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THE MUD IS GONE! A Farmhouse Exterior Update That Has Us Seeing The End Of The (Phase 1) Tunnel

It’s been a minute since I showed you what is happening on the property and today we are bridging that gap. Like many a renovation, we truly didn’t intend to bite off this much when we bought the property (“A fun fixer,” they said. “We’ll do most of it ourselves,” they insisted). At times it felt like more than what we could chew, and as we looked at how much we had left to eat we decided to shove the whole thing in our mouth, fingers pinching our nose to just get her done. We figured it would be one big bandaid to pull off instead of years of extended muddy construction. And as we approach the end, we are obviously so glad and grateful that we went for it. So today’s post is to catch you up, show you where we are at (as of last week) with the backyard, and then we are going to break down all the elements as they come to life in separate posts. Speaking of, spring has sprung and the weather in the PNW has been unbelievable – and y’all, Oregon can not be beat right now. Brian and I are absolutely loving almost every aspect of living here.

Let’s catch you up: Almost three years ago we hired Studio Campo to design the “farmstead” and hired Northwest Native Landscapes as our landscape contractor to execute (a huge thanks to Dan’l, Scott, and his team for the execution of this during many, many, many rainy days with two fairly impatient clients inside). The construction started last August (I believe) and the scope just kept growing and growing so the project took a lot longer than any of us predicted, and yes, cost much more than we will ever want to admit out loud. Someday we might add it up (kinda like how I blogged about the Portland project loss years after), but for now, I’m going to stay comfortably in the state of denial and just try to enjoy and appreciate it all.

We’ve done so much!! The flagstone, irrigation, plants, Soake Pool, the “greenhouse”, the split-rail fence, the now smaller sports court, and a new driveway. It’s a lot – and we are equal parts grateful to be in this position and have this our home and excited to be done and able to enjoy it. As of this summer, we are going to be finished up to the edge of the sports court and the in the front just at the edge of the patio.

Does that mean there will be a phase 2? In some areas, yes (the orchard needs help to make the trees thrive), but I really hope not. There is half an acre full of blackberries, and then tons of pockets full of dense ivy/weeds/growth but those aren’t areas we need to use so until they have a purpose then no, we aren’t going to spend any time or resources there. We have more than enough as is…Also maintenance – EEEEKK.

The Evolution Of The “Backyard”

Four years ago, when we were still looking at this house before we bought it it looked like this:

It was pretty darn sweet. That’s Bear, their dog, who we spent three hours with while we fell swiftly in love with the property (and him). The big bushes were in front of the now back porch that opens to the backyard.

Here’s a better shot of it – this is right before the demo when they had taken out some of the vintage windows to repair (so that the demo crew didn’t, well, accidentally demolish them). But this gives you a better sense of the space/property.

Then a month later, halfway through the demo, we came up to visit. We were so naive to think that they could save and transplant all the plants, or reuse the brick. I know many of you will say how possible it is but that wasn’t the advice given to us nor our skillset. We tried, but the advice we got was that trying would cost far more and it wouldn’t work anyway. They said the same about the windows – but we all agreed that trying to save and reuse was worth it, even if it cost more than replacing (it was about the same, btw).

Move-In Week!!!

Here is what it looked like when we moved in – on a sunny day the dirt just looked like dirt, but as you can imagine it quickly turned to mud. I didn’t take many pictures of the mud – almost like how you only journal about your problems. But I found a few to give you a sense of what it was like for this last year.

But, like most renovations near the end, you kinda forget about some of the harder challenges – a remodeling amnesia that I think is a psychological tool our brain uses to help us do it again. I’m still processing some of the things that I learned (which per usual fall in the personal growth category for me) because I wasn’t the best version of myself during parts of this.

Almost Done – As Of Two Weeks Ago

It’s QUITE the transformation and unbelievably satisfying to see (even more so to live with every day). The grass is done, the plants are planted (small at first, exploding now) and the flagstone around the house is almost complete. All of you who have done landscaping projects in the past know that it takes 2-4 years before it looks like it was intended, but honestly, this looks AMAZING to me based on where we started. We really want this property to look natural and like it’s always been there, but y’all that is a challenge when you have to grade the entire thing to make sure that it drains right, and then put in fresh tiny little plants. So as of right now, it does look more professionally landscaped than it does a natural farmstead, but we hope that the vision (two summers from now) will come to life. I pushed hard for the grass to have little hills/mounds (or to be a clover lawn) but there were a lot of reasons to not do that from experts so we didn’t. Once all the wildflowers and ornamental grasses come up I think the whole space will be softened a lot.

