I don’t have anything else arranged indoors, so I thought I’d walk around and show you the view outside my apartment.

This is me standing on my patio taking a photo of the people’s apartment adjacent to me and across the sidewalk.

Looking Toward My Patio & Yard Space:

A view of my apartment patio space

This is me standing looking toward my patio. That white trunk may not stay. But for now, it has garden stuff in it and that’s where Teri placed it for lack of anywhere better to put it.

The Man Who Lives Just Across From My Patio:

the view outside my apartment just across from me is this man's apartment yard space

This apartment is the guy who lives straight across from my patio. I like the fence enclosure. I’ve seen quite a few apartment residents have them.

I may have to check into this.

The Next Apartment After His:

A meandering path of stone as you walk toward the apartment's pool

This is the apartment next to his. They also have a fenced enclosure. Then there’s the meandering walkway that curves around toward the pool area.

the view outside my apartment down at the corner is this woman's enclosed yard space

The End Of The Row:

The view toward the pool

The yard just to the left is the last apartment in the row where my apartment is located. For a total of four apartments per row.

Then you see the apartment across from her.

the view outside my apartment if you walk down to the fourth apartment before you reach the sidewalk

Here’s a closer look at the woman’s yard at the end and across from my row. I’ve seen her out there working on it.

You can tell it’s a hobby of hers to arrange things in her little yard.

The apartments just down from mine

Close Up Of My Patio Space:

the view outside my apartment and my patio

Above is my yard space. As you walk toward the patio, there is a drop-down of a row of concrete blocks. I don’t know what the purpose of that is.

So now you can see what I have to work with in terms of rocks and the drop-down to my patio.

A close up of my patio

The concrete blocks drop down to a bricked space. I haven’t yet seen any other yards like this. The others are flat. I’m not sure what I’ll do with my space, since it is multi-leveled as you can see.

You can see the Japanese Maple in its pot in front of the white trunk. I had that trunk in the closet at my other place, so you didn’t see it.

There are trees in front and back and at the side. So it will be shady.

I’m interested in those fence enclosures, but I’m just not sure how that would work since my yard space is rocky and drops off to the brick flooring.

Kendra told me that she enclosed a pool with this type of fencing and it was pretty expensive.

Ideas are certainly welcome!


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  1. Hi Brenda. I’m getting caught up on my blog reading! I love your new place! I can’t wait to see what you do with it! I hope you find a multitude of Joy in this new beginning 🙂

  2. Brenda, I just went back and caught up with your last several posts. It seems like you’re settling in and the place looks amazing!! I think you’re going to be very, very happy there. I wish you nothing but the best, my friend, well deserved!

  3. I agree that those cinder blocks seem a bit puzzling. I know someone already suggested succulents in them because they love the heat. I’m not sure if I’d remove and bricks/blocks without management approval. I’d also check with management about the fence. I’m guessing they some sort of “standards” approval process before doing anything? I see a lot of possibilities for your yard!!!

  4. It looks like such a lovely complex, where all of the neighbors take pride in keeping their areas looking nice. It’s great that you’re also only a short walk to the pool!
    If, as some of the others have said, the cinder blocks are some sort of retaining wall to keep dirt off the patio, and can’t be removed, perhaps you can place some large rectangular planters over them. This way, you don’t have to worry about tripping over them, but leave a little space open so you have access to the other area. I also wonder if they’d allow you to have the rocks removed, and the ground smoothed out in that area that you’re thinking of fencing in, so it’s not so uneven. As you get to know your neighbors, you’ll get lots of helpful info from them. Maybe someone can tell you why those cinder blocks are there, who they used to put in the fencing, etc.
    In any event, you are going to make your outdoor space the envy of the entire community, and they’ll be coming to you for ideas!

    1. I believe the cinder blocks are there for drainage purposes when it rains so it won’t be a mud hole. . U can buy that fencing at Lowes.

  5. Brenda your living in Paradise & I am so happy for you. We can’t wait to see your home all decorated & I wonder if your driftwood from your old patio could go against the cinderblocks to block them/flowers & you wouldn’t even notice them!! Also loved the idea of a ladder w/your quilts hanging on display!! Take it easy & relax. We are ALL here for you so be safe & be well!! We ARE your friends! ! Blessings Brenda!!

  6. Your new neighbors have no idea what a TREAT they are in for in the coming months!!! When your flowers start blooming, every gardener in the complex will be coming down that little path to see your garden! I agree that the concrete blocks were probably placed there to act as a retaining wall on one side and to hold the bricks in place on the other side. I wouldn’t remove them as they also hold the soil in place around the base of that tree. You wouldn’t want the soil to wash down into your patio area during a rainstorm. Blessings to you in your new location!

