Sunday, May 3, 2009

New Arbor and Blue Tailed Skink, A Double Post

It's Monday and as usual, I have been busy searching for blues and taking pictures of my latest project at home. I will start with my Met Mon post and for today, I would like to share how our arbor project is going. But first, let me thank Susan at for sponsoring another MM event. It would be fun to visit her and check out what she is sharing with us today and then visit everyone on her list of participants also.
This part of the yard is on the left side of the house in the back. It is visible as you drive up to the driveway before turning right into the garage. This is how it used to be.
It is a sloping yard and down there at the end is a creek, where I never go to because as you can see, it is a very dense area (even after we had it cleaned, it grew right back) and I am terrified of snakes. What I want to do is gradually clean it up again, remove the big bushes, create a clean path and plant smaller flowering plants.
We bought a big arbor, it's wide with seats and it came in 2 portions. Shown here are 2 men who put it together.

Then, John and I removed the stepping stones inside the arbor and dug out the grass. We bought materials that we thought we would need: bricks, sand, lava rocks, ground cover fabric and small pebbles.

We laid the lava rocks first and then the small pebbles, then the sand, ground cover, more sand and finally the bricks and sand over them. It was a lot of work and the bricks were really heavy but we're happy with how it turned out.
I planted climbing jazmines at both ends of the arbor and planted Irish moss in between the stepping stones. I can't wait for the jazmines to cover all the way to the top.
As you can see, I am not done planting yet. We laid stepping stones on the left side of the bottom brick pavement in a curving pattern, which I think is more interesting than going straight down. I plan to plant more Irish moss in between them too.
You can see the 2 levels of brick pavements here. I planted rosemarie, some lavenders and a bird of paradise. I have more to plant but we had a bad storm today so I was unable
to work outside. Here's another view.
You can see the 2 levels of the bricks here.
A view from the driveway. I added flowered seat pads on the benches.
Wouldn't it be relaxing just to sit there, chat with friends, read a book or drink tea? It's a great area for resting when tired from working in the garden too.
A view from the other side. Please forgive the mess. I took the pictures after the storm so there are broken tree branches and leaves everywhere on the yard, so please just ignore the mess.
It's not completely done yet but it is getting there and it looks a lot better now, I think. What do you think?

It is also Blue Monday, which is hosted by Smiling Sal at Go visit Sally and check out all the fantastic blues circulating in Blogland.
Since I shared outdoor photos for Met Mon., let's just stay out and I"ll show you this interesting looking lizard I saw on our porch. The colors are so pretty. The tail is deep cobalt blue and the body has black and yellow stripes. I jumped when I first saw it cause I thought it was a snake.
It was the first time I ever saw this colorful lizard so I researched it on the internet and found out it is called a "skink". It is not poisonous.
Do you see its deep blue tail under the bamboo?
I hope you enjoyed my post today. Your suggestions on how I can make it better are always welcomed. Thanks for stopping by. And thanks to Sally and Susan for hosting these 2 fun Monday events.


Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Christine, the arbor and the brick and rock steps and path are looking so good. I love the bricks layed inside the arbor area. The plants are lovely and when they climb all the way over the arbor it will be stunning. The lizard is really pretty. Such beautiful and vibrant colors. I don't think I have ever seen one either. Great post. Hugs, Marty

KBeau said...

Your arbor is looking good. You've gotten a great start on that project.

Kat said...

Christine, this is coming along beautifully. It's going to be gorgeous when everything grows in. I love jasmine, the smell is just heavenly. And what a cute lizard! We have skinks here, but they don't have those pretty blue tails. What a fun idea for your Blue Monday post. Kathy

Sue said...

Hi Xinex,
You seated arbor is beautiful , what a wonderful place to go and meditate.
Thank you so much for the information on the lizard, as I have seen some of these around my garden too ,and I was wondering if they were poison or not.
I am so happy to find out that they aren't. Lovely post, thank you for sharing.

Miss Laura Lu/RMS4291960 said...

Wow girl how in the world do you find the time to landscape, travel and blog?! It looks beautiful! Your property must be gorgeous! We're going to Shreveport next fall for a wedding how close are you? Hope you have a blessed week! Lauralu :)

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Hi Christine,
I love the arbor, you did a wonderful job with all the lovely plants and the cute little seat cushions. I think I would jump at that lizard too, no lizards in Wisconsin. Cindy

Susan @ The Good Life! said...

