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Backyard Slat Wall DIY Project

DIY Projects

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This year we have been putting a lot of focus on our backyard, taking it from an empty dirt lot to a place our whole family can enjoy! We knew we wanted a large concrete patio with different areas to hang out in. My kids’ only request was a spa and I was completely onboard with that so designing the spa area of our backyard was the first thing on the list!


There were a few things that we needed to make the space beautiful, functional, and comfortable. First was a covering, I wanted us to be able to enjoy the spa no matter the weather, sun or snow, so we added this amazing pergola. We have the 13’x19′ Skydance in black. The top opens and closes with a remote, has LED lights, and a water tight roof! The assembly was easier than we thought it would be and the quality is unmatched by anything we have ever owned previously. This is a structure that will last the test of time.

Next we decided to build a slat wall behind the pergola. I chose this project for a few reasons. It creates separation from the RV pad on the side of our house, it adds privacy from future homes that will be build around us, and it’s a beautiful addition to our garden, especially once the wall is covered with Clematis on the trellis we installed! This project took us about 3 days and made a huge impact!


Supplies Needed:

Redwood 4×4

Pine 1×4

Wood treatment stain

Outdoor deck/fence stain


Outdoor rated screws

DIY trellis kit

Flowering vine like Jasmin or Clematis of your choice


Setting the posts:

First you will need to set your redwood posts in the ground. Before you can do that you want to treat the bottom portion of the post that touches the dirt with wood protectant. This will protect the wood from the dirt and water in the ground. We treated the bottom 30″ since that’s how far down into the ground we set our posts. Then dig your holes, 3 times as wide as the post, set the posts level in the holes, and fill with 2-3 bags of concrete per post. We set the first 2 posts on the end and then ran a string line in-between the two to easily line up the middle posts. We used quick set concrete and let it sit about half a day until we attached the slats to the post ensuring to insure they were dry.

Attaching the slats:

We used 1″x4″ pine boards and attached them to the posts with 2″ spacing. You can make the gap bigger or smaller as you like but keep in mind where you live. If you get high winds keep the gap 2″ or larger, otherwise this wall may turn into a sail and could cause quite a problem! We first tacked up the boards with a nail gun then re-inforced them with exterior screws to secure them in place. (TIP: Using a spacer is the easiest was to keep your gaps the same size.) Once they were attached we cut off the extra wood on the sides and top for a clean, even wall.

Staining the wall:

We used Behr all weather outdoor deck stain on the slat wall in the color Mahogany. You can get it in a sold or semi-trasparent stain. If you want to see the wood grain I suggest the semi-transparent. I wanted more of a painted look without the wood grain showing through so I went with the solid. It goes on easy with a brush and paint roller and was one coat coverage! This stain can last up to 25 years!

Adding a trellis:

This part is optional but in my option it takes the project next level! We bought a DIY Trellis kit and installed it on the face of the slat wall. It’s such a smart system and went together perfectly! You can customize the design and shape you want your vines to grow in and I’m excited to see my Clematis cover the trellis!


We have so much more planned for our backyard this season and this is just the beginning!


-Grey Birch Designs-

Landscaping and creating a garden in our backyard

Design Tips

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We have been in our new home for a year and a half now and we are finally putting our backyard together and I couldn’t be happier! We want a low maintenance yard so we are doing lots of hardscape, flower beds, and no grass! So far we have installed a large concrete patio for 3 separate outdoor living spaces: a spa area, lounge space, and a spot for outdoor dining. Next comes the part I have been dreaming of for over a year, the landscaping!




There are so many option when it comes to flowers, plants, and trees that I was a bit overwhelmed in the beginning, but now have a more clear picture of what I want the space to look like. We have already starting planting around the back deck and the side of the house, and now we are planning out the large planter bed that will run along the side of the concrete patio. Here is what we have planted so far and a list of trees and plants we are considering for the back of the yard along the fence line.






Roses and Hydrangeas

These are 2 of my very favorite things to plant. They are easy to grow and so beautiful in full bloom! We are planting 2 types of roses in our backyard, Iceberg Roses and Hybrid Tea Roses.

Iceberg Roses

The Iceberg rose is a shrub type rose, relatively fast growing and disease resident. They produce beautiful smaller size white roses from late spring to first frost. These are great to use as boarders around decks and porches, as well as hedges and lining fences. They can get large but are shapable and can be cut back to desired size. We planted a few of these in our front yard flower beds last year and just recently planted more along the side of our house. They love sun so plant them where you get full sun! This is what my iceberg roses looked like at my last house after only a few years!


