The Great Outdoors (At Home)

Backyard conversation nook. Details and more outdoor furniture at une femme d'un certain age.

Now that Spring and warmer weather are finally here, I spent a few days last week cleaning up and readying the backyard. It’s so nice to be able to enjoy our outdoor living space again!

I posted a quick walkthrough on Instagram, which gives you an idea of the layout and dimensions. Watch with sound on for my “guided tour.” 😉

We feel SO fortunate to have this lovely and secluded space, especially now.

We’ve done two rounds of professional landscape design. The “hardscape” (overall layout, pathways, etc.) was done 10 years ago by a professional landscape architect. We updated the irrigation and plantings about 18 months ago with another landscape designer. We are so happy with it!

Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor furniture: dining table with French Bistro chairs. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

The dining area. I’ve been enjoying lunch out here the last couple of days. I knew from the get-go I wanted French Bistro chairs, and still love how they look. (The frames have faded somewhat over the years, but otherwise they’ve held up brilliantly.)

Provence-style backyard fountain. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I love the sound of this fountain; it’s so relaxing! When we worked with the original landscape architect, we told him we wanted to create the feeling of a walled garden in Provence. With the latest update to the plantings, I feel as though we’ve accomplished that.

There’s still some work to do. Some weeding (as you can see above) and I need to replant/refresh my herb pots and other containers. I may don a mask and brave a trip to the local nursery soon.

A few people have asked me about our outdoor furniture and fountain. All items were purchased 10 years ago, and to be honest, I don’t remember where it all was from. I believe the chairs, side tables and ottoman in the top image were from Target. I know for sure the cushions were as we replaced them last year.

I’ve included similar styles for all of the furniture and accessories in the widget below.

Have you taken on any landscaping or major garden projects? Did you do it yourself or enlist professional help?

Stay in touch.

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35 Comments

  1. Susan
    April 23, 2020 / 1:49 am

    Your garden is really lovely. I particularly like the amount of greenery, hedges and bushes. Your furniture complements everything perfectly. It is far more interesting and aesthetically pleasing than the plethora of tuscan type backyards which are the norm where I live. My husband sometimes talks about moving into an apartment, but I could think of nothing worse as I love having a back garden (and pool) where I can relax.

  2. Karen
    April 23, 2020 / 3:37 am

    Your yard is just lovely. How nice to have such a happy spot to isolate in

    • Rosie
      April 23, 2020 / 7:42 am

      So charming, love it all. Thanks for sharing your lovely space.

  3. Shari
    April 23, 2020 / 4:16 am

    Love the garden!
    I’m wondering about the durability of the wicker chairs?? Do you cover or bring them into store on winter months?

  4. Barbara
    April 23, 2020 / 5:12 am

    I’d love to see what it looks like at night. Tell us about the lighting used and maybe show us views from inside. This is so special.

  5. Karen
    April 23, 2020 / 5:48 am

    What a wonderful garden area, I love the fountain! It must be so pleasant to sit out side and hear the sound of water while sitting in such a peaceful setting.

  6. Daffodil Planter
    April 23, 2020 / 5:59 am

    Beautiful garden! If you need plants not soil, why not do mail order? Safer and more choices. Annie’s Annuals in the Bay Area is probably already a favorite of yours. They are backed up with shipping orders at the moment but pop over to see their always tempting selections.

  7. Kirst E Brenman
    April 23, 2020 / 6:22 am

    What a great use of outdoors to create additional living space. I love the use of landscape to create different “rooms” in your backyard. We’ve done something similar using varying elevations. Thankful to be spending time outside within the safety of home!

  8. Irene
    April 23, 2020 / 7:01 am

    Wonderful garden area — love the lavender and fountain and all looks so lush and inviting— real feeling of Provence!! Thank you for sharing

  9. Gwen
    April 23, 2020 / 7:09 am

    Beautiful! So relaxing! Your backyard tour most certainly made me think of Provence. My husband was born in Paris therefore every France reference makes me wish we could board a plane. But, travel will for all will not be for some time. I would also like to thank you for your movie and series reviews. We have watched a few of your recommendations, please continue to make your comments. Stay safe and well!

  10. Elizabeth
    April 23, 2020 / 7:36 am

    Such a beautiful, serene spot!

  11. April 23, 2020 / 7:47 am

    Thank you for the tour of your lovely yard. Such an attractive design. I have trumpet vine too and was shakiing my head “yes” when you used the term aggressive. Good word for it but I love the color on my fence. Enjoy your oasis.

  12. Mary Alice
    April 23, 2020 / 7:52 am

    Love your garden! If you don’t like the idea of going into a nursery ( and many of them are not allowing customers inside anyway) many nurseries are offering curbside pickup. Just place your order by phone or online and then it’s ready when you get there!My husband and I just did that yesterday at Roger’s Gardens in Corona del Mar, and I am sure there are nurseries in LA that do the same. (We specifically picked Roger’s so we could take a drive down the coast to pick up our order). I never stepped inside, they brought it out and loaded it up for us.

