victorian farmhouse


Go past Tennessee and turn right.

Then travel 4.5 miles past the horse barn and cow fields and the corn fields and then turn left.

At the end of that long winding country road, you’ll see this.


Our place.

I’m the one on the porch with the sweet tea.

side yard


When you get there,

shake out your tired driving legs.

Take a deep breath of fresh country air.


And when you get a moment, look past the roses and the day lilies and the hydrangea and the peonies at this:





That’s right.  That’s how we roll here in the country.

A big giant slab of asphalt.  40 feet by 20 feet of grey, ugly, stubbly asphalt.


I think it used to be a basketball court once upon a time in a land far far away.  Before the dirt covered it.  Before the potholes took over.  Before the roses and the hydrangea and the day lilies needed a new next-door neighbor.

For a year now I have sipped tea on that side porch and glared at the asphalt.  Willing it to become an English terrace with overly carved and ornate urns and tiny brick pathways.  Willing it to reach for the stars and become something right out of a Jane Austen novel.

And all the while, the asphalt just sat there getting more potholey and dirty and sandy and generally uncooperative….as I spent hours trying to decide how to turn that grey stubbly mess into the stuff landscape dreams are made of.


First, I thought of covering it with stones we made ourselves like this.

Way too time intensive.

Then, I thought about covering it with old bricks like this.

*Sigh(.  Too many kids to put through college.

I even contemplated painting my own faux bricks like this.

Not enough time due to my current Jane Austen obsession.


And then I saw…..this.


concrete blocks


And so we went and bought these.

These glorious cheap concrete blocks.

250 of them.

And dirt and grass seed.

And muscles.




So now this…..


concrete block


Looks like this.

Just 5,000 grass seeds away from absolute perfection 🙂


And after all this pinterest gardening inspiration and four beautiful sunny days in a row, we decided.

We as in:
IASWP Eclectically Vintage the space between


As in us.

As in the hostesses with the mostesses.

(and as in does anyone anywhere ever say that any more?)

We decided that what this world needed was another linky party 🙂

thistlewood farm


And it’s going to be here.  Tuesday, May 29.  And I’m featuring my concrete paver project reveal.  Bring your gardens and decks and concrete pavers and get your linky on.


PS  I’m trying to arrange a marriage over at View Along the Way today.  Stop by and tell the built-ins hi.

PPS  Oh….and I forgot to tell you.  If you’re going to the farmhouse and you run into Illinois….you’ve gone too far 🙂


  1. Image for Kirby Kirby

    This is a great idea, Karianne! We actually have the ugliest blacktop in the world, but we are contemplating tearing one side off of our house, which will change the driveway pattern, so that's on the "20 year plan", if we live that long. My outoor challenge project is more ivy eradication.

  2. Image for Laura Laura

    Great idea. There is nothing worse than asphalt. Of course, as I live in a townhouse there is lots of the ugly stuff. I just pretend it doesn't exist. Can't wait for your Linky party. Hugs, Laura

  3. Image for shirley@housepitalitydesigns shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    Love the concept of the patio stones and grass.....What a tremendous job that must have been!!... Cannot wait for the reveal...of your beautiful stoney path with the grass still beneath your toes of red polish... sipping on your ice you ARE the hostess with the mostesses.... Happy Mother's Day!!!....Have fun with your beautiful family making cherished memories!

  4. Image for Kim Kim

    Oh, that will look nice when the grass comes in. Just hope it has enough soil for a decent root system so the heat doesn't kill it. We have been having a time with our grass lately. One of the reasons the back yard has been turned into a garden. Glad I will be able to join in.

  5. Image for debbiedoos debbiedoos

    Awesome idea. It will be fun to see the fruits of your labor grow...or I mean seeds of your labor. Reminds me of the time my husband and I planted thousands of zoysia plugs in our lawn. The neighbors still talk about us....five years later we have the nicest lawn in the hood!

  6. Image for Beverly Beverly

    Happy Thursday, Karianne. That means tomorrow is Friday. I love Fridays. I put my arms around Fridays, and give them a big ole hug. So today I smile in anticipation of my Friday hug. Great idea for your asphalt. I can only imagine how much labor was required, but the payoff will look great. My husband kind of feels the same about our very large concrete drive. He would love pavers, but the $$ make us cringe as we try to save for retirement.

  7. Image for everton terrace everton terrace

    Oh when those 5,000 grass seeds burst open it's going to be fabulous. We have a driveway that runs along the side of our house because our garage is in the back, which means I have a large amount of concrete in the backyard for getting in and out of the garage. It's not pretty, especially in the summer when it heats up. The good news is................YOU WON MY GIVEAWAY - do pop over for the details :)

  8. Image for Anne Anne

    Totally fabulous ! It's the same idea as what I will be doing in my back yard for a patio - pavers with thyme planted in between. Love that look!!! It was supposed to be this year's project; however, the bathroom reno monster has commandeered all resources... sigh. So many projects, it's like that song we used to sing "99 bottles of beer on the wall" except it's more like "99 projects left to do on my list" and the list gets longer instead of shorter. Have a great day Karianne! xox

  9. Image for Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage

    Since I'm horrible with directions, I'd probably end up in some desolate cow field. Bright side - I've never went cow tipping (gotta knock that one off my bucket list)! I also have grand visions of a Jane Austen garden - on second thought, I think I'll just sip some iced tea! Kelly

  10. Image for Linda Adams Linda Adams

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, house Karianne! I so want to stop by for some sweet tea and sit on that porch with you. Placing all those pavers was quite exhausting I'm sure. Here's the thing...I'm wondering if someone is going to have to mow the driveway or do you have some kind of dwarf Kentucky blue grass your gonna plant? Joyous Wishes, Linda

  11. Image for Linda @ it all started with paint Linda @ it all started with paint

    Oh, I am green with envy at all you lush and full trees! And can't wait to see your amazing patio grow ... ... and if they end up in Illinois they can head north, make a right at Wrigley field and look for the house with the dead tree out front ... :) Linda

  12. Image for Jean Jean

    Beautiful home! I love the paver idea. We tried a small patch of that when we lived in Georgia....couldn't believe how expensive it was! It's gonna look awesome when the grass comes up!

