Last weekend was very exciting around our house … well, that is, for my husband and me. Not so much for the kids, especially when they heard those dreaded words: “Home improvement.”

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So the story goes like this. We’ve had a courtyard area in the front of our house, unfinished, for about 3 years, since we completed our kitchen remodel.

We’re big fans of paying for things when you have the cash, and completing it just hasn’t been in our budget.

When Paul and I attended the EVO conference this year, we were invited to a VIP party sponsored by Lowe’s and Whirlpool. Little did anyone know that the lights in Salt Lake City would be out for about 6 hours … but the parties went on anyway (very creative companies, lots of glow sticks!).

Later, when I got home, we received an email indicating that we had won a gift card from Lowe’s, after dropping our business cards off at the party.

Yeah! Who doesn’t love Lowe’s? For us, we can literally spend hours in that store.

From there, with a few email exchanges, Lowe’s generously agreed to sponsor the remodeling of our front courtyard area. So our DIY project began …

We had the best experience with this company. They not only gave us suggestions for what to do, but they also laid out a plan, and a budget, and said … Get to Work!

Back to our boys.

Hard workers, but you can tell here (don’t they look like twins? two years apart, both in college) that they weren’t overly excited to get started on this project.

Especially with 108 heat that day (thank goodness we have a pool and know the benefits of Gatorade!), and with a very hard-working Dad, they decided to jack-hammer out the 34 year-old current chipped, and very old-looking, walkway.

And put in a new border. (Have I told you I have the best husband around?) :)

When we went to the Medford, Oregon store, Sarah was our assistant. She was so knowledgeable in the garden center, being a landscaper of 12 years herself (Lowe’s is very fortunate to have her as an employee).

Sarah recommended we use the 16″ Goldrush Garden Stone, and gave us detailed instructions on how to lay it. Overall, the staff in the Medford store was so efficient and helpful; we couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

For only $25, the Lowe’s truck even delivered the flagstone to us – bright and early Saturday morning (sorry neighbors)!

We finished painting the windows in that area, brought in more decomposed granite (from the side of the house), and the guys followed the step-by-step instructions passed on from Sarah, who even walked us through Lowe’s and showed us exactly what we needed to complete the job (you can also find this information on their website).

It sure helps to bring in a variety of photos of the area in need, because they helped Sarah to see what we were working with, so that she was able to point out things that we wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.

PHASE 1 of courtyard complete! We were very happy with the outcome.

Then back to Lowe’s we went for pots and plants and to spruce the area up a bit.

Of course now we dream about the next phase. What will look better in the front, as we plan to enjoy this area in the evening (our back yard gets very hot in the summertime); maybe we can offer appetizers in this area when we have guests over.

We’re thinking of a tall water feature on one wall, or a trellis on the other. We’ll be building a deck, adding more plants, maybe an overhead arbor, to help make the area POP when you come into our driveway.

More importantly than impressing will be enjoying our new space with friends–all thanks to Lowe’s.

Come back next post and I’ll tell you how we tied it all together with new pots, plants, and a few more inexpensive touches (using what we already had).

If you have a garden thumb, what types of plants or other features would you bring into our new space? A no-cut ground cover like thyme? Something different?

This post is sponsored by Lowe’s, but as always, all opinions are my own.