The Soake pool is almost done, just in time for summer. I’ll give you a breakdown of the process soon, but essentially our Northwest Native Landscapes crew was doing the whole property with a lot of moving parts, so despite having it in the ground in February there were a lot of other things to do (and we weren’t going to use it surrounded by dirt anyway). So we think it will be done by next week. Since this photo was taken the hardscape is almost finished and the pool motor/cover/filter/heater are being finished. GAH!!!

I just realized that since these photos, our split rail fence even went in (which makes a massive difference) = instant-charm.

That’s our “greenhouse” which is admittedly not exactly a sweet little greenhouse anymore – it’s really a “pool house”. I have a lot to tell you – like why did we build it? (to hide the mechanics of the pool and utilize extra windows). Why are the doors lower than the windows? (funny story and it’s changing) How big is it? What are you going to do with it? How much does adding a structure like this cost? Does it have HVAC, plumbing, and electrical? I’ll get to all of that, I promise.

Eventually, the ground cover in between the flagstone will cover the mulch and make it all look more natural. The green of the grass almost looks fake, but y’all, after a year of mud back here we couldn’t love a patch of green MORE. Dan’l and his team did such an excellent job of prepping, grading, and mixing soil/sand so that even on the rainiest multi-day storms, it isn’t soggy – it drains beautifully (Brian can’t stop talking about this – he’s a proud grass dad right now). Extra credit for those who notice the gutter on the front well house/shed in the back falling down… Speaking of wells, we got our well recommissioned and repaired, so soon we’ll be using well water for irrigation, which as you can imagine will be helpful in the summer on a property this size. It rained a ton this winter so everything is extremely green but you can’t plant this many new plants without proper irrigation or they will die, so we are very grateful to tie it into the well and eventually offset the cost of fixing the well (which wasn’t cheap). Once roots are established we can minimize the watering.

Imagine a split rail fence between the sports court and the “pool house” and pool area. There is pea gravel, plantings (mostly wild grasses and meadow-scaping), and garden beds happening.

That is Scott, our project manager (Kaitlin caught us in the middle of a meeting) where we realized that we had put the future split-rail fence too close to the flagstone (our fault as we booked the fence guys and didn’t update the plans). It’s fixed now and looks so awesome. So many moving parts.

Here are some satisfying befores:

Progress!

To be clear, this is after we demo’d out the OG sports court (which wasn’t the original plan but it was so cracked and in such disrepair that we had to). Then we repoured a pickleball sized.

The angle is the same as this one…

It’s extremely fun to see Cali, Dan’l, and our vision coming to life. Trying to make this highly renovated property look “natural” and like it’s always been there (ahem, with a plunge pool, I know) has been such a challenge. Honestly, we were very worried along the way that it was going to look too suburban and manicured. It’s perfectly and professionally executed, which I’m so grateful, and only time will tell how natural it will look, once it’s all grown in. We are soooo happy it’s close to done, I can’t even express it to you.

Brian and I are not the type of people to wait til things are done to have people over, so don’t worry – we have already spent many afternoons out here on the sports court with friends and families. We are planning the summer pickleball tournaments now.

More to come soon, but boy are we feeling grateful that we had the help we clearly needed to execute something that we would never have been able to do ourselves. This summer will be very different than last and we made the decision over dinner the other night to stop any construction on the other buildings until fall (at the earliest). The garages are falling down and the old 1850s home on the property needs, well, everything. But after three years of this project we are ready to just sit and enjoy it for a few months, give our checkbook a break, and have some quiet moments with our kids out here this summer (and besides, our alpacas aren’t going to adopt themselves :))

*Design by Emily Henderson (me!), Studio Campo, and Northwest Native Landscapes
**Pretty Progress Photos by Kaitlin Green

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Robyn
1 year ago

Looks gorgeous! I’m actually a fan of a newly planted landscape. Watching those little plants grow over time is weirdly satisfying.