  13. Image for Kelly @ DTTDidc Kelly @ DTTDidc

    I love your idea for covering up the asphalt - looking forward to the big reveal! I'll try to get my beach-inspired planter planted in time for your party on the 29th. It'll be just the inspiration I need to get my butt in gear :-)

  14. Image for Kelly Kelly

    That was such a good idea! I just know it is going to turn out so pretty. You're so lucky to have all of that private property to work with. Your house is just gorgerous.

  15. Image for {Adventuresindinner} {Adventuresindinner}

    Well, it is quite a drive from Ontario but the lure of sweet tea would so very much be worth it C: We're in the midst of doing the same thing at our house but here it is so wet that we're working in mud right now. Oh well, at least there is lots of green.

  16. Image for Andrea Andrea

    I am in complete love with your home. total. complete. love. Great solution for your ashphalt area! It will look amazing once the grass grows in! We are just starting to get our outdoor area all prettied up, but good gracious me, it snowed this morning. What!!?? Snow in May?? Goodness! It is supposed to be hot tomorrow, so the dreaded white stuff will be gone soon enough =)

  17. Image for

    See, I just sit outside on my patio with my rose colored glasses on, sipping my beverage, and ignoring the reality of the state of my backyard. Honey is not one for yard work! (Thank god, that in Cali I have a mow and blow guy for dirt cheap ... Downside is, I have to pay through the nose for all else.) Um, that sounded really weird...that's what we call it here. Mow and blow. They don't weed, or do much else. -Oh, and yesterday, there was a baby rattlesnake on our side path, so now I only RUN out there to water my potted plants, wearing my hubby's steal toe boots, and squealing a little. I am hoping to run over it soon, while backing out of my driveway wearing said rose colored glasses! :-) This is such clever solution for your asphalt pad! It's going to look amazing! I would love to stop by for a glass of sweet tea and a chat! - And hey, we could watch the grass grow! Can you give me directions from the West Coast? ;-) Thanks for the garden linky party motivation! Now I have a REASON to get the yard cleaned up, and photo worthy! I'm off to check out your View Along The Way post. xo-Lisa

  18. Image for GinaE GinaE

    KariAnne, your home is as beautiful on the outside as the inside! I wish I lived there. I am honestly one of your biggest fans! I don't see how Country Living and Better Homes and Gardens haven't featured you in the magazines yet. They are missing out, big time. Hugs, Gina

  19. Image for Karah @ thespacebetweenblog Karah @ thespacebetweenblog

    Ohhhhh, I bet this is going to look awesome!! Based on your directions I feel like I've passed your place a bunch of times. And reading this makes me realize that I totally spaced on linking to all of you guys in my post today. Ugh! :)

  20. Image for Peggy Peggy

    Mmmmm lovely! OH my goodness I can smell the crisp, clean air and hear the birds now.... your "patio" is going to be lovely! And talk about perfect timing!! Graduation is May 26th so I HAVE to have all my projects done. Well my sweet hubby thinks I should just finish what we are working on now and not start any new projects but every thing HAS to be lovely for graduation and open house. Plus once these projects are done then it will be the middle of gardening season, summer vacation will start plus I really want to start sewing again. Because before you know it Christmas will be here.... Have a wonderful day!!

  21. Image for Penny @ The Comforts of Home & Flea Market Makeovers Penny @ The Comforts of Home & Flea Market Makeovers

    It is going to be amazing! What a marvelous solution. Funny thing is years ago we had a farmhouse in Tn that had an old tennis/basketball court on it when we purchased it. It was cracked, filled with weeds, upheaved in spots. We lived with it for a year, then one of our farmer neighbors graciously agreed to come over with a tractor with fork lift thingy attached and he dug it all up, and took it away to use as fill....

  22. Image for Stephanie Stephanie

    Looks like a great and doable idea, Karianne! I'm so happy that you are now blogging again and that I found you! I believe you quit blogging right after I introduced myself to you when you were home visiting here in TX at High Pointe! That has been quite a while ago. Have to tell you that I giggled right along with you on your podcast ~ BTW, you do NOT have a Southern accent ~ maybe sound just a bit like your mother, tho. I've got a girlfriend in Idaho that calls me and she spends the first 5 mins. of our calls laughing constantly at ANYTHING I say!! I'll be back to visit often! Hugs from TX, Stephanie

  23. Image for Jillian Jillian

    Wow! What a challenge...but I have seen over the course of time and reading your obviously like them and handle them very well! I'll have to see about the linky party....we are up to our eyeballs with challenges as you'll see if you stop by my blog today! We are excited though. I'm looking forward to see the results from the link up day!

  24. Image for Becca Becca

    Holy Wow!! Your home is insanely beautiful!! Like, I die every time I see it! A moment of silence for the gorgeousness.... I'm looking forward to seeing the grass grow between those pavers- I'm sure it will look beautiful! xo Becca

  25. Image for Lynne Lynne

    I love what you did with your concrete pavers! I used some like it to help an area in our yard where grass refuses to grow, so we put gravel between them. I love the way it turned out. Btw, you are hilarious! I've been going back and reading all your old and new posts. The whole " don't be a hater" conversation with your son cracked me up!

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