Summer and Flowers and a Deck

  I am so happy to finally have Spring weather and finally able to plant some flowers and get our backyard done.

This was our hot mess in the backyard before they poured the new driveway and built the garage.

After we had the new drive way poured and the new garage built we still had a mud pit in the backyard after winter.  We were literally walking the planks every time we had to go to the garage.  The little bit of grass that was left after construction was not good.
We had new grass put in and some stone put down where the new deck was going to be built by Terry.

Terry decided to build our deck himself.  We got bids from different places to have a new deck or cement patio put in but the bids were in the high thousands to put in a simple deck or patio!!! Yep projects like this in Illinois and the area we live are soooo expensive.

So Terry said he would figure out a new deck area and build it himself.  So he began to frame it out.  He framed it over the stone and weed protection.

We wanted to use composite decking for the no maintenance it gives.  We have had decks in the past made of wood and every year it would need to be sanded and painted or re stained.  With our harsh winters and all the watering I did with plants on the deck it was a pain to maintain a wood deck.  So composite looks like wood but there is absolutely no maintenance.

Here is our new deck that Terry designed and built.   I love this man and his tools.  Now we have a sweet spot to eat El Fresco and I have my lounge chair space to soak up sunshine and read.  The new rails and posts leading to the down stairs entrance is made of composite too.  We literally have nothing to do to maintain this look.   I am so happy with how this turned out.

It is so nice to have space for my flowers too.

The composite railing system is a nice touch and maintenance free too.  This sweet chippy vintage planter was given to me for my birthday from a couple of good friends.  I love it out on my new deck.  It was fun to plant these flowers in this new planter.  Thank you Pat and Sandy for this sweet gift.

I found these cute little green and white polka dot boots on clearance at Target.  I thought they were so cute to put out on the deck.

Terry also built these arbor trellis's at each corner of the back of the deck so I could have a couple of hanging baskets.

He built two of these.  One on each corner of the deck.

Back view of the trellis.

I also planted rose bushes at each side of the arbors.  Out along the fence I planted several hydrangea plants along the fence.  

I have always wanted to have hydrangea's and now I have them.  I hope as time goes on they will grow to be big and beautiful.

I am so excited to have an area for my sweet lounge chair.  

I love to soak up sunshine and read.  This lounger is such a relaxing retreat for me.

I am looking for a water fall decor piece for the patio.  I love to listen to the sound of water.  Soooo relaxing.

I love my small sanctuary out here.

I brought a few of my angels out to the patio for  the summer.

We also purchased a new outdoor table to eat El Fresco this summer.

Nice and comfy to sit and enjoy dinner or sit later in the evening to just relax and have a glass of wine.  I want to find some fun lights to string out here. 

I am on the hunt for a really sweet and unique patio umbrella.  I want something pretty with a pattern.  So if any of you have seen any pretty umbrella's let me know. 

I saw a cute buffalo check umbrella at Target but it has been sold out in stores and on line.  Hoping they might get more of those back in.

So there you have it.  A simple deck sanctuary made by Terry and his handy tools.  I have a place for a few flowers, my lounge chair and we have a nice little area to eat dinner outdoors.

My tiny cottage home now has an outdoor space for our use this summer.

We have come a long way from this hot mess.

One more thing to share before I close this post.  Remember my chippy cute chair.   I found a sweet chippy table to compliment this cute chippy chair.

I got this sweet table from Jeanine at Chippy Shabby's  sale at her home a while back.  Just the most unique and cutest little table ever!

I am off to Orlando and the "Happiest Place on Earth"  Hoping the tropical storm that is moving through the state this past week will weaken and move out.  We are looking at possible rain all next week while we are there.  Ugh!!!

We usually go this time of year to Florida because the weather is so beautiful.  Not a lot of rain and it is not hot and humid yet.  So I guess it is crazy weather every where this year.  We will make the best of it.

Terry's grandmother always said to hang a rosary in the window if it looks rainy and you want sunshine.  So I have her special rosary she gifted me before she passed. 

I am taking it with us and most certainly will be hanging it in the window!

Prayers please for some good weather.

Have a great week.  I will have the front yard flowers to share with you when I get back from our vacation.

