Backyard Bliss


I love to work but when I’m not working (as rare as that is) I love to be home.  We’ve been renting our Los Altos home for a little over 5 years and although the term “rent” seems temporary we have tried to make this house our own in little ways over the years.  You might remember the she-cave transformation or the kitchen paint and DIY art installation projects that I’ve shared here in the past.

Yes, we would love our own place “officially” but with the current Silicon Valley market it’s not that easy to put down roots.  Starter houses in Los Altos run on average of $2.5 million and the properties that we’ve put offers on in Mountain View we’ve all lost to foreign bidders paying all cash.  This market is insane, yes, but in the current moment we are trying to save our pennies for what’s to come while being thankful to our lovely landlord Bob for letting us take care of his house, thank you Bob!

With that being said Chris and I have decided to just act like we own the place and make it our own.  Often with my organizing clients I hear the “maybe in the future” or “if this happens we will do that”, and I always remind them to live in the now so I’ve been taking my own advice.  The current moment is the only moment we can control and enjoy so it is incredibly important to live in it. And for me that means furnish is, ha!

Our recent backyard bliss project has involved tree trimming, raised bed planting, and adding features that encourage us to unplug from our computers and cell phones at the end of a long day and just relax and be outside.  The sunshine in California is one of the greatest perks of living here after all!


Today I’m going to take you on a quick tour of our yard mostly so I can document it for myself and try to draw our Michigan friends and family out for more visits!

The first feature is this vintage painters cabinet that I scored at a Los Atlos estate liquidation.  It came like this, in it’s chipped and rustic glory.  I use it to store the small lot of garden hand tools that we own and a handful of supplies for outdoor entertaining. If I have kids someday I’d love to turn it into a play kitchen but for now it looks just perfect.



Swoon, it looks so lovely next to the vintage metal tub that I salvaged from The Castle is Los Altos Hills several years back.  I used to use it for an ice bucket but now it is a planter for lavender that I hope explodes this summer, I just love lavender.


Obviously Harper is the best accessory to our backyard, what a sweet girl!


We recently sold our vintage patio set and bought this wicker sofa with two matching chairs from Terra Patio.  There were having a 40% off sale during the last rain storm so we took them up on it.  The sweet throw pillows were picked our by my nieces on their recent trip to California, we were debating between lots of color and a simple look and I’m glad we chose a simple look.




I love the gray wicker with the dark gray cushions, it was hard to find but it looks really nice.


We’ve been working on adding color with flowers, most of which have been purchased at our estate sales.  Billy and Ese can take most of the credit for that, they are the ones that have really helped with the planting and trimming in our yard.  As you can see in the background, Harper really loves the raised bed gardens they built and planted…


Yep, she is guilty of harvesting the veggies. Billy thought it was a bunny rabbit so he built a little fence but it doesn’t stop Harper.  She especially loves grabbing the onion tops through the fence.  I’ve read that dogs are allergic to onions but it doesn’t seem to faze her.


Our cabbage is going to be ready for harvest soon, Billy will be happy about that.  He makes the best corn beef and cabbage, yum!



They also built up a little retaining wall around the walnut tree in our backyard so we could replace the old shrubs with flowers, what a difference a little color makes!


You might have noticed my coffee table in the earlier photos, as you can see it turns into a fire pit. Chris talked me into this and I’m so glad he did, it is such a nice feature to have and we have been using it quite often.


I’m wishing I had a glass of wine out here right now!


I saw these lights at Costco and had to have them, they are just the perfect way to add light to our back yard. Billy helped me hang them up after work one afternoon and once we plugged them in he smiled with excitement and said “let’s have a party!” He is so funny!


I took these photos as the sun was going down so you can’t get the total effect but the lights are really pretty when you are in the hot tub, an addition that I added last winter.  I figured we could always take it if we move and I’ll look like a country song driving away, just a girl with an F-150, a dog, and her tot tub sailing into the sunset, ha!





After all that work I had to grant Billy’s wish and have a little party.  It was just the Kuzak’s Closet gang over for some burgers on the grill, wine, and s’mores.  I can’t think of a better group to enjoy the first s’mores of the season with…



It was Billy’s first time having a s’more which seems insane.  He has lived in the United States for over 20 years so I’m glad we could finally introduce him to such a crazy delicious dessert.  He loved eating them as much as he loved making them and insisted on making them for everyone all night, what a hoot!


Well, I hope you enjoyed the tour! I’m so glad that we are living in the moment and enjoying what we have now, friends and wine included!

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1,341 Responses

  1. Kudos to Kuzak. Warm and fuzzy. Beautifuly done. Can’t wait to see your next house. Rob

  2. Beautiful! Yes, live in the moment… and it looks like a beautiful moment. 🙂

  3. i know you are very busy, so that’s all the more reason why your blogs are so appreciated! Post of detail,fun photos, and always an optimistic spirit! i am not one for reading blogs, but i always read yours! thanks for taking the time to do this!

  4. Thanks for sharing this Amanda. You have created such an inspiring, lovely and tranquil little “vacation spot” in your backyard. What a score on the Terra furniture!

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