We have been working on several updates out in the cottage recently- from the kitchen to the bathroom to the living room- the cottage is a bit overdue for some much needed improvements.
While we are updating things- we aren’t changing or removing the original character. The old 1940 quirks and charm that our house have- do provide quite a few challenges when it comes to things like modern day appliances and plumbing -but they also provide so much charm and detail that we love. So far, we have been focused on getting the bathroom and kitchen done- one of my sons and his girlfriend might be living in the cottage for a bit while in the midst of a move- so we want to make sure everything is updated and ready before they would move in- in the next 6 weeks or so.
The bathroom… well, one step forward two steps back out there. We ran into a plumbing issue installing the ‘new’ sink and being a contractors daughter- I face-timed my dad and he basically stared at it and poked all kinds of holes in what we were trying to accomplish- and then told us the way he would do it. SO, back to the drawing board on that one. Of course, if everything was usual- he would be jumping in and helping in person and we would be laughing at the crazy ideas that we think might work if we just move this wall here or that pipe there.
I will give you an update on the sink hopefully next week ( I say hopefully because I thought I would have one this week) so for now- let’s talk landscaping and a private courtyard.
My mom and step dad came to visit one time and walked through the cottage to the backyard and were shocked. They could not believe that there was a whole other space behind the cottage that they didn’t realize was there. They live in a subdivision and just assumed that the fence was the property line- but it was just in between where we have tools, garbage cans and the shed with the bikes and winter storage.
So, that area behind the cottage has been slated to become a private courtyard oasis for the cottage. For guests staying there or for if we rent it to a caretaker or have family stay with us while we are traveling.
The dream private courtyard would be full of old growth charm, storybook buildings and a cozy spot for enjoying dinner and evenings al fresco. Since we are working with a lot of natural foliage and trees in this area- and we don’t want to thin that too much since we do have a proper line border probably 100 feet away- we will be incorporating a lot of that natural growth and look in the design. Much of the same feeling over in the greenhouse garden area.
When putting together a mood board for any space- I always start with ‘goals’ and then work towards those goals. The goals here are:
We want this space to feel like a getaway. With twinkle lights, a fire pit and fountain to create a soft background music. ‘Magic’ being the keyword here.
English cottage. Old world garden. French Country. All of those settings that have an abundance of charm when you see them- that is the goal. From plantings to veggie gardens to an old potting shed and pea gravel paths.
Of course, even though magic and charm are the top of my must lists when I work on any project- it also has to function the way it needs to. This courtyard is big enough for several areas- and we will be adding several in. Most important are the dining and seating areas so that whoever stays here can entertain if they want to or simply enjoy retreating out to their private yard as they would like.
The Mood Boards
I created a couple basic mood boards based off photos I found on Pinterest recently and these should help give you an idea of what I have in mind. Now keep in mind- much of this is only ‘mood’ inspiration – not the actual design. There are elements of each photo or setting that speak to me- and some of these apply to the cutting garden we are putting in as well- more on that mood board coming soon.
Secret garden feeling- lots of plants and lush greenery with pea gravel areas and simple vintage style furniture.
Pea gravel pathways and patio area, shingle covered greenhouse/potting shed and the fencing for the garden, wood benches, table with vine covered pergola, soft blue door color and all.those.twinkle.lights.
I love the tall greenery and garden walls in this board. This is an area of the yard that has a lot of pines and cedar trees along with some wild lilac and a huge towering old oak tree. In spring and summer when the lilac is leafed it out it is a beautiful overhead cover- in winter- more ‘piney’ and woodland feeling than anything else. So while I would love to play up some English cottage garden style- I think I will need to balance that with California wine country style which brings in those pines and woodsy areas next to the lush vines and oaks.
Find the inspiration photos at Pinterest.
What we are working on first
First will be to tackle the rest of the pea gravel. Bringing in pea gravel is a job. I am hoping I can get those big boys to come help unload and spread it all over the courtyard area- and then we will tackle the plantings, garden beds and creating the cozy.