Create Bake and Grow


  1. OMG I LOVE IT! I love the trellises but also I love your lounge chair! Is that a water proof cushion on it?

  2. Kris, I love it !! Everything you have done to the backyard is just beautiful. Terry is a whiz with his tools . I think the arbors at the corners is the sweetest touch. His building and your decorating skills are the perfect match. I do pray you have good weather and a safe trip to and from your vacation. Blessings to all of you, xoxo, Susie

  3. Your new deck and back yard are wonderful Kris. I can see you spending days out there.

  4. Wow! I cannot believe the transformations - all of them, but especially this one - that you two have made in such a short time, Kris. I know it seemed like forever, but what a special place you have now. When you get home from vacation it'll seem like you're still on vacation, having this new space complete. I'm sure you'll find just the right umbrella, too. Enjoy your time away! Great job, Terry!

  5. Lindo deck, amei.
    Tenha um ótimo fim de semana.

  6. It turned out so nice, Kris! Terry did an awesome job! I know you are thrilled to have your yard planted and the deck done. It's going to be a peaceful and relaxing spot! Best wishes for sunny weather on your trip. Crazy weather indeed. We're already in the 90's...yikes. I hope it goes back to normal or our summer is going to be miserable.

  7. It’s GORGEOUS!! Seriously Kris, I love everything about this space, and wow, Terry is something else! Love the arbors he built. That man can wield a hammer like nobody’s business.

    Composite decking is the ONLY way to go imo. We’ve had both and we will NEVER go back to real wood. Such a pita!

    I have some time now so I’m gonna look for umbrellas for you :).


  8. Your backyard transformation is amazing! I just can't believe how talented Terry is with building that deck and arbors himself - and installing it all. As you know, we're having our little front wood porch torn out and having a new sidewalk put in plus a new porch. I would love a composite porch, but the problem is that it's open at the bottom and we have groundhogs that are burying under there. So we were thinking of a cement slab to keep the critters out. I'm not a fan of cement; it looks harsh, but we don't know what else to do. We're still thinking about it. But anyway, the quote we got for the SHORT sidewalk up to the house plus the slab was thousands - like you mentioned. Of course, this includes tearing out the old porch and hauling the materials away, but still. Yowza!

    1. PS - Have a wonderful vacation and I'm hoping no rain for you!

  9. Liz Marie Galvan on Instagram has this gorgeous umbrella from World market! looks like it could work for you, too!

  10. Oh wow, your deck is fabulous. I love the arbors too. You two have done so much and your new home is looking amazing. I love it all. Have fun on your vacation.

  11. I just checked out a few sites, Amazon, Wayfair, Houzz, hayneedle, etc. The bad news is Target seems to be the only retailer selling that buffalo plaid umbrella. The good news is they’re saying it’s ‘temporarily’ out of stock. If I were you I’d wait until they get them back. It’s worth it!

  12. I love your pretty lawn and deck. Everything is so lush and pretty! Terry did a great job, didn't he!

    Safe travels, and have a great time!


  13. That's a wonderful result from all his labor! Think of the savings too - he's a keeper!

  14. Good Morning Kris
    Honestly I don't know where to begin* the deck is wonderful. I love that material you used. We were thinking of redoing our deck also with it because You dont' have to sand and paint it every year. I just love that. Terry really did such a great job. I love the arbor's he built also with your hanging plants. They are beautiful. I love the entire thing. You both are going to enjoy spending time out there in the summer and even fall and spring. What a transformation from what it looked like
    have a great time on your vacation***

  15. Omigosh send Terry up here - I am so in need of direction for how to extend my deck!!! It looks beautiful. Enjoy your weekend xoxoxo

  16. Just brilliant as usual! Your new deck is so pretty. It reminds me of your old place with all the lovely touches. Beautiful job! Many happy hours out on your deck!

  17. What a lovely deck. you have dressed it beautifully. The arbors look great. Surrounded by flowers is a great feeling. Your hubby is so handy. Enjoy Kris. Also enjoy your travel to the Happiest place on earth. xo

  18. The lounge chair is back! I've always loved that beautiful piece and am so happy you now have a place for it! Terry did an outstanding job on the deck! Bravo! Those trellises are great too and a very clever idea! Love your gorgeous flowers! You always have the biggest, most stunning hanging baskets! I know you'll both enjoy many years dining and relaxing in this new paradise! Oh I hope and pray it doesn't rain in Orlando while you're there! We're supposed to get rain for like the next week so maybe it'll be here in SC and not in FL! I think it's supposed to be moving north. Keeping fingers crossed! I'm going to put a rosary in the window! Never heard of that. Take care, have a safe and fun trip and I'll look forward to your next post! Hugs!💜

  19. What a beautiful spot! It turned out great. Thank you Kris for posting all the lovely pictures. I live in Pennsylvania and it's been raining all week. I need the sun if only for a little while.

