Backyard: Part II – Girl Gone Gray

17 05 2010

Back with part dos of the backyard update. We spent the weekend working outside on the “yard,” it was perfect weather for it too, breezy and warm – but not too warm! Our list included:

  1. powerwashing the vinyl siding
  2. painting the back door
  3. replacing back door hardware
  4. weeding
  5. sweeping
  6. cleaning up cement spots

While there is more to be added to that list, it still felt like a fairly productive weekend. I am really liking the new backdoor color. It’s Valspar’s Charcoal Smoke in outdoor satin. It’s got a hit of blue in it (either that or the gray blue on the back of my house makes it look more blue). I also added brushed nickel hardware to the door which helped with the modern and fresh look I was going for. The door makeover was $60 – $45 for the door hardware, $15 for the paint. Though kind of pricey, it made a huge difference! I have a ton of paint leftover, I only used maybe 1/6 of the quart. However, as Nick said it would be easy to overuse this paint, so I should just hide it away for touch ups – which are inevitable – as Penny “knocks” on the door when she wants to come in from sunbathing by scratching the door.

So, a little before and after for you:

And of course, the after:

I’m pleased with the results and feel this back door reflects my personality much more than the before.


Backyard: Part I – Garden Gone Green

16 05 2010

Living in the city means that I don’t have a beautiful green lawn or large outdoor space, I have a lovely concrete pad. I do my best to make my yard a nice oasis to relax in and try to make small inexpensive changes to spruce things up. When I first bought my house, I had a jungle (literally) growing in the garden bed. This was promptly cut down when they installed a drain pipe. I was happy to be rid of the jungle, but was left with a garden bed of clay-like soil and didn’t think I could grow much back there. I decided to try out my green thumb (which up until this point was limited to a planter box on my previous apartment’s balcony and working in my parent’s yard). The results were sub-par because I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, but I at least went from this:

To this (complete with a shot of Penny basking in the sun):

Since then, those plants have seen better days (Penny sometimes uses that area as a restroom when she’s outside and apparently her pee is nothing like plant food). The lights are great – for about $3 each from WalMart they are solar path lights that get pretty bright at night. (I know – the walls need a serious power washing – this is on the list). The tree in the corner is Nick’s Christmas tree from 2 years ago (when you live in an apartment, that size tree is more than enough).  I also inserted some lights in the base of that, however, in that corner they don’t get quite enough sunlight to light up much at night. As for that garden bed, while I enjoy not having all concrete back there – it takes up quite a bit of my usable space (3 1/2 by 9 1/4 feet) and is a little more than I need in one area (I have become a big fan of container gardening). So I am considering filling it in and adding a raised bed on the back wall OR once the fencing panel goes up, adding window boxes and hanging plants all around. Filling in the concrete gives me a larger space for a patio set since I currently have three levels in my yard (path to back gate, main patio, garden bed). I have been scouring Craiglist for a good patio set, so far I’ve found a few, but haven’t heard back or it’s already gone by the time I put in my offer. I know I will find one, just need to be vigilant about searching.

I will be adding another post about the backyard and some other changes we made.

Just to give you an idea of what the yard looked like when I was looking to buy (we couldn’t get out the back door so this is through the kitchen window):

The jungle isn’t growing quite yet, remember I went under contract in April and didn’t settle until August so it had 4 months of rain and hot summer sun to get growing. Sometimes when I see these pictures I am glad I could see some sort of potential with this house because most people would have just walked away!