Hybride Tea Rose

The Hybrid Tea Rose is a beautiful show stopper rose. It grows tall stocks and is perfect for cutting to bring fresh roses into you home. The blooms are large and fragrant, they also love lots of sun and are easy to grow. We are planting these along the back side of our home where they have the ability to grow tall and wide and I can’t wait to see them flourish!


Snowball Hydrangea 

The Snowball Hydrangea is a beautiful round in shape hydrangeas bush. They like full sun to part shade. We are planting these around our back deck. This type of hydrangea gets large, wide and tall so they make for great borders around areas like decks. I have dreams of sitting out here being surrounding by flowers all day! This is also a great hydrangea for colder areas and they bloom on new wood so in the winter cut it pretty far down and new shoots pop up and bloom in the spring.


Limelite Hydrangeas

We planted 2 Limelite hydrangea trees in our front yard last year and I love them so much. They are a beautiful white colored large cone shaped bloom and they come as trees or shrubs. They do well in full sun to part shade and bloom on old wood. This means in the winter you only cut off the dead blooms and leave the old stocks. If you cut off the stocks you won’t have blooms the next year because all the new blooms are already growing inside the stocks waiting to pop out the next season. If you’re local check out Glover Nursery or Sun River Gardens – this is where I got mine from!



We are planning to add 4 or 5 trees to our yard along the back fence line inside a large garden bed are are building. We need something that doesn’t get too large but will still provide us with some shade and privacy. The options are seriously endless and picking trees is a large investment. You also have to think about how it will work in your yard once it’s at it’s full maturity, otherwise you will be ripping trees out and no one wants to do that! Some of the top contenders for us right now are:

Magnolia tree

Birch tree (it’s name alone is so fitting!)

Musashino Zelkova



Tree recommendations 

I asked you all what you favorite backyard trees are, something on the smaller size around 30′ max hight and here are your top recommendations! We will be adding a few of these to our yard from this list over the next month and I will share the process and what we picked out. 

Dakota Birch

Cherry Blossom Tree

Dogwood Tree

Firestick Tree

Japanese Maple Tree – (Recommended by many)

Autum Blaze Maple

Ruby Sunset Maple Tree

Pacific Sunset Maple Tree

Crimson Sunset Maple Tree

Crep Myrtle – (Recommended by many)

Redbud Tree – (Recommended by many)

Zelkova Tree

Rocket Juniper Tree

Kentucky Coffee Tree

Crabapple Tree

Bradford Pear Tree

Columnar Oak Tree

Dwarf Lilac Tree

Karl Fuchs Tree

Sanders Blue Atlas Tree

Chokecherry Tree


Stay tuned to see how this project unfolds and all the trees and flowers we pick for our backyard!


-Grey Birch Designs-

Family Favorite Chili Recipe


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Family Favorite Chili Recipe

Family Favorite Chili Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

This Chili is a mix of sweetness with a mild kick!


  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 lb ground turkey or ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 4 tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 15oz. cans kidney beans
  • 2 15oz. cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15oz. can beef broth


  1. Saute onion, garlic and meat in a pot with the oilve oil until the meat it browned
  2. Add all the spices and stir to combine
  3. Add tomatos, beans and broth to pot and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until thickened, about 30 mins uncovered
  4. Serve with schredded cheese, sour cream and cornbread if desired!


This makes for great leftovers and is even better the next day, if it lasts that long!

-Grey Birch Designs-

Worlds easiest chicken noodle soup


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Worlds Easiest Chicken Noodle Soup

Worlds Easiest Chicken Noodle Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes

I love making this recipe as a way to use leftover chicken or if I just want a easy week day meal.


  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 small bag chopped baby carrots
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. basil
  • 3 32oz. cartons of chicken stock
  • 2 cups cooked chopped chicken
  • 1/2 a bag of wide egg noodles
  • 1 bouillon cube
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream


  1. Add all the ingreadents to the slow cooker except the noodles and heavy wipping cream. Cook on high for 4 hours
  2. The last 20 mins add the noodles and heavy wipping cream. Cover and cook the remaing time
  3. Keep in your fridge cooked for 3 days or freeze up to 3 months


This soup is a huge hit with my kids, and its even better the next day!