  20. I came online specifically to check and see if you posted any garden pictures yet - yippeee, I'm so happy to see this amazing progress at your new home, Kris! You have really made some wonderful improvements, what a great place you have to relax now! Enjoy Florida and I'll be looking forward to those front garden pix when you get back! xo

  21. Kris,
    Your backyard is absolutely stunning!!! So bright, cozy and cheery! Your husband is a keeper. What a wonderful carpenter. You both have put your stamp on your beautiful new home. I bet your neighbors love it!! Great job Terry and Kris...what a team! Enjoy Florida now!!

  22. I'm so happy for you. This looks amazing. I know it has been such a labor of love for Terry to give to you. I wish you a wonderful summer of lounging and dining under the stars. Gorgeous flowers.

  23. It's gorgeous, Kris! And that Terry is a gem. I see you like petunias as much as I do. Does Peggy like to sun herself on the deck?

  24. Beautiful Kris, and mainance free is that much better. I sure you’ll be decking it out with all your floral beauty Your known for. Enjoy that wonderful space and all it inspires

  25. Amazing Kris, you plants look beautiful. Happy to see your lounger back and prettier than ever.

    Terry did an awesome job. Love the deck but the arbors are stunning

    We haven't planted yet. It has been raining on and off for 2 weeks. It goes from 80 to low 60s nonstop.

    Have a super safe and fun trip


  26. Gosh, Kris! You and Terry are quite the team! This project looks incredible! I love those words, "no maintenance" for your deck! I need that composite stuff on my poor "chippy" deck! lol Congrats on a great job, both of you! Love the table/chair combo indoors, too!

  27. I've been (im)patiently waiting to see your new deck! It is WONDERFUL. Terry is such a wonder... I know we ALL wish we had one of him at our house! What type of supports did he use to hold the end up that is laying on the rock and plastic? Using that composite is such a great idea too... I'm sure it's more spendy but like you said, will last for years and no maintenance, which is a GOOD thing. The flowers are all gorgeous and those arbors at each corner....... just wonderful. I'm so happy to see your lounge back... was wondering if you'd have a spot for it again. Love your chippy plant stand outside, plus the little table by the chippy chair too... and oh.. those hydrangeas will be stunning as they grow. I've never had much luck with them for some reason but sure do love them. I sure would think there'd be some flowered patio umbrellas "out there" somewhere... I've seen some with stripes on them. I'm also thinking "umbrella" for our table, but we get high winds here occasionally and never know when a gust will come through and rip it inside out! We've been using a canopy but need a new cover and can't seem to find one to fit our frame. I love the umbrellas that tilt so you can keep out the hot sun in the afternoons. Well Kris... you two have done it again with your wonderful (and enviable) talents! Hugs to you and enjoy that trip! Marilyn

  28. Your new deck and all the flowers are so pretty.....I absolutely LOVE your chaise lounge!!!! Have a wonderful trip :o)

  29. Terry did such a great job on the deck and you a beautiful job dressing it. I hear you about going composite. Our long weekend is being spent stripping worn and chipped stain and restaining the deck AGAIN. What I'd do for a composite. Have a wonderful time in Florida and I have no doubt Terry's grandmother and that rosary are going to work their magic!
    P.S. Have you seen our DIY Water Wall? Terry could build something like it with his eyes closed. We love the privacy it offers and the trickling sound of the water running down the glass.

  30. Everything looks so pretty! You will surely enjoy your outdoor space. I hope your hydrangea fair well. I bought 2 today to give them a go in a differing area of my yard. We have such heat here in the summer, that they will only tolerate morning sunlight. I hope I can get them to thrive. What colors did you chose. Probably doesn't matter too much as you can influence the color with the alkaline vs acid of you soil with differing forms of fertilizer. Curious what type of books do you like to read? Enjoy you space. Terry and his tools are definitely keepers.

  31. BRAVO BRAVO to that man of YOURS! Gosh, those trellis that he created, and your lounge my friend, you are SET for the summer! And to watch your rose climbers grow will be super exciting. Everything looks marvelous and I wish you nothing but happiness as you allow the sun to warm you through the years in this precious little cottage.

