughly---but one is really there for a certain baby sister that's coming along.

Daddy likes the swings, too.
Since these photos, I've added a bird feeder (my kid is obsessed with bird watching), rearranged a few things---but overall, we kind of love our new little outdoor space. Declan power washed the sides of the house and got it all clean down there, so I'm way less skurred of the bugs and stuff (I'm a wuss).

Playing out there has quickly become part of our nightly routines when we can--getting her all tuckered out before bedtime, and extra dirty before bathtime. It's a good time.


And sometimes, just sometimes, on a hot day--....a water fight breaks out.


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That little investment of adding the rock patio has already proven it's worth. We're loving it, and have been enjoying some of this Memorial Day Weekend hanging out  down there.

Speaking of which---have a happy Memorial Day, friends.

20 comments:

  1. Looks like you make good use of your space!!! Love the little swing set!!

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  2. Looks awesome, what a great use for the space!!

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  3. What a great use of the space! I love it. I was just reading about the rock box that they built over on Young House Love and telling my husband we may need one of those for our baby on the way. Love it!

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  4. I've been seeing rock boxes and love the idea. I HATE sand, unless it's the white type on a crystal clear beach. We have a scary area out back too that involves no grass growing, dog "stuff", and I fear many bugs. If we weren't leaving I'd think seriously about borrowing your idea. :) LOVE your deck, by the way.

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  5. Katie this is fabulous! I love everything about your outdoor spaces! Beautiful deck and such a fun place for your girls to play as they grow! New to your blog, but I love it! I'm over here at http://courtalexandria.blogspot.com

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  6. Great space!

    We have rock in our front yard around sidewalks (very large area too) and our girls LOVE to play in them. Buckets, shovels and rocks...hours of entertainment. ;)

    Love the swings!

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  7. That looks awesome! I've never heard of a rock box instead of a sandbox, what a great idea!

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  8. I can't wait for Chase to stop putting EVERYTHING in his mouth! Love your deck. So smart to use that space underneath!

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  9. Looks fantastic! We just added pea gravel under our play set and the kids are loving it.

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  10. Way to make the most out of your space. Looks great and E sure looks to enjoy it.

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  11. Looks like the perfect use of space! We may need to build a rock box stat.

    PS- love Eme's dress. She looks good in blue :)

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  12. Sure, I'd love to come over and play :)

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  13. I really like what you did with the spot. It looks like a really fun place for little ones to play.

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  14. What a great idea! It sounds like the whole family is enjoying the extra space.

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  15. Such a great idea and it looks great! What a great way to make a brand new space for your family :)

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  16. Well, that makes sense about the pebbles because my kids love to play in those at the parks that have them. So glad you made such great use of the space!

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  17. We are about to do this under our patio too! We initially sodded the area but it is just too much work keeping it watered and nice. Our area has also become the dogs' potty area but I need an enclosed (ours is fenced in) space that isn't isn't direct sun light to play with Kate!

    I actually started talking to Alex about a backyard (if it can really even be called that since it is tiny thanks to living in the city) revamp after seeing some of your IG pictures! So thanks for the idea/ motivation to get things moving along'

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