Courtesy Madison Owens
Having an outdoor space for relaxing and entertaining isn’t just a luxury for me, it’s a necessity. Being cooped up in the house all winter doesn’t sound so bad in November and December, when visions of reading in front of a fire dance through my head, but come February, a different vision begins to play—one that involves kicking back in the good rocking chair (the wooden one is the best seat outside the house) while watching my son dig in the sandbox or my dogs run around in search of the next plant to uproot from the garden bed.
For me, the only way to stave off the impending delirium fostered by seasonal impatience is to plan for that perfect summer day. I select my flowers, fruits and veggies, mapping out how and where each plant will function in my garden this year. I rope my husband into designing outdoor sitting areas and other fun stuff, like a wooden swing set.
I even determine when I can start the project and how long it should take. To help keep myself and my husband (aka contractor) on track, I often plan a function to show off our new accomplishment, leaving a little buffer in our schedule for mishaps and unexpected delays. It makes the process slightly more harried and my nerves all the more frayed, but claiming bragging rights at a party filled with friends and family more than makes up for it.
One such project was our pergola. (Stay tuned to the May/June issue of Hobby Farm Home for step-by-step instructions to build your own pergola!) It began its service last summer as soon as construction was complete, providing shade on the hottest days and sunshine on mild ones. After reading “Beauty and the Feast," I’ve decided it could use a few finishing tendrils to add that lush, overgrown look that so many enviable gardens sport—not to mention that it would give me yet another venue for growing fruits and veggies that is slightly less accessible to our destructive doggy duo!
If you’re not convinced that fusing the outdoor-indoor connection is more than mere luxury, check out “Porch Appeal.” Nancy Mann Jackson demonstrates how the value of a properly designed and constructed porch goes beyond aesthetics, adding square footage to your overall living and dining space as well as providing an opportunity to bask in the connection to nature that we all desire but too often forget to relish.
Perhaps you already have the perfect porch and are in need of another venue for outdoor enjoyment. If that’s the case, read “Cooking, Alfresco” for ideas on how to set up an outdoor cooking space for not only feeding and entertaining guests but also for preparing and processing your garden bounty.
Summer is just around the corner, so don’t delay! Get your plans for the season in order and get started on that next must-do project so that your days of sipping cool beverages and soaking up the farm’s scenery can be that much longer.
Now, where did I put that to-do list?