  32. You two are truly amazing. The design is perfect, the arbors are outstanding and the flowers add the perfect pop of color! Hope it stays sunny in your backyard all summer long and that the rain in Disney is all gone by the time you get there! Have fun!!

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  34. Your backyard looks absolutely gorgeous, Kris! You and your sweet husband are an amazing team. John and I have a loooooong way to go to get to this point LOL! Your before and after gives me hope :)

    Have a wonderful time in Florida!

  35. Your house has definitely become a home.

    I am surprised that your house did not come with a garage, but I remember visiting friends in Minnesota and noticing that they didn't have a garage either. Is that common in the midwest?

  36. Such an amazing transformation! I'm in love with your lounge chair! All of your flowers are so pretty too.

  37. Wow!! Your deck and outdoor space turned out stunning. Love the lounge chair!!!!

  38. Kris, when you go for something, you really go! That Terry must have the fastest tools in the land! It all looks so beautiful and the sound of running water will make it perfection. Do you plant your own hanging baskets? I have seen nothing that full around here. Hope you are having a great time, but know you are looking forward to getting back home to enjoy all the beauty you (and Terry's tools) have made..Happy Sunday..xxoJudy

  39. Glad to see again Your gorgeous lounge chair in a such beautiful space. Very well done

  40. There is o stopping you two! Terry is quite the gem! Those maintenance free decks are the best! I love the two arbors he made- so cute! The new table will be perfect for outdoor dining. Here is a link to a company we ordered cushions and an umbrella from. This is a 7 1/2 ft. size but there are many others and lots of colors and patterns.

  41. Such a darling cottage and you two are amazing! The energy, the foresight, the planning, the implementation! Goodness, gracious my friend-pure perfection and inspiration! Now rest! Wishing you all the best always and always!

  42. Terry is amazing! your back yard looks wonderful, Kris! I LOVE the deck, two arbors, and EVERYTHING you have done to decorate the deck, and outdoor living space. You must be delighted to have such a lovely spot to spend the warm summer months...relaxing and soaking up the sunshine.
    Have a nice vacation.

  43. Terry is a wood magician, Kris. The deck and the trellises are fantastic. What a beautiful place to sit and relax. Good thing you have such a sweet and handy hubby.
    I hope the weather changed its mind and the sun came out. It would be such a shame if it would be raining during your Florida vacation.
    xo Julia

  44. Oh beautifully this all turned out! It is really wonderful...and I can see why you need a vacation! Have fun!

  45. It looks wonderful! That composite decking is great stuff. I love the arbors too. What a great idea! I'm so happy you're getting sunshine and flowers!

  46. Your deck, flowers and backyard retreat look wonderful. I like the arbors. What a great addition. Save travels and have a great time.

  47. Lovely relaxing area to renew your spirit!

  48. Wow, this turned out gorgeous---and how nice to have a clean dry bug free space to relax. Bless Terry and his tools. We are planning on replacing ours next year...too many expenses this year...Great job!

  49. Oh, my heart! How sweet is your backyard, Kris. The deck is amazing. I just love the trellises on the corners. Brilliant! Your angels are so precious and add so much romance to your sanctuary. Love your lounge chair. I picture you stretched out, reading, drinking iced tea or lemonade, soaking up some rays. Livin' the dream, my friend! LOL Hugs!

  50. Kris, it's so beautiful out there! I knew it would be. You dream it and Terry builds it. You are quite the pair!!

  51. Hello Kris, oh your husband did a great job building the deck. I do hope that he had some help with doing that!!! I love that you have such a handy husband and you save so much money!! :)
    Hope you are having a nice time away.
    Enjoy the holiday weekend.
    Julie xo

  52. Hi Kris, Your deck and yard are coming together beautifully. Do you leave the lounge chair out all the time during the summer?

    PS: Your husband is so handy.

  53. I don't know how the heck I missed this post. Wait- I must have been gone. Kris, it turned out fantastic! What a great job Terry did building it and, as always, you did a wonderful job making it "home". I love that you have this spot and can sneak out there and just enjoy life a bit. It is just of these days on my way to Mindy's I am going to give you a call, stop by and drink a big ol' Diet Coke with you!
    I am so glad he got it done before summer hit, too. xo Diana

  54. ps. We have had Trex-Deck for going on a dozen years here and it still looks like brand new. We love it....power wash it and it is squeaky clean when needed.

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  56. Kris, I somehow missed this post. Wow girl, what a transformation! Your hubby is certainly a handy man to have around the house. :) It all looks wonderful!!

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