Paint Colors and Wallpaper info Part 1

Design Tips

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I am often asked about the paint colors in my home. I will be showing off each color, starting with the main level.



Pure White by Sherwin-Williams

One color that is consistent throughout my home is white. I have it everywhere and it’s the main base paint color. If your looking for a true bright white color that doesn’t have any undertones this is the one to pick! This color is prominent in my living room and kitchen. The cabinets came painted white from the manufacturer but perfectly match the Pure White on the walls. The walls and ceiling are an eggshell finish and the trim is semi-gloss.



Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore

In my bedroom I did a painted bead board treatment and used the color Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore in a satin finish. This is one of my favorite colors and I will be using it again in other areas of my home. It’s a beautiful navy blue color with a touch of warmth. The top part of the walls and ceiling are Pure White by Sherwin-Williams in an eggshell finish.



Black by Behr and Huck & Fin Wallpaper by WallBlush

In my office I created custom built-ins with two Ikea Billy Bookcases and a slat wall in between. I didn’t paint the bookcases but I did paint the slat wall with the color Black by Behr in a satin finish. It’s an identical match to the black Ikea bookcases and brought the whole unit together as one! On the other walls I hung this gorgeous mural called Huck and Fin by Wall Blush. It’s the perfect backdrop I was looking for and one of my very favorite wallpaper prints in my home. It comes in peel and stick or un-pasted. I went with the un-pasted as I think it’s easer to install.  My code GREYBIRCHDESIGNS gives you 30% off any purchase on their website!




Rock Bottom by Sherwin-Williams with Organic Dots by Ayara Home

In my half bathroom on the main floor I installed a board and batten wall treatment and painted it Rock Bottom by Sherwin-Williams in a satin finish. This is a very dark, moody green color. In areas where there isn’t a lot of light it can look almost black, but in natural light you can see the beautiful green color pulling through! On the top of the board and batten I hung the Organic Dots wallpaper by Ayara Home. This is a peel and stick wallpaper and the texture of the fabric is very high quality and well made! My code GREYBIRCHDESIGNS will save you 10% off any purchase on their website!


Riverway by Sherwin-Williams

In my morning kitchen I built mudroom lockers for our kids and painted them the color Riverway by Sherwin-Williams in a satin finish. It’s a gorgeous blue color with undertones of green and gray. The rest of the room is painted Pure White by Sherwin-Williams in an eggshell finish.


-Grey Birch Designs-


My Family’s Homemade Bread Recipe


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My Family's Homemade Bread Recipe

My Family's Homemade Bread Recipe

Yield: 2 Loaves


  • 2 pkgs. dry yeast (or 2 Tablespoons)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 1 Cup hot water + 1/2 for the yeast
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 5 Tablespoons oil
  • 7 Cups of flour


    1. Dissolve dry yeast in a 1/2 cup warm water with a pinch of sugar and set aside.
    2. In mixer add 1 beaten egg, 1 cup milk, 1 cup hot water, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 T salt and mix for 1-2 minutes.
    3. Next add 5T oil (I like using avocado oil) 4 cups of flour and mix until smooth.
    4. Add the yeast mixture and 3 more cups of flour, one cup at a time while mixer is going.

      Knead in mixer for 5 minutes then check to see if elastic enough, it shouldn’t be very sticky.
    5. Put in a greased bowl and let sit for 20 mins. If you have a “bread proofing” setting on your oven you can put your dough in there, if not you can place on your counter covered with a damp cloth
    6. After the bread has risen divide it and shape into whatever type of loaf you like!

      Bake at 350 for 22 minutes if doing 2 loafs of braided bread. If doing in a loaf pan bake 25-30 minutes


It’s a great gift idea and it’s easy to make! I hope you give this recipe a try!

 Many years ago I was gifted a cookbook made up of over 200 different recipes all from people in my family passed down through generations. Some of these recipes date back to the mid 1800 which it so neat to see!

I have always loved making bread and have been doing it since my kids were little. From the amount of different bread recipes in our family cookbook I can see now it must run in my blood! My favorite one is a recipe from my relative Dorisa. Her bread recipe is made with simple ingredients that we all have in our home, and it’s easy to make and absolutely delicious!

This recipe will yield 2 loaves of bread or 24 rolls. My favorite way to make this is to turn my loaves into braided bread, like I have done here!



-Grey Birch Designs-

2022 Christmas Tree

Design Tips

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For my Christmas tree this year I went with a natural organic design and color pallet. I used green, gold, bronze, brown, black, and white. It turned out beautiful, classic, and neutral just how I hoped it would!