  7. WhT are the directions of the sun? It looks so much calmer,quieter,and cleaner there. Can you paint the white chest? It seems to require some softening. Home sweet home.

  8. I’ve suggested checking into screening your patio since you first posted pics, and wondered if they would allow it. well, I guess you can! Your kitties would love that, just make sure you can latch the door because they will push it open. A cat tree out there would be well loved. I wonder if the bricks and blocks are where the run off is from the balcony and roof above. Maybe it was creating a gully in the dirt. I personally wouldn’t do anything until you’ve seen what happens when it rains, and then get ideas from management and neighbors. You don’t have to be in a hurry for it. Wait until you get your foot fixed, and then maybe you can enjoy gardening again.

  9. I love your new home! It appears to be a very warm and homey place. And I’m waiting, along with everyone else here, to see where you take us on the decorating train. I’m not sure why but I feel as though we’re all there with you!

  10. Hi Brenda! Just my thoughts on the concrete blocks and the “step-down”. As we get older, we need less steps……my thoughts, with management approval is, for them to remove them and make it more gradual….. I am so happy for you and you make others happy sharing! Thank you so much. Whatever you decide, is what we want for you! My best wishes always!

  11. Others have shared so many great ideas! I really like the limestone rocks and feathery grasses already in place. How about adding a string of fairy lights in the bonsai-shaped shrub? I wouldn’t enclose it right away because I envision you having containers along the perimeter that “spill” color. Add a few flagstone pavers as a path to the sidewalk, perhaps. And shade-loving larger plants like ferns and hostas as a backdrop to your colorful border? Like you, I love to dream about my space. This will be my 3rd year of designing a small container garden exposed to the very hot Texas summer sun. I had shade before but could grow hyacinth beans on a trellis and coleus. Maybe place your jade tree & birdbath close together. And if you haven’t ever grown butterfly pea vine, check it out. The lacy foliage and bright blue-purple flowers are amazing. A trellis on your exterior wall would be stunning. Happy to send you a photo of mine. Whatever your garden dreams, may they all come true!

  12. I like the screened in porch. Would let you open doors when the weather is nice and the cats would enjoy it as well. They can be taught not to climb on screens. It would give you additional living space and provide a little more privacy when sitting on patio.

  13. Thank you for the outdoor tour , it looks like a beautiful place to live . I have no doubt your patio will be beautiful ! I can hardly wait to see it again when you’ve had more time to figure out what you want where .

  14. It’s all so lovely Brenda! Thrilled for you that you have a fresh slate to work with. My Dad always suggested to wait on placing plant containers outside until rainfall to see where water runoff will occur. You may likely have roof runoff that lands along the edge of your patio, as I’m not seeing rain gutters in the photos. No worries … you just don’t want to place your beautiful plants where falling water will strike them.

    I love that each patio and lawn area is so unique and personalized. How nice that management allows that freedom. Such a great place to live!

  15. Your neighbors have very nice patios. BUT…….They ain’t seen nothin yet! Wait till they see what “BRENDA” can do!!!! (big grin).
    I for one, can’t wait to see your decorated patio. Brenda, I know it will be perfection, just as your last space was. Love the Area. It looks like such a Happy place. Hugs from warm WI, temp is now 28F. Heat wave….

  16. The grounds are so beautiful. Love the grasses. I can only imagine how pretty it will be in the fall. I’m sorry you couldn’t take that wonderful piece of driftwood you had. I always loved it. I know whatever you do it will be magical.

    1. My granddaughter and Kendra went over to my old apartment Saturday. Marley fell in love with the driftwood. She insisted her mom tote that heavy thing to her car so she could have it. I’d left the back gate unlocked so she could take what she wanted that I left behind. Marley also wanted the rocks I’d collected.