I’m wondering if you’re going to have a vegetable garden at some point? And are there still plans for Alpaca or other animals? Highly recommend chickens. We loved having fresh eggs.

Admin
1 year ago
Reply to  Robyn

oh yes. we are putting the veggie boxes together this weekend! hoping to still have a harvest this summer 🙂 and we need to talk about livestock. so many different opinions (even re chickens). right now leaning alpacas and teacup kuni kuni pigs (sounds very random now that I type it).

Misty
1 year ago
Reply to  Emily

You did it! It’s absolutely beautiful, Emily. And that grass looks photoshopped! Lol

It does not remind me of a hotel. My husbands grandparents had a farm just like this. Family reunions were there every year. It was a true farm, with cattle, but the main “home” area had a very similar feel. Ponds, not pools, a place for baseball or volleyball instead of pickle ball. My point is, your finishes are much nicer and “new” for now, but this is every bit of how I remembered their home. Fun AND peaceful. Whatever the soul needs, is there….

MelissaB
1 year ago
Reply to  Emily

Okay I had two kuni kuni pigs and they are fun but there is really no such thing as a teacup pig, just a pig that stays smaller if you don’t feed it a lot. Seriously! Also they want to eat A LOT all the time. They will be great if you have an enclosed space but they will snuffle and tear up things so chose wisely where they will live. Might be great if you want to get rid of the blackberry but mini goats would be better I think. They are also very much like dogs (some a bit smarter depending on the dog breed) They want care and attention, like to follow you around and will snip at fingers and toes so keep an open eye. Also they get dry skin so you have to grease them up, lol.

Jennifer
1 year ago
Reply to  Emily

Alpacas do live a good long time while chickens do not so you could be making a very long term commitment!

🥰 Rusty
1 year ago

Wowee!!!
That’s, well, it’s a LOT!!! 💥
I can’t quite wrap my head around the whole, gruelling ordeal.🥴
You all survived. It looks great. What an endurance!!

It most certainly will take at least 2 to 3 years to settle, petal, and not look so new and ‘constructed’.
Although I’m not sure if “natural” or having ‘always’ looked this way is possible in reality.
Less complete reconstruction would have been required for that.

Would’ve truly loved some included eco-friendly things, like solar panels, recycled gray water, less concrete, etc.
I can live in hope.
Maybe you’ll hire some goats to deal with the blackberries instead of poisons and machinery?🤞

It kinda looks like a niche, bespoke, small hotel, rather than a “farmhouse” per se, and that’s perfectly okay, coz it’s your house and your vibe, dream home, pool, sports court, etc.
All ye who say enjoy? 🤗 ENJOY!!!

Admin
1 year ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

I know. i think as the landscape grows in it will soften, but ‘natural’ is hard. but thats ok. we are LOVING IT. and yes to blackberries. And hey, we reduced the size of the sports court by 1/2 and planted so many trees!

Joyce Garrity
1 year ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

it’s a lovely estate.. yes, I see hotel.

MKK
1 year ago

For the impatient, remember three words: sleep, creep, leap. Plants sleep their first year, creep out their second year and leap their third year in the garden.

Admin
1 year ago
Reply to  MKK

OH i love that. thank you!

Karen
1 year ago
Reply to  MKK

That holds true. In fact, I have never had an old Grandpa saying hold more truth. Waiting for year 3 of my hydrangeas

Alexandre
1 year ago

It’s gonna be a dream!

Jen
1 year ago

Ahhh this is all so lovely! Since you are settling in as your forever home, it was worth doing all of this now and getting it how you want. Thanks for bringing us along for the ride.

KG
1 year ago

It’s looks lovely! It’ll be so satisfying to watch everything bloom and flourish!
You gotta keep at least some of the blackberries.. growing up we had them along the edge of our property and it was the absolute best to go out and pick them and have fresh blackberry jam, smoothies, or mash them with a little bit of sugar and cream for an after supper treat!

