One of our goals with our new backyard was to re-use as many of our old backyard materials as we could.* We tried to transplant the perennials and shrubs. Some made it (peonies, catmint, and yarrow did well). Some did not (oh, my sad, sad blue mist spirea, russian sage, lavender, and artemisia).
The pergola (which was built by our contractor rather than by me, but not because I couldn't do it, of course...because I chose not to do it...hahaha), was built with mostly reclaimed materials. The posts came from a salvage yard in Denver and the top was made from our old deck, but the cross-supports were new Douglas Fir because we couldn't find anything old that was long enough, strong enough, and also affordable. I'm sure we could have found some old barn beams for a few grand but that's a little ridiculous, right? Of course, right. In order to camouflage the newness of the Doug Fir supports, I treated them with a bit of my famous (or infamous, depending on who's talking) oxidizing mixture. This grayed them up just enough that they didn't stand out and scream, "Look at me! They just bought me from Lowe's!"
|Cross supports starting to blend in with the reclaimed wood after a good coat of steel wool and vinegar.|
So we talked about the stone veneer pergola bases in yesterday's post, the materials for building the pergola today...what's left? Oh, only the crowning glory, really.
These star lanterns have a pretty special place in our hearts. In fact, if we ever move I'm not sure we'll be able to leave them behind. (Okay, well, maybe even these have their price.) Lanterns like these are pretty common in the part of Mexico where we lived in 2009-2010 and as soon as I saw them there, I knew we had to have one. Or two. Or maybe eight . So toward the end of our stay there we took a bus to Guadalajara, the heart of all things handmade in Mexico, and found a craftsman who made these. While we would have loved to have a bunch of the big ones with colored glass in them, our budget (and our ability to get them home) held us back. We ended up with two big ones with colored glass and a variety of smaller ones with just cutouts in them. The man who made the lanterns plastic-wrapped them into two very awkward bundles, which we proceeded to load onto the bus and carry them back to the big bus stop in La Peñita and then onto the mini-bus that got us from there back to our town. And you know what? They were totally worth all the weird looks and feeling like tourists.
Scott wired the lanterns using lamp kits from Ikea and LED bulbs. The small ones were pretty tough to put together and Scott's right hand may forever bear the scars of shoving bulbs into metal holes that are just slightly smaller than his hand, but we can rest easy knowing that we probably won't have to change the bulbs for a good ten years. It's also kind of wild (for me, anyway...I'm easy to please) to see them on at night and know they're taking almost no energy.
Last but not least, I've got to credit Scott with this:
Yes, my friends. That's one of two outdoor Bose speakers that Scott picked up from Costco. Some day I'll have him write a guest post for you on how he created our indoor/outdoor sound system. All I know is that it is awesome. He spent months researching how to put it together and it works like a charm (and required no drywall patching). We can control it from any of our (embarrassingly many) wireless devices, we can listen to it in the house, out of the house, or both, and I can have NPR on all day if I so choose. Inside or outside.
So, depending on who's home, you may at any time hear anything from Guns N' Roses (Scott) to TobyMac (the girls) to Marco Werman (um, obviously me).
When I look at the pergola as a whole, I hope that the new materials (like the wiring for the lanterns and the speakers) are balanced out by the used materials (the lumber, the cast-off cast stone, and the flagstone scraps used to top the pillars). I want this structure to be not only beautiful and useful, but I also want to feel good about where it came from.
*Finding a contractor who is willing to work with old materials? I have to say, this was quite a feat. All other contractors I've talked to for all of the projects in our house have looked at me like I have a horn growing out of my forehead when my plan required anything that was in any way out of the norm. (Ahem...this is why I started DIYing.) This project was no different and so I feel really thankful to have found a contractor (Andrew Newland) who would not only agree to work with old materials, but who was actually excited and enthusiastic about both the challenge and the artistic license granted by using reclaimed materials. Yay for free spirits! And, more reclaimed materials to come...the backyard's not done yet.