    • Maureen Stevens
      April 23, 2020 / 11:01 am

      Ah Roger’s gardens …my get away …other women may like other things… but for me a stroll through Rogers gardens
      ..it’s heaven. I miss it so much almost as much as I miss walking along the sand stomping waves.

      • Elisabeth mestlin
        July 20, 2020 / 6:39 am

        Why do you miss it ?its open and everyone has Masks and practices SD .i went last week ,for me it’s a lovely morning .

  13. Rondi
    April 23, 2020 / 7:53 am

    Thank you for sharing your backyard with us! Just the idea of a backyard space makes me smile. I am curious about biting insects because I am not familiar with day to day life in your part of the country. I know in the southeastern region insects attack at dusk. Is this a problem?

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      April 23, 2020 / 7:55 am

      Hi Rondi, we get the occasional mosquito or flea, but our climate is dry enough that they’re not a big problem. A citronella candle is usually enough to discourage them.

      • Rondi
        April 23, 2020 / 8:20 am

        That sounds nice! We often have to break out the tiki torches. Thanks, Susan.

        • Nancy
          April 23, 2020 / 9:32 am

          You really should try a patio Thermacell. This uses hydrangea oil and you can smell it initially for only a few minutes. Keeps the mosquitoes away better than anything.
          Your garden is beautiful and a fountain of some kind is a must.
          We used a landscape designer and did most of the work ourselves, that made it very reasonable and so much better than me sticking pretty plants anywhere.

  14. carol
    April 23, 2020 / 8:09 am

    Wow. Your outdoor displays are so inviting. Makes me want to be there listening to the fountain and taking all the gentle lovely views in. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Michelle
    April 23, 2020 / 10:06 am

    Hi Susan! Long time reader but first time commenter. Thank you for the tour of your garden! I’m in the northeast part of the States and we are still getting the occasional snowfall. It was wonderful to see the green and hear the birds! Thank you for blogging; I really enjoy your insights!

  16. Janelle
    April 23, 2020 / 10:24 am

    Love all your outdoor ‘rooms’, Susan. We live in a small town in east central Texas and it has been lovely weather for quite a while. I was able to make a few trips to the nursery before the stay at home rules came about. Still, there were several things I needed to make our outdoor spaces complete. With a quick search I found a plant farm in Oklahoma that ships!

  17. Lynne
    April 23, 2020 / 10:36 am

    I love see you garden. The whole design really captures a hidden European Garden.

  18. Betty Goldberg
    April 23, 2020 / 11:01 am

    Your garden is lovely. I especially love the secluded sitting area – perfect for reading or in my case knitting.

  19. Kay
    April 23, 2020 / 11:21 am

    We moved to a larger house right before the shutdown, so there is much in the yard I still need to do. I wish we had a home delivery garden nursery! Now that the weather has warmed up, the pool will get some use.

  20. Lin Taylor
    April 23, 2020 / 11:32 am

    Your landscaping is inspiring. Your home is reminiscent of my in Northern California. It too is a creamy yellow and has a tile roof. I am currently trying to plan a small side yard patio on the north side of my home. It is one of the few partly shady spots for afternoon enjoyment. I am pouring over what you have done. Thank you for sharing.

  21. April 23, 2020 / 11:46 am

    Oh I love your garden. I could happily live there. What striked me is the yellow and brick colours of the houses surrounding your garden. Those are the colours of the Provence so they help create that feeling you want. Lovely, really lovely.
    Thanks for the tour.
    Greetje

  22. Nancy H. Hall
    April 23, 2020 / 12:12 pm

    Thank you for the garden tour – what a lovely and creatively planted area. Everything looked lush and green. I am longing for warmth and green here in Central NYS – we had snow yesterday and my daffodils thankfully have survived! We have a long way to yet as far as even sitting or eating on our screened porch so your lovely tour gives me some hope.

  23. Lagatta de Montréal
    April 23, 2020 / 12:21 pm

    Greetje, the light in much of California is similar to Provence or nearby parts of Italy. Not so much in the Netherlands or Québec, but we have other charms.

    Susan, does your son have a particular reaction to all the green, growing things? They can be salutary for some people with disabilities.

  24. April 23, 2020 / 2:26 pm

    What beautiful spaces! I think designers are well worth the money. They can make our fuzzy ideas of what we’d like into reality! I’m trying to convince my hubby that’s what we need to redo our tired overgrown spaces.

  25. April 23, 2020 / 6:06 pm

    So gracious a space:).

    And yes, I’ve hired people, I’ve done it myself. I find working in my yard to be one of the greatest joys of my life.

  26. SuD
    April 24, 2020 / 5:49 am

    Such a pretty backyard retreat.

  27. April 28, 2020 / 4:22 pm

    Beautiful! Love the fountain.

  28. Jan Whichard
    April 29, 2020 / 5:34 pm

    Wish I could upload a photo of my front walled in yard for all of you. Waterfalls, koi pond and a nice granite kitchen area. Peaceful getaway but I grow weary. Thank you for the amazing hummingbird photos….what a gift!

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