      1. It’s wonderful that your garden treasures are of interest to your grandaughter and were rescued.
        I love your neighborhood, and it looks like it will be fabulous to be surrounded by people who like gardening, and take care of their space. It will be fun to see what others do with their spaces, kind of like mini garden tours for you😊.
        It looks as if you will be going from intense sun gardening to more shade gardening, which I loved. I could just envision iris reticulata bulbs (dwarf bulbs) tucked in the soil in those cinder blocks. I love the brick which gives interest and character. Your J. Maple is going to love it there.
        From the other yards it looks as if removing the stones for a safer surface for you to walk on won’t be an issue. Perhaps one of your neighbors will know someone you could hire for the work.
        A suggestion – one of the best treasures for learning I had was a catalog from White Flower Farms. They are expensive to order from so I would do my research reading, and then source plants elsewhere. The catalog is like a wonderful gardening book, and you can spend hours learning, and dreaming..
        I’m sorry to go on, and on, but I’m so happy and excited for you, and this next phase of your life. What a blessing you discovered this place.😍😍😍

  17. I am just now catching up with your last several blog posts. You sound so happy in your new place already. I can “hear” it through your writing. I like your little patio area – it looks cozy, shady and a little private. Will you be allowed to remove all those rocks? Would they let you plant grass seed?

  18. Super cute! You get nice mature trees that surround you, a meandering path, AND a pool to sit by or swim in! Jackpot!

  19. Hi Brenda – I love your new home. The privacy of the patio space is ideal. If you wanted to screen it in, it would afford you more privacy and make a lovely outdoor room. I think the space outside the patio has a lot of potential and the arrival of spring and summer will give you a better feel for what you wish to do with that space. The shade from the trees is a plus. It’s a lovely spot and I look forward to watching you decorate inside and out. Enjoy the journey.

  20. So good to see your new little corner of the world. Lots of possibilities. Though this doesn’t seem to have the privacy that your former patio gave you. Is the balcony above yours as well?

  21. I am so happy for you ~ it looks like you are going to fit right in with all your gardening neighbors! Remember that your beautiful patio at the old place took time to evolve ~ be patient.
    And above all, be gentle with yourself ~
    Gentle hugs ~

  22. That looks like such a nice, well kept neighborhood. You can tell when people take pride in their homes. It looks like you’ll be surrounded by like minded people, all who have a love for gardening. And with your neighbors being so friendly, you’ll have plenty of friends with common interests in no time. Do you think you’ll use the pool? It’s a much better way to get exercise, as it’s really easy on your joints. It might be a good way to rehabilitate your ankles. Brenda, I am truly, truly happy for you!

  23. Ok, I know it’s the off-season for gardening, but I’m not impressed with the neighbors’ yards! When you work your magic out there, everybody’s going to step up their game! Mark my words! 😉I love everything about your place. As a few others have mentioned, I wonder if it’s possible to install screening to enclose your patio so the cats can enjoy fresh air. And keep bugs away from you! We have a second floor deck with no stairs and our cats love being out there. I think I’d have planters on top of the cement blocks and start an herb garden if there’s enough sun. Or impatiens if not. You’d have a secluded little oasis back there. For the rocky area, how about planters artistically arranged and overflowing with scent and color? Lol here I am, bossing you around like a master gardener when we live on a wooded lot where I can only grow hostas and four shaded window boxes! Total annual gardening effort: one hour labor, $35 impatiens flats….done!

  24. How are you feeling today? I get a really good feeling about your new home. It looks like you will have many gardening friends and lots of flowers to look at. I like how you have a roof and sides to your patio. It seems like you will have privacy with the large shrubs and trees. I like the pathway to the pool and that you have a lamp post light close. It will be exciting to see how things grow in your yard. Before you make any big decisions about the cinder blocks and stones you might want to plant something in the cinder blocks to soften and cover them up. Maybe there are some bulbs already planted that will come up. Have a good day!

  25. It looks like all your neighbors take pride in their area! A friend of mine has a fence that looks very similar to the ones in your complex. She got it from Lowe’s and according to her it was very easy to put up.

  26. I love, love, love your new corner of the world. I’m excited at the prospect of your patio space. The people around you will get to enjoy your gardening talent. I think that enclosure is a good idea if you can get it to work for you.
    Just relax and enjoy everything about your new home.

  27. No ideas, but it looks like a nice neighborhood. Those little yards seem like just the right amount of space to enjoy gardening, but without being too much work.

  28. Photos you shared explains a lot re your yard space!
    I think come spring/summer, you will be able to figure out what to grow and look at. It will be lovely!
    We all know how you so enjoy gardening Brenda!!
    In the meantime, lots to do inside!! Can’t wait to see.
    This apartment came at the best time ever for you!!!
    So very glad ,,,,, 😊

  29. Are the cinder blocks maybe being used as a retaining wall so the dirt from above won’t be washed down onto your area? If you can’t remove them I would see about being able to plant something in the top holes. Which would very pretty too.

    1. That’s what I thought. That the blocks are being used as some sort of retaining wall. But I don’t understand why my place is lower and the other neighbors don’t have this lower space. Maybe just the way it was to start with.