Admin
1 year ago
Reply to  KG

I AGREE. I wouldn’t call it a ‘fight’ between brian and I but we have very different feelings about blackberries – i grew up snacking on them all August and making all the things you said and want to do that with our kids. he didn’t so he just sees them as thorny invasives. so we are defintiely keeping an area for them.

Deb
1 year ago
Reply to  Emily

There are tools to use to pull the vines back when picking the berries so that the thorns are not as much of a problem. I feel certain Brian will change his mind once he has fresh berries on his cereal or you and the kids make some jam.

Jane
1 year ago
Reply to  Deb

I’d love to know more about these tools as we have lots of thorny blackberries on our land.

Jenn
1 year ago
Reply to  Emily

I love blackberries so much and they’re so $$ to buy. I don’t think I could get rid of blackberry bushes. 🙂

Shannon
1 year ago

As my people say, MAZEL!!! It’s beautiful and well-deserved. And there is still a home-spun feeling overall, like it evolved naturally over time. Enjoy!!!

KD
1 year ago

Holy cow! Amazing. Just amazing. I can imagine how overwhelming it must have felt mid-stream, but, wow, it’s dreamy and will only get better with time.

Reanna
1 year ago

WHOA!!! Looks awesome, and I’m glad you’re going to hit “pause” and just enjoy yourselves!

Katy
1 year ago

This makes me so happy! I remember last May/June when the weather in Portland was so horrible and you seemed so down…so I’m glad this May has been abnormally warm/beautiful to give you the other side of the coin! Your outdoor spaces are perfect to take advantage of the amazing Oregon summers, however long or short they may be 🙂 I can’t wait to see how it evolves over time.

Roberta Davis
1 year ago

What a huge undertaking! But the place will be like a resort! Maybe you should make the extra house an airbnb! 🙂 I would think the landscape maintenance alone would cost a lot. It looks wonderful, though!

Elise
1 year ago
Reply to  Roberta Davis

What a great idea, I’m sure people would really want to stay it looks so relaxing and peaceful

Kelly
1 year ago

Looks amazing! Love it! So fun to have some outdoor content. It’s so hard trying come by on the internet. First off this is my opinion on my limited experience. My daughter went to a school for 8 years that livestock. The families at the school participated in the care of the livestock on weekends and we did a lot of it. We had a llama, alpacas, sheep, goats, cow and chickens. Old goats are great! Young goats are a handful and really too much for the kids ( and myself) . The four different alpacas we had weren’t really into people. I’m not sure how typical this is? Our school only had rescue livestock so maybe that was the issue. The sheep were also not into people. The chickens were great but we decided it was too hard to keep them from getting killed hawks, raccoons, etc. We had to do so much to protect them that we felt guilty about their quality of life. Our llama was so wonderful. I was surprised by how much personality he had. Did he spit? Yes I heard he did but it was rare. So from my experience a llama and an… Read more »

Erin
1 year ago
Reply to  Kelly

I have good word that ducks are the way to go if you can provide a small pond for them. They are less destructive to garden beds if free-ranging (they aren’t scratchers and peckers), are great for keeping down slugs and can fly away from many predators. The eggs are awesome. My sister has alpacas and they really don’t seem to be into humans but sure are cute. They had some scares with birthing which should be considered when caring for animals. I kinda think that most animals we interact with have some individuals that are just super curious or more open to kinship with other species. Nature’s ambassadors for sure.

Christina
1 year ago
Reply to  Kelly

In March I stayed at an Airbnb with chickens, alpacas and a llama (the livestock and getting to visit them were totally part of the appeal). The alpacas were super skittish, like if you held out your hand for a minute with food the bravest one would nibble but the rest waited for the food to hit the ground. None of the alpacas had any interest in being pet. The llama seemed way easier going and more friendly. And the chickens were awesome but they had a barn in which to avoid predators.

C
1 year ago

How fun! So many things to do and look at in your new yard. It will start to look “natural” in no time. Mow and trimming with some hand pulling should be all it will take. Weeds like clover and dandelions will find you and in my opinion make the lawn more country natural looking and lush, especially in dry spells. Enjoy!