One of my favorite ways to add fullness and texture to a Christmas tree is with floral and greenery picks. I used a few different greenery stems and some berry sprays on my tree. My #1 tip when doing this is to make sure your stems are always facing down your tree.

Tip #2 is to use varying size, shape and texture ornaments. You can make a beautiful tree with only round ball ornaments simply by following this tip! This will help the stems flow with the natural direction of the tree which looks more realistic. Below I linked all the pieces I used on my tree this year!

9′ Pre-Lit Christmas Tree

Cedar Snow Berry Spray

Norfolk Pine Stem

Gold Glitter Leaf Spray

6″ Glittered 2 Tone Ball

Black Round Ornament

Large Pearl Ornament

Champagne Quilted Ornament

Marbled Matte Cream and Brown Ornament

Marbled Nude Finish Ornament

Gold and Clear Ornament

Gold Bell

Dried Sun Palm

Faux Eucalyptus


Most of the things I used on my tree were new this year. However, some are from years past and therefore not available, so I can’t link them.


-Grey Birch Designs-

Style Selections LVP Flooring

DIY Projects

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Building this home has been fun and stressful, but also so rewarding! There is so much that goes into the process and with this being our second build I feel like I have learned a thing or two that helped us this time around. One of the biggest things is knowing where to spend your money with your builder. Flooring is definitely an area where you can save a ton by doing it yourself after your home is completed. Even if you’re not a DIYer or the job feels intimidating it’s still worth it to skip this upgrade with the builder. Typically a project like this would be 3 or more times expensive through your builder then if you DIY it or hire a company to install it after your home is finished.

Planning for the project

I knew from the very beginning I wanted my whole home to have LVP (luxury vinyl plank) flooring, not just the main living areas but the bedrooms and closets. The biggest reasons being that LVP is stain and scratch resistant, 100% waterproof, and has the look of real wood! These are super important factors for our family. We have 5 kids and 3 dogs so we need something that is going to stand up to our day to day life. Also, the ability to get a completely clean surface is crucial in our home since me and 3 of my kids have dust allergies and asthma, making life with carpet pretty horrible!

When picking out the LVP for our home I had a few things I was looking for. I wanted a wide plank and a flooring that didn’t “look” like vinyl, but rather looked like real wood. The color I fell in love with was Style Selection (formerly Pro Core Flooring) English Grove Oak. The flooring has good movement in the pattern, giving it a truly realistic light oak look. This is very important to think about when selecting your flooring, since too much movement can be overpowering and too busy for your home. Also, not enough movement can make your flooring fall flat and not enhance your space.

  • Tip: order samples of flooring you’re thinking about, then order a box of the couple you narrow it down to so you can see the flooring on a bigger scale. This will help you visualize how it will look in your home much better than a small sample piece.

Installing the LVP flooring

The first step is to prep your sub floor. If the space previously had carpet it’s important to remove all staples, tack strips, and debris before laying your new flooring. This type of LVP has the underlayment attached to the back of each board, so you can eliminate the job of laying down underlayment under your planks. If you have ever installed a flooring that requires a separate underlayment you know what a big deal this is!! The Style Selection flooring is a drop and lock system, meaning you interlock the planks together and drop them down to lock them in place. You want to make sure you have a good seal without any gaps so your flooring doesn’t have problems down the line. You can use a rubber mallet to help lock the planks into place.


Caring for your flooring

LVP is definitely the easiest type of flooring to care for, which is one of the main reasons we chose it. With real wood flooring you have to be extremely careful with the types of cleaners you use on them. Too much water can make wood floor boards warp, and they scratch easily from furniture or pets . Laminate is slightly easier than really wood since it’s less likely to scratch or stain, but you still have to be careful with water. Laminate is still made of wood and too much water can make the boards swell and seperate. LVP on the other hand is the most durable. You don’t have to worry about water on the floor since it’s 100% waterproof and doesn’t contain any wood. Daily vacuuming won’t scratch or wear it out and there’s no risk of  cleaners staining the planks. My favorite way to care for my LVP flooring is with a wet/dry vacuum or a spin mop with water and a little bit of dish soap!


Choosing to put LVP flooring in our home was the best choice for our family. I’m excited to enjoy this beautifully flooring in our new home for years to come with little to no maintenance required. That’s a win in my book!


-Grey Birch Designs-



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