Thursday, June 21, 2012

Outside the house

Back when Mad Men premiered for the season, I set to work stenciling an accent wall in our basement family room. I was sponging away as we met Don Drapers new wife. The season finale aired two weeks back. I never quite put the finishing touches on the wall. I didn't post.... 

In the here and now, the yard has again become the focus of our attention.

Before our neighbor's  Mindy and Derek moved last winter, we purchased the rain barrel  below for a $40 steal. I am sure it is filled with water right now. We forget to use the water because we need to attach a very short hose to it properly fill any watering can. Despite our lack of dispersing the collected rain water, we like the look on the side of the house. I am sure we will remember to buy a short hose soon (or before it freezes this winter). We added the potted palm by the barrel this season (in addition to the usual inpatients we always plant. You can't see them behind the hostas).
In the back yard, we added seating near the swing set. Mark and I would park our behinds on the grass to relax while the Twinners played. We might be getting old. We prefer chairs (specifically ones that do not fold up into an over the shoulder bag for camping, the park, and parades). One day Mark came home with two budget-friendly, bright, fun and trendy, plastic Adirondack chairs.

Naturally we needed a table to rest my cheap white wine on ice  our refreshing beverages on. I found this engineered wood table for $6.99 at Saver's in Columbia Heights (a new favorite thrifting location). Two cans of Rustoleum Green Apple and a one can of Minwax poly and the table is PERFECT. Yes I am still addicted to spray paint. It is happiness in a can!

I added red petunias to a pot I found in the garage. Later Mark came along and spray painted the pottery to match our outdoor color themes. My spouse may have picked up the trigger-finger itch to spray paint (as demonstrated below).

Total investment of the chairs, table, petunias and supplies was around $55. This does NOT include the cost of the cheap white wine refreshing beverages. If you drive by our home from the street, the whole set up looks rather inviting and lovely. The chairs are also comfortable. Up close, they are exactly what you would expect for $16 each.

Above is the corner flower bed near the new "seating" area. The first year we lived on Riverview, I cut back the rose bushes and pulled a LOT of weeds. Then I pulled more weeds, and did more cutting. Last year we tried our hand adding some perennials to the to the pre-existing mix. Two falls in a row we have added 80 tulip bulbs. We toy with how to fertilize. To add to the stone perimeter, I steal a trunk full of medium size rocks when I go home to the farm (although I am not sure you call it stealing when farmers pay people to pick the rocks from the field and put them in piles out of the way).
Some of the perennials we planted have survived, some have not. We add more each season. Mark planted some marigolds and additional annuals too. I planted dahlia seeds. Master gardeners we are NOT. Heck, we are excited any time a perennial actually RETURNS!
Here is our big splurge last year - our willow tree. It is growing rapidly as expected.
We are trying to "spruce up" our aging/outdated/overgrown, ugly landscaping in front of our house (without the cost of hiring someone to pull the overgrown shrubbery, or a professional to design a plan, or more rock for ground cover). So, we picked up the pot above at Walmart for 15 bucks. It seemed HUGE in the store.

Surely this $15 Walmart Better Homes and Gardens brand terra cota-look acrylic pot in a pleasant shade of green would mask the ugly!!!??? It was perfect for solving our landscaping whoas...except for the color. I added two cans of $3.79 Krylon to the cart. Back at home, as I put our grocery purchases in the fridge, my hubby snatched up the spray paint and stole my favorite home improvement activity from me on a Sunday afternoon.

It turns out when thousands of dollars of professional landscaping is needed, masking the ugly is a tall order for a $15 planter (plus the haggard looking Walmart plants we bought to go inside).
Now we can snicker at our grandiose ideas for this NOT so huge pot. In person, it does detract from the ugly just maybe a tiny bit....


That's all for now folks.

Not Pictured (because surely I have bored you enough by the this traipse around our yard)
- The usual inpatients planted by the big evergreen near the road
- Our pots and planter by the front door bench
- Wild flowers, gladiolus and some raspberry bushes by the back garage
- A lovely hanging basket, palm plants and a big geranium around the patio

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