Outdoor Oasis

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I like to garden.  In the past I would look at magazines and try to 100% mimic what I seen.  I hated it each and every-time, it never felt like me and to be honest the upkeep felt more like work than it did relaxing.

So the past two year I said no more and started to set my yard up the way I would enjoy.

So rule number one for the perfect Outdoor Oasis is do what makes you happy!  If you are quirky than add quirky touches, if you like the vintage look add antiques to your yard.
This is your paradise make sure it fits your needs.

I had a super old table and chair set that was so comfy, but I disliked the colors.  So one day I went to the store and got some spray paint.  In a last ditch effort to save them I painted my table (that was once green) bright yellow and my chairs a tealish blue.  Now I love them, so before you throw something old out make sure you can't make it fit your style better.  This could save you money!  It would have cost me at least $200 to replace my set... Instead it cost me $15 in paint.

Shade and comfort were the next top two things I needed.  For me sitting in the shade with a good book is a perfect stay-cation.  I have several types of chairs since I like to switch it up.
I want something I can plop down onto throw my legs over the edge and get lost in a book with. 
  So set the scene with furniture that you can not only relax in, but can also be proud to show off when you entertain.

The next huge part of my Oasis was flowers/plants and decorating.  

Pick colors that make you happy.  For me I like black, white and red.  So I tired to pick flowers/plants that showed this off.

Please note I started most of my flowers from seeds....  So we are still a bit on the small side.

The green stems you see in my hanging basket are Nasturtium - Night and Day.  So they will eventually look like this:
I planted them all over the yard and in my baskets, they are a shade plant and so far have been pretty low maintenance.  It is my first year growing them so fingers crossed they keep being an easy plant.
The white fencing I got from the dollar store.  Super cheap and makes a good no dog barrier :).  My pups still stick their noses in, but now they don't step there any more.
The cute red ladder was a yard sale find and the Winnie the pooh is my kids addition to the garden.

In this photo if you know anything about me you will notice the back lab right away.  I lost Lucy my lab in December and it broke my heart.  Now though I am able to look back and smile because even though I miss her she was a great dog and an amazing friend.  So my garden wouldn't be complete without her.
Speaking of Lucy I was able to add her plaque a few weeks ago to my memorial garden
Again the plants are new so you may not be to impressed with their size yet.
And please don't judge me I am SOOOO far behind on pulling weeds!!

Next I want to mention most things can be re-purposed! 
First was a metal bucket.  It has been sitting in my shed for a few years now and I finally decided to use it or give it away...
I have to say I'm pretty glad I kept it.

 My grandfather broke his wheelbarrow and was trying to get someone to take it to the junkyard.  I hopped in my car and told him I would take it off his hands for him...

I got as many large rocks for my yard that I could find and propped it up.  I know my Japanese weeping willow is blocking a lot of the view, but I tried to make it look like the wheel barrow tipped and  flowers are popping up inside and flowed out into the area in front.   I also added a cute Japanese maple to the middle.  There are so many seeds in there I'm hoping in a few weeks it fills out more and is filled with pretty flowers.
I always try to think big picture and imagine what the end result will be.

Speaking of big picture when I first moved into my home I planted 5 lilies in my yard.  I was told they would come back each year, this was great a flower that kept giving.....  I didn't know at the time just how giving it truly was.
Soon they will have pretty orange flowers, but I'm sure you can see that is a lot more than 5!  They keep multiplying and I LOVE IT!

Speaking of multiplying last year I was heartbroken when I thought to try my hand at strawberries....  My bush died in the first week.
Now this year it came back with a vengeance and I even have a few bushes popping up that I didn't plant.

I know silly to get excited over a plant growing!  It does make me happy though to see something I planted grow and flourish.  I started several other seeds and I'm waiting to transplant them.
(You can see my painted table in this photo and one of my teal chairs in the back!)
Above you can see my sunflowers.  These are the mammoth sunflowers..
So you see this cute little guy who already made his way to my yard:
Eventually he will be 12 feet tall!!  And the flower he gives will be bigger than my head!

These are a few more Night and Days I need to add to my yard.

My best advice for growing seeds is make sure you read up on them.  Some plants love the sun other prefer shade and a few tricksters like a little of both.

Always follow the spacing rule.  Otherwise you will stunt their growing and not give them the proper chance they need to grow.
Keep up on watering and if you are a lazy gardener like me get low maintenance plants.

And I think good soil is a must!

Add a few touches as you go, this year I added a new weeping willow tree to my yard.

And take things slow!!!  One of my favorite things about my garden is how I slowly add little touches.  I always keep an eye out for great deals or yard-sale finds.  I have my house since 2007 and have slowly been adding little things here and there.  
My brother and I have huge plans this year for my deck and fingers crossed in a few weeks I will have a DIY post about how to make an outdoor bar with pallets and cinder blocks....

And never get discouraged I have killed pumpkins for 7 years in my garden.....  Yes that is 7 years of sadly deceased pumpkins lol But don't worry I have a feeling, 2015, year number 8 is going to be my pumpkin patch year!!!  

Keep an eye out over the next few weeks for more garden and outdoor posts.