The Happy Place is shrouded in green shade, surrounded by blooming flowers and shrubs.

The Happy Place is shrouded in green shade, surrounded by blooming flowers and shrubs.

The happy place is steps away from the patio.

The happy place is steps away from the patio.

Other times at this blog, I’ve shared memoirs and photos of the backyard outdoor dwelling that so gloriously takes place in our back yard. Oddly prompted by the imposition of hurricanes–Lili in 2002 which blew the 10′ X 10′ storage shed off its concrete foundation and Gustav in 2007 which took half of the corrugated fiberglass sheets off the patio cover–we modified those spaces for different adaptations over the years.

This year’s significant expansion of that outdoor living area incorporated the formerly fenced-off corner of the back yard known once upon a time as a dog pen but more recently as the wood yard. This was the space with the bare 10 X 10 slab set aside, post-Lili, for cutting, splitting, and stacking firewood. We obscured its unsightliness with a five foot hedge that also hid about 200 square feet of the southeast corner of the backyard.

With the recent decision to abandon use of the fireplace, and ergo the need for a wood splitting/stacking area, we decided to open the area and capitalize on the concrete slab to make what Sarah calls our “Happy Place.” The Happy Place is o’ershaded from the east (the rear) by sprawling Live Oak branches growing from across the alley and from the north by a burgeoning Wisteria vine that we’ve given the liberty over the years to crawl and expand along 60 or 70 feet of backyard fence combined. The Happy Place is linked to the covered patio by a 15 foot brick walkway.

We’re still planting and landscaping, but the result to date has been not just gratifying, but downright enchanting. The openness of the improvement to that space, abetted by removing the boring hedge that cut off all view past six feet from the patio, created an aesthetic. In fact, the allure of the Happy Place from the patio draws the observer to move from the patio into the verdant shade in that corner of the yard.

The site remains a work in progress. As the plants and shrubs mature, we envision an increasingly peaceful retreat just feet from the back door, framed and enshrouded by nature.

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