Robin in NoCo
1 year ago

We JUST got to the no-more-mud phase of our daughter and son-in-law’s renovation and everything feels better (EVERYTHING). Life is so much easier when you no longer need to go through a full Silkwood-level decontamination to go from outdoors to in. God bless mulch, hardscape, turf, and all those little plants doing their very, very best. Your property looks great. My 2 cents (closer to $5 at this point) – Nigerian Dwarf Goats. Alpacas just aren’t all that, and after raising Shetland sheep for over a decade, the shearing is a PAIN (but if you do decide get alpacas which is, I reiterate, A MISTAKE, you’ve gotta get the ladies of Right Choice Shearing out to do your annual shearing. They are the best, and I am sad we no longer have sheep for that one reason only!) Goats are fun, gentle if they are bottle babies, and wethers are a by-product of the milk industry and make excellent pets. They are also superheroes at clearing weedy areas, including blackberries when they get out of control. Bantam chickens are so much fun (and an omlet eglu makes it easy and you can move them around your property – excellent for… Read more »

Erin
1 year ago

WOW! This is no small task. The transformation, even the progress shots, are just incredible. Remind us when your Pretty Simple reveal will be??? As a PNW native who has also transformed multiple acres into home, gardens, outdoor spaces and farmstead, I have realized that I experience a personal “sleep, creep, leap” cycle that is right in tune with mother nature, the really dark times of winter slumber being “nightmares” and the construction period was the worst. I wonder if you are perhaps also experiencing this glorious reawakening period? We can’t bloom all year, right? So glad you are taking a moment to collectively catch your breath and listen to what your family and land need and want before your next steps. Enjoy figuring out all the different types of berries, the deer will give clues as to which types are best: black raspberries, maybe? Also, if I have 1 tip it’s COMPOST, the answer to world peace 😉 . xoxo

Kristi
1 year ago

Beautiful! Really lovely.
Does your landscaper recommend any particular weed guard. I am currently redoing landscaped areas because an Amazon highly rated and $$ weed guard doesn’t work at all. Would love to not have to replace the replacement weed guard for sometime-like ever -or as close to that as possible;)

Amber
1 year ago
Reply to  Kristi

Weed guard as in landscape fabric? In my experience, that is more trouble than it’s worth. Weed seeds can land on top of it, so you still end up with weeds eventually (I’ve had grass growing IN landscape fabric that I found in my yard). And it is horrid to remove.

If you have strong weed pressure, you can lay down cardboard and then mulch on top of it. The cardboard eventually breaks down, so you aren’t stuck with it forever.

1 year ago
Reply to  Amber

Hey! This is Cali of Studio Campo, the landscape designer. Our tactic at Emily’s was to densely plant the perennial beds so the groundcover acts as green mulch and displaces the weeds. Northwest Native Landscapes, the contractor, also used actual mulch in the gaps while it grows in. While this planting strategy (called matrix planting) requires weeding for the first couple years as the plants establish, it is lower maintenance in the long term as it mimics how plants grow in the wild.

Kate
1 year ago

It looks great and I’m so jelly of the Soake pool! We are thinking of doing a clover lawn and very curious if you would share some of the reasons you were advised against it? Everything I’m seeing online for clover looks so promising that it almost seems too good to be true!

KL
1 year ago
Reply to  Kate

+1, I’m also curious what the advice against a clover lawn was. We’re looking at buffalo grass but our landscaper doesn’t seem super confident that it will take (I’m also in a climate that is much drier than the PNW and we don’t want to water the grass after establishing). I heard that microclover is a nice low height and doesn’t bloom so it won’t attract bees.

Lane
1 year ago
Reply to  KL

I never heard of microclover. Sounds great. We had a lot of regular clover in our lawn before we put in hardscaping and had to grade the lawn, etc. Clover was nice 8 years ago, when there were just a few patches, and bunnies visited us a lot, which I loved. The year before the new landscaping we had about 6 huge patches and it was quite scary to go barefoot because of the bees. I’m interested to hear about microclover from those who have it.

stacy
1 year ago
Reply to  Lane

I’m also curious what advice you got about clover!
I’ve experimented a little with limited success. I’m currently trying to kill my grass (to replace with more interesting landscaping) using the cardboard + compost + clover method. I started the experiment with microclover, which is super cute… but unfortunately it reverts to regular clover after a while. Wouldn’t recommend given the insane markup over regular white clover.