What do you think of the cottage courtyard patio plans? If you were renting this little house from us- what would you like to have included in your private yard?
Teddee Grace says
This property sounds delightful. i’ve only been to france once, but the pea gravel used in the landscaping was one of the things i still remember and just says, “france’ to me. however, i also love the look of flagstone with moss or fragrant herbs planted between. it will be interesting to see what you end up doing.
I love greenery. DEFINITELY use lavender, lilac,fragrant roses, peonies, boxwoods, snapdragons, and clematis in the area. Bougevllias are also nice too. Peagravel, steppingstones,and perhaps some faux grass will be nice to walk and sit on.I love round iron tables,benches and seating because they are indestructible and do last longer than wicker but they are heavy. The Hanging lanterns,fan, fountain,and decorations are added romantic touches. Ahhh, what fun you’ll have designing and putting It all together. I can’t wait to see it. UNFORTUNATELY i use mine for pool and 60+ storage containers for Fall and christmas.
lize van biljon says
Oh, I would definitely spend a few night there! Sounds like such a lovely project to be taking on. For me serenity and old world charm means, lots of flowers, birds chirping, alfresco dining under twinkle lights, smells of lavender and jasmine, beautiful shutters, linen, wooden floors, hanging lanterns, and chandeliers. All of which you already incorporate, so I’m sure it would be perfect 🙂
Love it all and cant wait to see what you do. Love the ideas of a fountain for a soft water sound, twinkle string lights, some Scented plantings – sweet olive and roses and herbs, a dining table and comfy chairs to relax in. 🌸
Donna Milazzo says
Ohhh, what susan said! Maybe the water sounds could be from a large french-ie urn bubbling over into a pea gravel bed!
June Sherlock says
A place to sit in the sun. And also, a place to sit In the shade. A porch swing I can lay down on
I love the serenity and peacefulness of the space! We have a similar garden cottage (no plumbing, however) and we use pea gravel exclusively — perfect for drainage, cottage ambiance and I love the crunch! We have a firepit and a deck (8×12) off the front of the cottage to allow for warm weather sitting and dining. I would be sure to add several really comfy chairs so guests and their guests can relax and enjoy the beautiful setting.
Cindy Roth says
Hi Sharon (or Courtney (whoever sees this and can answer!)
I have a “secret Garden” area I’m trying to create, and wanted to use pea gravel for the sitting area. But my husband says it will stick in shoe soles and track in the house, which would scratch our wood floors. Can any of you tell me if this is a risk? we rent it out in the summer and so I cannot always trust that people will take off their shoes, nor will my husband.
I LOVE YOUR INSPIRATION PHOTOS, COURTNEY! GORGEOUS IDEAS! HAVE FUN WITH YOUR PROJECT, I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE IT. 🙂
What a wonderful idea. I love that tHe COURTYARD WILL have a FOUNTAIN and a fire pit. But the best part is the twinkle lights.
Blessings to you.
Bobbi Duncan says
Based upon the mood boards you’ve created, your new spaces will be divine! I can’t wait for the finished look.
aussie jo says
Such lovely photos of what looks like a lovly garden
Karen B. says
Your home continues to amaze me. All of the space around your main home is wonderful. I know it’s been a lot of work but you truly have created a magical home and grounds.
Following your projects will be fun.
Nancy cox says
A secret garden and a place to meander aRound. Your ideas are beautiful
This all sounds absolutely dreamy!!! Your mood boards seem to have a very secluded feel which i would love.
I cant wait to see the finished project!!!
christine oskirko says
I just bought your book for my sister for her Birthday and of course i had to get one for myself. I spent the evening with a cup of herbal tea, soft music, and gazing upon such beauty and simplicity! I loved the blush color on your walls in your office. Can you tell me the name of it and the paint company who makes it? Of course you got me moving things around and editing things in my home. Thankyou for using yourgod gvien gifts to bring more beauty into the world, when we need it most.
Can you share the source of the chairs? THank you !!