The Wedding Day Arrives!

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This was the day my baby girl got married.  I don’t know how we did it but in 2 months we were able to transform the back yard into a beautiful wedding venue and plan the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever seen. (I know I’m biased but I really think it was!)

Just to give you a little perspective….here’s the before picture.

Back yard before 1

One more time with the gazebo….

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Back yard before 8

If it wasn’t for the gazebo you would never know it was the same yard.

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Out “shabby chic” doors made a beautiful entrance for the bride and her bridesmaids and I want to think that my dad, “Poppy”, was looking down and watching his granddaughter get married.  He would have loved it that she got married in his back yard. Wedding photos by Karen L. Barnes  Lanterns from Pier 1 Imports

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All of the turquoise and coral details we chose looked amazing!  Wedding photos by Karen L. Barnes  Tables courtesy of Farm Tables and More


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This back yard is full of repurposed items that I either couldn’t bear to get rid of or, more likely, couldn’t find anyone who wanted it.  This buffet was my dad’s bar.  We painted it with leftover paint from the house and bought crystal door knobs at Cost Plus World Market.  For the wedding it was perfect for pictures of the bride and groom and all the desserts.

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This was how we made the garage a little less boring.  Most of the decor I found at Home Goods, or vintage pieces found in our garage.  Over time, we keep adding more…It just gets better and better. Wedding photos by Karen L. Barnes  Lighting by J.Fox Event Lighting

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Wedding photos by Karen L. Barnes

Vintage furniture courtesy of Found Vintage Rentals

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Vintage furniture courtesy of Found Vintage Rentals.

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The transformed gazebo…My mother’s gazebo…Sadly, my mother’s advanced dementia made her unable to see her granddaughter married in it.  I love this picture so much…  Wedding photos by Karen L. Barnes

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Wedding photos by Karen L. Barnes

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No words to describe how happy it makes me to see my girl so happy… Wedding photos by Karen L. Barnes



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and they’re married!  tears, tears, tears of happiness!  Wedding photos by Karen L. Barnes

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Transformation and Wedding Complete…tired mama!

Wedding photos by Karen L. Barnes    Lighting by J. Fox Event Lighting



The Transformation Continues….

You can start to really see what the terracing is going to look like.  I made tremendous changes to the house and now to the back yard.  The whole time, in my head, I kept thinking…I hope my dad likes this.  I know he’s gone and has been for awhile but I really hope if he can see what I’m doing that he likes what I’ve done to the house he built.  I really think he would’ve loved the back yard.  He was always so busy building the house and working full time that the yard got put on the back burner.  He did take the time some time to work on the back yard and since he loved to share his knowledge with anyone who would listen…I got to learn a little bit about gardening.

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It’s not much but you can start to see the terracing take shape.  Our lot is on quite a grade and you don’t really realize it until you start to look at it with a more critical eye.  I suppose it was hard to tell anything with a slightly sloping back yard overrun with weeds.


The front of the house starts to get it’s makeover also.


The gazebo doesn’t look so lost anymore. Finally it’s getting to be the focal point it should be.  Over 20 years old and it’s still as solid as ever.  Note to self…post a link to the company who made these!


One of my favorite decisions I made for the back yard.  The guys who were doing this thought I was more than a little crazy.  These 2 doors were salvaged doors that my dad had bought 30+ years ago from old homes they were tearing down.  They’ve been in the house along with 2 fireplaces full of salvaged brick and windows.  I love these doors and knew I wanted to keep them and do something with them.  I originally had plans to use one in the front as an entrance to the rose garden but that plan was still off in the future.  Part of the reason why they went here is because I had no place to store them.  They ended up being the perfect entrance to the back yard and I had a little piece of my dad as part of the back yard he always wanted the time to spend in.


Very, very blank….I wracked my brain with ideas to dress this up.  The results were great and still ongoing!


Not the best shot of one of the guys.  Juan the Juanderful is one of the guys that made this all possible.  He also had great ideas.  The gazebo became a pergola for awhile.


Looking so much better.  It is amazing how much a change in color can change your whole attitude about something.  I know that I’m very sensitive to color.  It completely affects my mood.  I went from absolutely hating being in this back yard to loving it with just a change in the paint color.


I just love this picture of my girls.

More pictures coming!

A Wedding in 2 months?….Gulp

When we moved back into the house I grew up in to care for my elderly mother, not only was the house a wreck but so was the front and back yard. The front yard wasn’t terrible because the gardener tended to it a bit but he left the back yard completely untouched.  Given all of the work and renovation we had to do just to make the house livable I just put the back yard on the back burner.  As long as we had a clean house to live in I was satisfied.  We were nearing the end of the renovation and everything was going to start quieting down when I mentioned to my newly engaged daughter that when the time came she and her fiance could get married in the back yard if they wanted. Long story short….this beautiful face is the reason why in 2 months we transformed a mess of a back yard into a beautiful outdoor wedding venue….


My future son in law is in the Navy and at least 6 months out of the year is deployed on a nuclear sub.  Trying to plan a wedding when your fiance is in the military is next to impossible.  However, he had 2 weeks off in 2 months time.  The following pictures are the before pictures of the back yard.  I really had no idea what I wanted the back yard to look like other than beautiful for my baby girl’s big day.  My son in law’s uncle who had helped with the renovation came up with the terracing idea that we used and everyday I walk out in the back yard and water my fruit trees and look at the butternut squash growing I can’t believe how lucky I was to have him make all of this happen.



I think the El Camino shell adds that extra special touch!

Back yard before 3

I’m guessing that this back yard hadn’t seen any TLC in about 10 years.

Back yard before 8

The only thing new in this picture is the fence I had put in very soon after the renovation started.

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My mother’s gazebo…My dad had this built for my mom over 20 years ago.  It was something she wanted so much and my dad would do just about anything to make my mom happy.  This used to be where our above ground pool was as you can see from the lovely concrete we used to have surrounding it.  classy all the way! lol!

Tomorrow I’ll show the next phase in the progression of the back yard as it’s slowly transformed.  Believe me, you would never know the before pictures and the after pictures are the same yard.

Till next time!