Madi
1 year ago
Reply to  stacy

@stacy- I’m so interested to hear that the microclover reverted to regular clover. I’ve read that you have to mow it once a week or so to keep it small at first, and then once a month afterwards. How often did you mow it? We are also looking at replacing our lawn with clover so I’d love any insight you can share!

Emilie
1 year ago
Reply to  Kate

We have a smallish backyard and quite a bit of it–maybe 1/3?–is clover. We’ve never had a problem with bees. We do have quite a few other flowering plants around our yard that are full of pollinators in the summer. There are probably bees on the clover, too, but we’ve never thought about it and no one has been stung in the backyard in 12 years. Our situation could be unusual, but I offer it to show that bees aren’t a guarantee with clover.

Courtney
1 year ago

Congratulations! As a long time reader, it feels so weird to say I have watched you “grow up” but from Design Star to your first baby to your first home purchase to now your forever home reno. Thank you for sharing your life with us and seeing you grow. It’s been a treat to watch!

Deb
1 year ago

Oh, it’s gorgeous, and you’re going to have a marvelous summer!

So we are somewhat similar to you in that we’ve got a well-manicured acre (patio, grass, flower beds with borders and mulch) with tons of fun things for kids (zip line, trampoline, tree house, etc.). We back up to a dry creek with a large wooded area, and that natural, untamed area is where my boys LOVE to explore. Don’t get me wrong. They love the yard too. But that’s where they play. The woods out back is where they explore and create. Leaving some wildness on your property would be such a long-term gift to your children.

(I do agree with everyone else about blackberry maintenance. Those canes spread like crazy!)

Suzanne
1 year ago

I love seeing this come together. Nice job!

Rachel
1 year ago

I love it, it looks like a wonderful place to raise kids and just be a family. we have been building a house and moving in with a similar timeline to you and have been doing the landscaping on our own. I’ve made so many mistakes and everything took so much time and labor that it really sucks when you have to re-do something– experts in this area are invaluable! we have goats and chickens now and had pigs. don’t know how similar to goats alpacas are…do alpacas eat everything and try to get into your house? (ha) my goats ate so many of my new plants, seemed to be their favorite thing, to escape there area and eat everything I planted. infrastructure before the animal is the only advice I have, if you have it set up correctly I think they would be a wonderful addition to the “farm. ” chickens would actually be more of a pain, they love to scratch at the mulch, hang out wherever you don’t want them to (like your deck) and poop all over it! but you want them to be free range so they can eat all the bugs and give you… Read more »

Sheila
1 year ago

Wow, congrats on all you’ve accomplished with your property! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it for years to come.
On the alpacas, I assume you and Brian have read this article: Eight Things I Wish I’d Known in My Twenties Before I Blew My Life Savings on an Alpaca Farm https://www.newyorker.com/humor/daily-shouts/eight-things-i-wish-id-known-in-my-twenties-before-i-blew-my-life-savings-on-an-alpaca-farm
A former coworker of mine has 2 of them and they are pretty obnoxious though he is kind of obnoxious, too. I’m sure yours would be lovely!

Christina
1 year ago
Reply to  Sheila

OMG Sheila, you made me snort with the penultimate sentence! I feel like I’ve heard and experienced a lot of anti-alpaca experience so I’m not so sure they’re not innately obnoxious/antisocial.

But the landscaping is already so lovely, and I can’t wait to see the baby plants flourish! I hope you have an amazing summer enjoying it all, Emily.

Holly
1 year ago
Reply to  Sheila

Oh my gosh that article was hilarious! Not that I had any grand ideas to get alpacas, but that article has convinced me to just visit a farm instead. Devil Camels for sure!

Kaitlin
1 year ago
Reply to  Sheila

This article was hilarious!! There’s an alpaca farm down the road from me, and I went to an open farm visit….the alpacas weren’t very friendly considering that they’re constantly around people , and two of them kept spitting back and forth at each other from separate stalls!! They spin the wool there. But I think the main way they make money is alpaca walks! People pay money to walk them on a lead – I told a farmer I know, and he said he should charge people to walk his cattle haha. The main thing I want from animals is affection or food, alpacas seem to offer neither. I would get chickens (used to have them). I like goats (they can be very affectionate, but are a decent amount of work), pigs are also great but get large/also a lot of work. I’d probably get a couple miniature horses if I was them lol. Look great in photos, cuddly, and affectionate.

