How to Make the Most of Outdoor Space During Quaratine

How to Make the Most of Outdoor Space During Quaratine

If you are anything like us, quarantine has been filled with highs, lows and many, many projects.  We have never been more thankful for our yard and seem to have spent more time out there than we ever have which is what inspired me to do a post about the outdoors.  Nothing fancy, just people who are in the same boat both here in the US and in other parts of the world taking advantage of being outside.  What was awesome about writing this was that I had people from different times in my life get back in touch with things they have been doing, from here in Atlanta, to Chile and to England.  It has been fun reconnecting with old friends through a pandemic.  I’m counting it as one of the blessings of this time shut away.  So, this post is different from the usual, but hopefully one that will inspire you to get outdoors and have fun in the space that you have.

We pretty much always have a project going on around here – last year it was a tree house and swings that Steven decided to design and build, and they truly have been a life saver during our lockdown.  He designed it and then found people who were getting rid of their playsets and got the swings, slides, rock wall and tire swing for a very small amount.  It worked out so well and now even our two year old can make it up to the top and loves it! Our kids have spent hours upon hours out there playing!  The random bit of what looks like graffiti above the green slide is spray chalk which apparently doesn’t wash off quite as easily as one might think!  The swings were set up by attaching a beam between two trees and each of the children has their own swing to play on.  Take a look!

Here is how it looks side by side:

This spring our big projects were these raised garden beds and compost containers.  It is the first season that the chipmunks haven’t eaten our strawberries thanks to the crazy protection Steven put around them.  We are learning though that 3 strawberry plants are nowhere near enough for our family, but the kids enjoy picking one or two each day!

The raised garden beds are surrounded with chicken wire and netting to protect all the vegetables from being eaten by the deer.  As anyone around us knows, we get a lot of deer around here – one time we saw 13 in our yard at one time!  The netting has been placed in individual panels which can be removed for easy gardening access.

When we made the beds we used all our own compost which had previously been an ugly heap at the side of the house.  So project number two was to create containers for the compost.  One for the finished process, on the left, and one for the compost currently being made, on the right.

So that’s what’s new chez Simms, but take a look at all these fun photos of other favorite outdoor spots from our readers.  Hopefully this will inspire you to enjoy your own space even more!  Bonfires have been a big hit around our house and other friends have sent me pictures of theirs too.  I love that no fire pit is the same as another.  Whether they are bought, or made by hand, they are always fun with some yummy s’mores and the joy on the sweet kiddos in the first picture shows what fun they can be.  The second one was made out of a beverage tub and a grate from a grill – genius!

Here are some other beautiful gardening jobs readers have sent in.  The tee-pee gardens are fun for children to play in once the plants grow up, kind of like an outdoor fort! It’s so nice to have the time to spend working in the yard and involving kids is so much fun too!  I love the photo from a dear friend in Chile below, of her daughter helping them water the plants!

How relaxing does this next photo look?  This may need to be added to my list of fun things for our yard.  It looks so peaceful!

And if you can’t leave your house then where better to camp than in your back yard!  

My personal favorite was my brother and sister-in-law in England who put a slack line in their yard and have mastered walking the tightrope can even hold a glass of champagne while doing it!  Things to aspire to!

A friend in England sent me this photo of the cutest little Wendy House (English for play house) and her three children going on a Bear Hunt!  Cute!

The above photos show little boy fun at its max!  The first is of some dear friends here in Atlanta and the second is of our crazy boys on the trampoline with dish soap and the sprinkler… I blame their dad for that health hazard!

Another one that I loved was this bluebird box.  A friend was sharing that they put one up each year and the blue bird lays an egg a day, each day for 4-5 days; then they hatch, one a day each day 12-14 days later.  How amazing to be able to watch this in your yard!

If in doubt though, let’s be honest, a good cardboard box can be more fun than anything we put out for our children.  A friend from England sent me the first picture, the same day as my kids were playing in one (second picture)!

We received loads of fun activities that people are doing with their children too but unfortunately there just isn’t room but thank you all for sending your fun ideas, we loved them!  So, while this was far from my normal post it is probably one of my favorite ones thus far.  Folks, we are all in this together, near and far, all over the world and whether here, or in another country, we are trying to keep our children busy, keep our spirits high and get through this lock-down.  I hope this has served to brighten your day even if you never intend to play in a box!  Here are some cute chickens from another reader here in Atlanta to end our post!

Roof Replacement in Mill Glen

Roof Replacement in Mill Glen

I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life when I have been so thankful to have a roof over my head.  The big storms that hit on Easter Sunday were a reminder of how fortunate we are to have a nice home and how quickly that can be taken away.  That, coupled with the 5 weeks of quarantine that we have been in, have made me ever more grateful for my little family and the house that we have been blessed with. As crazy as it is with littles running around all day long, it is a blessing to be able to provide them a home and with that, of course, comes a good roof.

We were trying to think of things that people might be able to get done, or need to get done, without having people inside their homes and what better than replacing a roof?

So, today’s blog post is not a big glamorous before and after, but what I call a rather “boring” before and after.  Steven then corrected me that it might not be glamorous, but it is one of the most important updates that houses need over time.  Our house needed a new roof about 2 years ago.  Actually, it probably needed one about 4 years ago, but we put it off.  There were little brown patches on the bonus room (over the garage) ceiling from roof water leaks that kept appearing ever so slightly bigger.  Was it really getting bigger, or were we just worrying?  It wasn’t super obvious, so we tried to ignore them, and then one night Steven decided to put a tiny pen mark on the edge of them to see if they were growing.  Sure enough, after the next big storm it had grown rather a lot.  Word to the wise: when you start seeing brown patches on your ceiling you most certainly need a new roof!   The extra damage being caused by water getting in could cost you way more in the long run.

So alas, we had to get a roof.  It’s one of those updates that no one notices, but you really want to have a good job done.  One of my husband’s many skills is doing plenty of research on who to get to do the job.  After getting quotes from no less than 7 roofing companies, he chose Nick Mees from Element Pros and we could not have been happier.  Nick came in with one of the lower prices than many of the other companies we had come out, and seemed like someone we could trust to do a good job.  We also chose Nick because his business is located in Dunwoody. Take a look at the wonderful work his team did on our not so boring roof.  Here is one of the holes that was responsible for those dreaded brown marks:

And here are the before and afters placed side by side for you to see the changes.  In the first set you can see Nick added a chimney cricket (Steven had to tell me what this is!) to shed the water away from our chimney when it rains:

And this is what it looks like now, without a hole and with new pipe flashing:

In the current economic climate we like to try to support our local businesses as much as possible and Element Pros roofing is headquartered in Dunwoody.  They have been in business since 2006 and make it their goal to provide a stress-free and surprisingly affordable roof replacement process for our customers. Nick is very friendly and shared that his job is to learn, listen and consistently deliver on an improved construction experience.  He understands that it is better to do the job right the first time, and build roofs that are built to endure the elements.  If you are in need of a new roof then we encourage you to reach out to Nick.  Click here for his contact information.