I love your new arbor perfect to have an afternoon cup of tea. I think the lizard is cute and my kids would have tried to catch it!

Marjorie (Molly) Smith said...

Christine, Your yard is very beautiful. I love the arber. The puppy dog is one of my favorite little creatures.
Thanks for the warning, but time I saw it, the storm had hit and we were without lights from 10 AM till 7:00 PM.
There are alot of trees and roof damage in Brookhaven, and alot of trees down on 51 near my house, but we were lucky a few limbs and that's all here. It sure did get bad.

Susan (Between Naps On The said...

Wow...Christine,you guys worked hard...and it looks great! What a wonderful addition to your yard and you will enjoy it every time you come home and see it from your driveway. I love the red cushions...what a great look! This will be another great Met Monday post when the Jasmine and Irish moss fills in. :-) Thanks for sharing this today! Susan

Shelia said...

Hi Christine! OH, how beautiful! You have the most gorgeous home and yard! This arbor is wonderful! I'd love to come and sit there with you!
Be a sweetie,
shelia ;)

susan said...

Christine-Your arbor and jasmine will give you so much pleasure!! I have Carolina jasmine on mine and it smells heavenly. It will grow much faster than you think! Lovely post!

Sherrie said...

That is one beautiful arbor!!

Barb @ The Everyday Home said...

Oh Christine my freind - this is beautiful now and will be jaw-dropping in a few months when that jasmine climbs up and over. Your hard work was sooo worth it b/c it is just beautiful!!! I have arbor envy! :-D

We have those icky lizards all around. The cats even bring them in sometimes to play lizard soccer. I have always called them salamanders. Don't know why. Not sure thats even right. I will just call them icky! LOL

Hugs, Barb

Dixie said...

Love your beautiful little rustic garden spot!

Confessions of a Plate Addict said...

Hi Christine! I love your pretty! Hey...I have skinks, too! Last year was the first time I started to see them. Isabella loves to catch them, but I take them away. I've heard they are not good to eat!!! lol Have a great week!...hugs...Debbie

Blondie's Journal said...


I love this arbor and how it looks finally from the photo from your driveway. With the cushions, I can realize what you mean by sitting with a cup of tea and relaxing! But I also appreciate all the heavy & hard work you and John did to create this setting. Great job! :-D

Your lizard is creepy!! I can be used to anything up here to be afraid of except something that does not have fur!! When I was in Key West last summer, an iguana wandered over to the pool and I woke up the whole resort by screaming "Dinasaur!!". Nope, nothing, furless and slimy for me!


Confessions of a Plate Addict said...

Me again, Christine...Seriously...if you have a cat, don't let him/her eat a skink. Vets don't agree, but here's an article from someone down your way:

Blondie's Journal said...


I also wanted to mention that something wonderful to plant between stones or bricks on the ground is Creeping Thyme. It is a low growing herb and you just sprinkle the seeds between the stones. When you step on it, it lets off a beautiful scent. I have it in my Engish Garden at the lake.


Chandy said...

Ok, wow! That lizard is beautiful! Though I admit, I'd jump, too! LOL

That arbor is gorgeous and you're making me wish that I can come through Blogland and over to your place to enjoy that arbor. It'll be wonderful relaxing and smelling all that jasmine! Sigh...

Michelle said...

I like to use arbors to frame outside rooms on our property. It's amazing once you install an entrance how it changes into a room.

Beautiful job!

Life on the Edge said...

Oh the arbor is just beautiful! I so wanted to do this at the edge of the riverbank at the beginning of the path down the bank. I had seen a very similar arbor, but wasn't able to do this. I'm glad you could do this though. I love it!

That lizard was very cool. I had never heard of a blue tailed skink!


Fifi Flowers said...

LOVELY sittin area!!!

Keetha Broyles said...

Love the arbor. You put in a lot of work to get it looking like that!

I THOUGHT that was a blue-tailed skink!!! I didn't know they were found here in the States.

Kammy said...

Hi Christine !
I love the arbor....I see a small table in the future to use for
a tablescape.......LOL ! You have
a beautiful , lush and oh so green
backyard !
O.K., that lizard is pretty darn cool - I haven't ever seen one, don't think they live here in Colorado - or if they do they are
hiding pretty good, LOL !
So glad it is spring, have a good week !
Hugs ~ Kammy

Knitty said...

Your arbor looks great. I didn't know blue tailed skinks existed. I don't need to see one up close though. ;)

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Christine the arbor makeover is fabulous! What a wonderful spot!