Robin in NoCo
1 year ago
Reply to  Sheila

What a great, funny comment! I can say with no exaggeration that the stench of… well… undies worn on a multi-day backpacking trip in a hot climate pervades our neighborhood ever since the alpacas moved in down the street.

I’m sure they are lovely… high in the Andes… away from civilization… with a stiff breeze blowing in the opposite direction.

Patricia
1 year ago

Regarding those blackberry bushes … rent-a-goat or something similar in your area will pull up a van and offload a herd of goats (fenced in, of course) and they will eat those suckers to the ground!
Note to anyone not living in the PNW, blackberries are extremely invasive and will grow anyway anywhere anyhow. Maybe not in the middle of I-5, but I wouldn’t count on it.
Plus your kids (human) will love watching the goats go to work.

🥰 Rusty
1 year ago
Reply to  Patricia

Yes, that’s what I said.
It’s a win-win…get to interact with and watch the hilarious goats do thier amazing workon an invasive species.
If someone really wants Blackberries, there’s a sterile hybrid that doesn’t spread inyo the natural world as a pest.

Lynsy
1 year ago
Reply to  Patricia

Unless the goats eat them through the ground, roots and all, they will rise again. The worst.

Jenny
1 year ago

This post was everything I’ve been waiting for. It’s GLORIOUS! Well done!

Michele
1 year ago

It looks so amazing! Congrats! Maybe I’m the only dork who cares but I want to see how the driveway turned out! I was watching on stories the days you were having it done but never saw the finished product. Are you happy with it?

Shannon
1 year ago
Reply to  Michele

I’m the other dork that cares!

Ellen
1 year ago

Looks amazing! It is so hard to see the big picture when you are in the middle of making so many decisions! (We’re about a year behind you in a similarly major project.) About the animals and mini-farm life, consider it an adventure that you just try out, experience and adapt as you go. I recommend trying 4-H club for the kids, where they can learn to take care of various animals, feed, groom, even show them at the fair, and so on. Very rewarding in so many ways! Enjoy!

Lane
1 year ago

What a wonderful transformation. I love everything you’ve done. It looks nice already, and it will look even better over time. I hope for a video tour at some point too.

Elaine
1 year ago

Wow, what a transformation and to me, the very definition of money well spent. You’ve created a future, a living space for people and plants to thrive. It’s wonderful.

Nish
1 year ago

My yard has been a (much smaller scale) disaster for the last few months, I can only imagine the absolute relief and joy having all that done must be! It’s looking great and wonderful to think it’ll just keep looking better.

Nora Scholey
1 year ago

So the dogs must love this! A dog’s eye view would be hilarious. What would they get up to? A quick soak, a romp on the court and then off to dig in the woods. Squirrel!

Shawna
1 year ago

Would love to know the plants you planted in the gardens! I’m in similar climate 🙂

Kj
1 year ago
Reply to  Shawna

The Studio Campo plans by Cali are towards the bottom of this post https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/how-much-are-custom-authentic-shutters (and read the comments for more plant IDs).

alex
1 year ago

it’s amazing. i’m feeling a bit jealous. i think for me it’s hard to recognize that this will never be my situation, but i’m so glad it’s your situation. thank you for sharing with us – truly.

Natasha
1 year ago

It’s absolutely stunning and I can’t wait to see how it grows and changes over the years to come!

1 year ago

Oh, all of this is so lovely! It was worth doing all of this now and getting it how you want it because you are settling in as your forever home. We appreciate you taking us along for the ride.

Dana
1 year ago

Hi! I looked and couldn’t find it, so sorry if it’s already somewhere, but can you tell me where the outdoor “picnic” table is from? I think it’s on your sport court? Thank you so much. Everything looks so lovely!

Kj
1 year ago
Reply to  Dana

The round one is the Giardino Round Dining Table – 48″ from Ballard Designs.