      1. I’d look at the end apartments on other quads for a clue. My first thought is it’s where rain runoff has washed out the dirt. And you sure don’t want that running into your patio space.

  30. I love those fence enclosures. With the small yard and a fence it will be like your private court yard! I can see some large flower pots out there with lush green shade plants (ferns) and you can bring in color with shade loving impatiens, caladium, coleus, etc. and blend in decorative items. Some ground cover such as periwinkle that blooms blue in Spring could also be an option. I am in heaven just thinking about what you can do with that space! And, with there being shade and a ceiling fan on your patio, you can spend more time outside. So happy for you! Enjoy your new home.

  31. Looks like there’s a lot of gardener’s at your apt complex. Your going to have beautiful flowers all around u including yours Brenda!

  32. My mother in law had 2 dogs and a small patio. The dogs would only go potty on grass, and the grass was just outside her fence. The fence was those iron sections like you show. We got more at Lowe’s. They were kind/of high priced but we didn’t need too many. Then we added some fake turf. The dogs would now go potty. The fake turf was very expensive.
    The fence sections really have to be hammered in by someone strong. Looked nice though.

  33. Brenda it looks as if you have found some kindred spirits who love to garden as well. That is exciting and I think as spring arrives it will be fun to meet all the neighbors and get “the lay of the land”. You will turn the proverbial sows ears into a silk purse and I look forward to seeing the creative ideas you post. I can see a garden tour in your future!

  34. We had that fencing around our pool in our last home. Now we have it blocking the side yard from the back yard. We got it at Lowes. Bet u could look it up online. It’s pretty easy to put together. If u have dirt and not blocks!! Congratulations on ur new home. Can’t wait to see the inside🤩

  35. This new place is lovely and it looks like you have some neighbors who also love to garden! We have some similar fencing in our yard to keep our dogs from my garden beds. We also purchased ours at Lowe’s or Home Depot. If I recall, they were pricey, but well worth it. the Quality is really good and they are beautiful despite all the crazy weather Central IL has thrown at them. I am so excited for you!!!! Can’t wait to see what everyone’s little garden looks like this spring/summer!!!!

  36. I’m not very good at putting together 3-D from looking at photos. It appears that the concrete block lining part of your patio/yard area served two purposes: (1) to hold the bricks in place that were laid, I assume, to add decorative interest as well as expand the previously existing patio area and (2) to add a raised planter bed of a sort. I see one big rock and some smaller size rocks, as well as stones, that could be removed by hand, and what appears to be an attempt at some point to cover the ground with gravel “mulch.” It’s a lot of work to remove stone used as mulch, lots of raking and hand-picking and then adding top soil or planting soil before you can begin either planting flowers, shrubs, or laying sod. It can be done though, with determination and time if it’s only you working on it. I worked on clearing out two areas around my two remaining large pines along the driveway in the fall, when the warm weather stretched on for weeks beyond normal and it was war enough to work outside every day. It took about 5 days working a few hours daily, to clear the circular area around one tree. It still needs to be raked well but the bulk of the clean-up is done. Before I could finish the second area the weather got too cold to spend time outside picking white “marble” stones of all different sizes out of the dirt, digging some out with garden tools. But I’m close to being finished, and will complete the cleaning process this spring. With the rocks and gravel removed, you would have planting area. If you have the brick removed (assuming it’s not cemented in), you would have even more planting area. The concrete blocks look like they’re pretty damaged and falling apart. You may not be able to remove them yourself, but perhaps you could get some free quotes from landscapers to come in, remove the blocks, take out the bricks at the same time along with the large rock, and level all the soil for you. I assume you would need permission to do so from the manager, they might be able to recommend a landscape business that would be willing to do the work. I would ask management about those metal fences, maybe it is something they provide upon request? The fences are not all identical, but they’re all black, all metal and all look to be about the same height. Yes, you can certainly tell which patio/garden areas are well loved and kept up. I found that when I started sprucing up my gardens and lawn area at the front of my house, and then added shutters, a new light fixture, new address plaque, new rug, new planters, etc. to the front porch/stoop and added pretty annuals and perennials to the front beds, my neighbors started coming out and spending more time prettying things up their front yards too. It’s contagious 🙂 Now you will be there to add your green thumb and artistic eye to beautify your area, thereby raising all other areas just by association.

