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LAB Work: Wanna take this OUTSIDE?

Work Budget:  Pocket Change + Free stuff
Time:  2 Short Afternoons
Location:  Our own carport, CA

Finally...A play yard for Zozie!
One man's trash is another's treasure.
Our front neighbors have moved to a new home and left us their play slide as a parting gift.  This wonderful gift has "domino'd" into our latest transformation, this time, outdoors!

Our apartment unit is on top of our carport, a small abode of around 700-ish sq ft.  We have no yard.  Never had.  Wished we had.  So I'm always scheming to get a yard, or a "yardish" feeling around our carport area.
Yes, yardish. 

Before:  A place for our trash cans...and some oil stains.

After:  "My garden park!" ~ Zozie.
Often times, there's a "spark" to start a transformation.  Something that gets the momentum going.  To squeeze the most out of the 6x6 space outside, I placed the new-old slide as the focal point.  This was the start of our play yard space planning, placing everything around this centerpiece for circulation.  Some foam mats line the floor to give alittle cushion from the scratchy floor.

If you actually want people to be in a particular space, you need seating.  Nothing pulls people in to a space faster than putting some chairs out.  It's really true.  You should try it.  Just put a chair anywhere, make it a couple, and people will start hanging out there.  So since I wanted the kids to hang out in this play yard, I placed a set of table and 2 chairs next to the slide.  (Garage Sale finds:  $15) Threw in a discounted umbrella from Target to shade and identify the dining area.  And now, we dine Al Fresco @ Zo's Cafe multiple times a week.  Also a perfect "snack buffet" zone when we have playdates.

For as much as I daydream, this is still a concrete driveway nook.  But green space was on the top of my list for Zozo's home classroom, so flower boxes were in order.  I found some old ones in the shed and planted some herbs and flowers.  Zo & I also potted a red bell pepper plant and a cherry tomato plant.  It's been nice for Zo to have something to water and watch grow.  Our small container garden also acts as a "partition" wall, bringing some green into the playspace.  An old fireplace screen (leftover from our Annual Yard Sale) keeps the plants separated from flying balls!

Storage Bucket
As in our Homeschool Classroom, storage is needed and essential.  Nothing makes a space more confusing than not having a place to return things to.  We used a city recycling bin as a "Catch All" for balls, gloves, bats, roller skates, and all loose toys.

Private Pool
For the summer only, we set up an inflatable kiddie pool for some splashy fun.  This is in our extended concrete area outside our laundry room downstairs.  Glad the kids love this Dino Falls Splash Pool (Again from Target post-summer sale) since I nearly passed out from exhaustion manually blowing this contraption up.  (Cough!)

It's such a blessing to have an extended play space now.  We are proud to say we have our own outdoor play yard, a fun extension to our indoor home classroom.  So ya wanna take this outside too?


  1. Julie, may I have your brain for a few months? This is pure genius!

  2. Have to agree with M - genius and inspiring. And I add to that care. . .you care deeply.

  3. I just discovered your blog! I'm excitedly reading through all your posts. My little one is three next week and I've been trying to turn ordinary home into a Montessori home. Thankyou for all your brilliant ideas! Truly an inspiration.

  4. Thanks Churchill! Please come back and visit! Would love to hear about your own home transformation! http://hapalab.blogspot.com/search/label/Tranformations

  5. Jewel II - yet another awesome creation. I want to be you when I grow up.