SmilingSally said...

That arbor is lovely, and I like the seat cushions. I've never seen a BLUE tailed lizard! Thanks for sharing. Happy Blue Monday.

Unknown said...

Love your new arbor. What a great place to sit and read and relax.

Christi @ A Southern Life said...

You have done a great jog creating a wonderful, quiet little space. I would love to spend some time there.

The little lizard makes a great decoration for your patio!

Cindy J. said...

Oh Christine this looks beautiful! You are truly the most industrious person I know.. I marvel at your energy and artistry, you always produce beautiful results.. Hope this finds you well. Love, Cindy

Amy said...

Your arbor and seats could be in a magazine. I just love them. I can just imagine that you use this area all the time now to enjoy the nice weather. Very nice job. Amy

ellen b said...

Good morning Christine!! What a lovely addition to your yard! That blue tail on that lizard is amazing. I'm glad you saw it and got some shots!! Happy Monday to you!

Barb said...

Hi Christine, such a wonderful garden it.

Happy Blue Monday.


Deb said...

I love your arbor...I bet you will spend a lot of time there...great place to relax...

Gie's Tidbits said...

never seen one like that lizard before either.

happy blue Monday.

Joyce said...

Arbor with the brick work is so peaceful looking. I want to come over and have a glass of cool lemonade with a good book and sit and relax. What a difference. Now the blue tail on the little lizard made me laugh. We have tons of those running around our beach house and when one decides to actually come into our house my daughter and I stand on the bed and scream. Hubby just picks it up by the tail and takes it outside. Obviously I am not a big nature animal gal:)

Baba said...

Hi Christine, this is my first visit to your blog.Your yard with the arbor is great..I have Honeysuckle bushes in my back yard that smell wonderful..

I don't have any blue tailed lizards...very nice shots of him..

Have a good day.. Baba

Unknown said...

That arbor is amazing! And I love where you placed it! Such vision! Update us when the jasmine fills in will you? It had to be intoxicating sitting there now with the jasmine blooming. Mine is blooming on the fence by the pool and its just heavenly!

~Really Rainey~

Unknown said...

Beautiful arbor! I hate skinks, some of the older ones turn that copper color and get HUGE!

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Beautiful new arbor...I love the way you put in the bricks with it. The stone pathway is lovely too. Happy Blue Monday.

Marie Reed said...

I am critter crazy so I just loved seeing this pretty little skink! Amazing that you captured this fast fellow!

Becky K. said...

I am in love with your arbor. So much work went into that. It is coming out very nicely!

The skink is so bright. Fun!

Kim @ Starshine Chic said...

The arbor is fabulous & will look even better when the Jasmine has grown up over it. And the skink is great too. We get a lot of lizards in our backyard but nothing as colorful as yours. Glad it wasn't a snake (we found a snake in our yard last year that was 4 feet long, luckily it wasn't poisonous.)

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

Lovely arbor! My son and grandson would love to see that lizard! Happy Blue Monday.


Nancy said...

My husband loves lizards! We used to see that one occasionally in FL.

Kathy said...

Your new arbor is just gorgeous. I love the natural, woodsy setting. And that blue tailed lizard is pretty cool!

Stephanie ~ Angelic Accents said...

Your new arbor is stunning! WHat a wonderful place to sit & relax. And I've never seen a lizard with such an electric-blue tail!!!

Angelic Accents

Four Paws and Co said...

I love arbors & yours is so pretty! You're doing a great job with the bricks & pavers. Great post!

The little lizard is so cool. I've never one like that although I've heard of them. ☺ Diane

Terry said...

Wow this was like watching DIY,which my hubby and son are as I visit Blue Monday friends.
Oh I love Skinks,I remember the first time I saw one it scared me until I saw all of it and realized it was a wonderful garden friend.
I was never able to capture one with my camera I am so glad you did . They are so brilliant in color. Blessings to you .thank you for such an awesome Blue Monday ,Makeover post.

Linda (Nina's Nest) said...

I think I'd get a good book and a glass it iced tea and go sit and enjoy that wonderful arbor - lovely! Linda

KayC. said...

What a wonderful place to just sit and enjoy the outdoors. Happy Blue Monday!

KayC. said...

What a wonderful place to just sit and enjoy the outdoors. Happy Blue Monday!

Susan @ A Southern Daydreamer said...

Hope you had a Happy Blue Monday ~ Susan

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