Monday, June 13, 2011

A tour of our 1 acre+ Homestead

Six years ago this month we moved into our home. Though we were happy with the place we had found it was in reality a pretty drab place. The house was a white house with grey doors (I think they had never been painted so they were just primer) and black/grey shingle and around the front of the house there were a bunch of grey landscaping rocks with three large boulders. The lawn was very uncared for (scraggly and some places it was dead) but there were several nice trees. Besides the trees and rocks there was no other landscaping done. Inside all the walls were painted cream and the carpets were once cream but were stained. The basement was unfinished. Don't get me wrong- we were very happy with the place we had found because not only would it work for then but also we could see potential.

 After 6 years it is fun to look back and see the progress that has been made into making this place into a home. What we have done did not happen the first year nor are we done with the fixing up. Slowly but steadily we are trying to turn this place into a home that is useful and beautiful for us.

  I thought today it would be fun to take you on a tour of the outside of our house. So here we go....

The top picture is our house as you see it coming down our lane (or driving by one way on the road) . I painted the doors brown and we also reshingled the roof with brown shingles (Ours had gone bad prematurely so we were able to get money through the warranty to replace them.)
  We also removed all the little rocks from the landscaped area, we laid down weed barrier cloth, planted some flowers and shrubs and put down mulch. The plants here are mainly for decoration and to feed the bees and hummingbirds. I did also plant some blueberry bushes and lingonberry plants here but they haven't actually done that well.
 Above is our view of the yard (to the southwest of our house) when you come out our front door. The grass still isn't perfect but generally it looks pretty green and nice. Ken installed a sprinkler system (which might not be totally necessary here in MN but Ken grew up in Nevada and was used to having one there and it has been nice) as well as outdoor faucets by the garden and also on the other side of the yard for ease in watering trees and washing up outside.

 On the far edge of the lawn above we planted a line of lilac bushes. We were able to get a bunch of small plants from a friend. They haven't started blooming yet but we are hoping some of them will next year! On the other side of the lilac bushes is a line of trees and in that line up we planted a couple of cherries and apple trees. After the trees there is a little slope that goes down to the garden.
On the slope I am working on planting a lot of perennials, wildflowers and herbs. I have a lot going but am continually adding new ones. I really, really prefer flowers that come back year after year!

One that I love, and that is blooming abundantly this year, is Iris. I haven't purchased any iris but a couple of friends have cleaned out their patches and offered me a bunch of bulbs and I gladly said "Yes!".

Down from the little flower slope is our garden. Ken fenced it in for me as it is not uncommon for us to have deer wander through our yard and they like to eat tasty garden stuff. This end of the garden faces the road. Along the end I have another bunch of irises. In our garden I use carpet strips to make some of the paths and also newspaper covered with pulled weeds. Both of the things help to keep the weeds at bay. Another thing that I have started using to help prevent weeds is black tarps that we were able to get free from the lumberyard my brother works at. We lay them down (and weight it down so it doesn't blow away) and then cut holes to plant tomatoes, peppers, melons, cucumbers, cabbage and broccoli and more through.

This is a picture of the garden from the other end. On this end we have our compost bin (made from pallets), a couple of apple trees (one it pretty tiny in the circle of rocks and the other is in the corner that got cut off the picture), a grape vine, the strawberry bed, my main herb garden, Mara's flower bed (in the corner at the front of the picture around the apple tree), Megan's little garden, a few raspberry bushes and some rhubarb plants that aren't doing well. Writing that list makes me realize that we have squished quite a bit in a little bit of space!

 Over by the end of the garden that I just showed you is Clover's House (our rabbit), the sandbox and the tree fort. The picture above is taken from the lane and you can see the tree fort and sandbox off in the distance. We also have a rocker (see-saw sort of thing) that my brother made from an old electric spool.

 Our deck goes off the east side of our house. Below it we store kids' bikes and our trailer. On it we grill and I try to keep some potted plants. The one in the corner is some strawberries. Going down the stairs from our deck you can see our fire pit where we like to cook outside and our bee yard

 Turning the corner to go on the North side of our house is where I have tied up clothesline in between trees. Someday I think it would be fun to have a regular clothesline but this certainly works for now. Along this northern wall of our house is a bank of Lilies of the Valley. Friends gave me these plants and they have spread really well. They bloomed like crazy this year and it smelled so good around them! I loved opening our bedroom window and we could smell them in our room too.

 Beyond the Lily of the Valley, on the back side of the garage, are some hostas. They are doing very well on this northern side as well. I had found some of these to buy at a garage sale (some pretty small plants) and then a friend was getting rid of hers and gave me some more.

This is the view of the West side of our house and garage (in between our house and the road). In this area we have planted some small pine trees (that we were able to dig from my parents acreage) and I recently added some plum trees. This area is one were we would like to add even more trees in an effort to have a little more privacy from our road. I am also considering making a bit of a "hill" in this area, mostly because some of the trees that were already here were dug around leaving them with just little mounds of dirt around their roots. I would like to raise the dirt in general and then plant more things (like blueberry bushes) up on the mound. We are also thinking it would be fun to add a white picket fence along the road side of our property.
 Along the west end of the garage I also have another perennial flower bed. There are a lot of blues and lavender in it which I love though later on there will be more colors. I have also added some herbs in here as well.

Well that concludes my tour of our place. Thinking about all that has been done makes me dream about all the more we (With God's help!) could do. I love to think about more ways to make our place a little more productive so that we could do more "living off the land". What do you think you would add if you had our place?

Linking to Homestead Revival


Betsy said...

You guys have done a lot of work, and it looks really nice!

Have you ever thought about adding shutters to the front of the house? Maybe a dark plum color?

joyfilled said...

Wow your home is beautiful!! I love what you've done with the whole place. It looks so peaceful!

Becky R said...


Maria said...

Very nice! Great tour!

Nola said...

Very nice! I really like it. Have you considered something like window boxes for flowers? They'd be a lot of work to keep watered though and then they also need to be bought every year. Although my mom does use perennials in pots.

I would put a "real" clothesline in if it were my place, since its a lot of work walking up and down the line. But that's just me. At least you have one! :)

I think your place is beautiful and I love all the space.

Anonymous said...

I think you've done a great job with the space available!


Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

It's looking very nice! I think the line of lilacs will be just beautiful when they grow more and bloom. I enjoyed the tour!

Abbi said...

Thanks everybody!
Betsy, I hadn't ever thought about adding shutters. I didn't used to like them in fact I took them off when we had our double wide (because that was a typical double wide look that I wanted to get away from- a come to think of it they were plum colored!) but I think you are right that they would add some character to our very boxy white house. My dream is to actually add a fireplace and a big stone chimney up the outside to give it some more character.

Nola, I do love window boxes but I am not sure if I am up to the effort they entail. It has crossed my mind however.


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