    1. I agree those blocks look possibly related to the brick that was put down. Maybe the previous tenants had some flower boxes or some thing up against them. I also agree it’s hard to tell from a non-3-D picture, but I too would consider removing the bricks and the cinderblocks.. Of course maybe The previous tenants put those bricks there in an attempt to sort of level off the space and extend the patio who knows. Whatever the reason I do think those cinderblocks have something to do with the bricks. And I’m not sure you can or should remove one without the other. But I’m sure there are alternatives that you could come up with. Also I noticed one of the apartments had their patio screened in with a door. I’m sure whatever they did is removable. I would sure consider looking into that! The kitties would probably like sitting out there. It looks like a nice complex. I think you will be safe there.

    2. Wow 👏 you have really accomplished a lot in your space!! Really nice Jan.
      Love reading these stories about apartment/yard improvements! 😊

  37. Brenda, although you have been so busy with your move, you seem so much more content in your new space! The anxiety of life in your old place and the anticipation of the move must have been so wearing on you. The complex looks very nice and I’m glad to hear your neighbors are happy there. All the best to you as you get settled into your new cozy space!

  38. It looks like those fence panels came from Lowe’s or Home Depot. You would probably be able to enclose your area for $400 – $500, depending on how many panels were needed. Maybe your grandson or daughter could help you install it. Also, you could cover the rocks with mulch and put down stepping stones to have a more level pathway to the sidewalk. Your birdbath would look lovely surrounded by mulch and colorful pots of flowers. Whatever you do will look lovely. I love your decorating style and once you settle in, you’ll figure everything out.

  39. I love your new space Brenda, its great that you can do with the garden what you will, usually, or at least here in Canada every outdoor space has to be the same. I think you are going to love it there and feel more at ease. Glad the kitties are settling in.

  40. What a lovely complex, Brenda – I’m sure it will be really beautiful when things start to come alive in spring! I love that all your neighbors seem to take such pride in their gardens, you can all enjoy looking at each other’s spaces as well as your own. And if they are feeding the birds or have windchimes out, you get to enjoy them also! I have seen people plant low growing herbs in the holes of those concrete blocks – maybe you can mix herbs and succulents? You’ll have to sit with it for a while while you ponder your choices but it will be super exciting to see what you come up with in spring!

  41. Do you have a ceiling fan in your patio? The photo looks like you do. That will be a godsend during the summer.

    I can’t wait to see what you do with your garden space.

  42. I think you’ll do wonders with the yard area – you just have the touch. I bought the same fencing from Home Depot – relatively inexpensive – I have an arch – fencing and a gate from them to mark off a large garden area – I’ve had these for about 6 years – Wisconsin winters have not bothered them at all and they look like new, They are so much cheaper than a commercial wrought iron fence would be and I bet that’s what your neighbors are using. These are apartments not homes and it would be foolish to put big money in fencing – just check it out – I think you would be pleased.

  43. It looks like a lovely place to live…I have seen fences like that on amazon…some are for pets ..maybe other tenants put in the blocks..you could ask management…if you could redo it.. know you will make it beautiful..so happy for you💞

  44. As Eileen said, “You won’t be enclosing a whole pool area” and also Lowes
    has fencing like that and it’s not too expensive. It certainly would add to your area and I don’t think you would regret it. Love your new area.

  45. Hello nice views I’m thinking the bricks are a divider between your yard and the common area could be if a fence was something you really wanted could still be arranged. I think the chest looks fine my sister in law has one on her small deck area which is the same thing for storage she always gets a matching cushion and uses it on top gives extra seating also easy removed if needed as small table for serving table so many things 🤗🤗

  46. Keep. in mind that you won’t be fencing a whole pool. Whatever you do, check to make sure you extend the fence as far as the management will allow. You won’t regret it. That will be your property going forward so expand it as far as you can.

  47. You are going to have fun this spring fixing up your outdoor space. You’ll probably change things around a few times before you like what you see. It will all fall in to place a little at a time. I am really happy for you to have such a nice place now. Just enjoy at your own pace.

    1. Thank God you are in a safe and secure place. it’s lovely! As far as fencing, I’ve used the same as your neighbors . I got mine at Home Depot. It comes in many lengths and heights sections. When I finished my project, I discovered a fence company run by a local fellow who could have done something similar for less money. There are no gutters to prevent run off from the patio above. Maybe a previous resident put the blocks there to prevent mud splatter. Possibly they held a tall planter box “wall” to provide some privacy when the apartment blinds are open. I found some 48” high 4’ long planter boxes at a flea market. They certainly need some work. I’m going to use them to hide my trash receptacles.

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