My happy place....

This month has been crazy busy. I started painting the older buildings at my apartment complex…the weather hasn’t been very cooperative so only 1/2 is done. I have had to tear out and replace rotted flooring in an older unit and I have had a few vacancies which is always a lot of work. My daughter graduated from college week before last and everyone came home (I shared that here) and my grandson graduated from high school this past weekend.

Crazy busy!!!

One thing I am eternally grateful for is my yard…it is my happy place and I am so glad I got all the mulch down and the planting done before life got too hectic.

One of my favorite ways to unwind is sit in my backyard and just breathe….

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Not much changes in the front and side yard but since my neighbors murdered their trees, my swing pergola in the front gets too much sun in the afternoon to really enjoy….

…but again, visitors may not see your backyard but they will see the front…so keep it pretty! (I shared the construction of the window planters HERE)

I do have a few moles causing a bit of stress….HERE I talk about what I have learned about moles and how I deal with them (it ain’t pretty!)

But since I now plant all my “tender annuals” in pots, they really do little but annoy me. Truth is they are nature’s little tillers for flower beds and if they didn’t run through the yard to get to the flower beds, I probably wouldn’t give them a second thought.

I am grateful I have the ability to do the work I do…but I am even more grateful I have a place I can go to recharge….

Swing pergola tutorial...

With spring just around the corner this is a great time to revisit one of my favorite tutorials. An AWESOME outdoor project that takes a bit of muscle but not a lot of brain power.

This swing pergola is a “MUST HAVE” in any yard…so break out a few basic tools and follow THIS tutorial so you can impress your friends and have a great place to nap in the warm summer days ahead!!!


The death of the rose bushes....and a peak at the rest of my landscaping!

Que sad music...the knock out roses finally bit the dust.

They were beautiful little additions to the side yard when I first planted them....

I walked around the yard and took a few pictures a few months ago and they looked halfway decent then!

I built this flower bed and planted the knock out roses because it is an area of the yard I rarely tend to...

Rarely...as a result they were looking REALLY pathetic!

Two bushes died last year so I removed them and planted another. This year the another died and two were near death.

In their defense, knock out roses tend to stop blooming in the heat of the summer...but they obviously had other issues!

So this past weekend we decided to pull them all out...except for the one little bush I planted last year. It may eventually get transplanted when it is cooler if I decide to go another direction with this bed.

I'm not sure what caused their demise. Age, disease, neglect...maybe a combination of all. I did throw a little fertilizer down on them occasionally but I can honestly say I probably didn't tend to them like I should have...a weed eater is probably not the proper tool to use to prune rose bushes.

Knock out roses don't make the best "cut flowers." Cute in a little ironstone creamer...but certainly not something you plant for the purpose of creating indoor arrangements....

Que sera...

I think I will leave the bed "vacant" for the time being...let it winter just incase it is harboring disease or fungus.

Besides, I can't decide what I want to plant in their place and honestly, it is really too hot to plant right now.

I would love to plant hydrangeas but evidently they don't take well to direct afternoon sun...and that is exactly what this bed gets...hot afternoon sun. Curses. I like crepe myrtles but they get very full and bushy and are probably not ideal for a narrow bed against a fence. 

When planning your plantings pay attention to what sunlight and care the plants will need. Do your research!

Maybe I will just resort to more potted plants...those tend to do well but they certainly can't be neglected this time of year. Right now I am watering every day.

I will leave you with a few pictures of areas of the yard I don't neglect...

After YEARS of struggling to landscape this front bed, I finally resorted to flagstone and potted annuals..I love it!

Hostas are a super simple perennial that require little maintenance! They can easily be split every spring which explains why I have TONS of them in my yard! I have even started planting some in containers!

Planting in containers has become my "thang." I'll scatter a few annuals around in the ground, but just about all annuals go in containers these days!

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Make your yard an extension of your home...

BTW, last year I shared here the new fescue sod...I thought the "difference" between the fescue and bermuda would bug the heck out of me...not so much! I see the difference...but I can live with it! As you can see, it made it through the winter and that is a good thing!

Until next week....

Another Facelift for the storage shed....

A few years ago (okay so it's been FIVE YEARS!!!!) I gave my storage shed a little facelift! I rebuilt the door, added little scallops in the gable and added some trim to cover up some siding boo-boos!

At the time I primed and painted most of the trim with some paint I had on hand...most of it...not all of it. I figured I would eventually find the time to pick up some quality exterior paint and paint the rest of it. I didn't. 

So when Brian hit it with the power washer a few weeks ago much of the old paint and primer came right off! Fortunately the siding color held tight so I didn't have to repaint that!

Some of the trim around the door had cracked so I used wood filler to repair it. Caulked the gaps between the trim and siding.

The hard part, scrapping peeling paint, was taken care of with the power washer. I used a metal brush to remove what little peeling paint was left.

I had a little bit of leftover deck stain so I decided to freshen the deck as well!

A high quality exterior primer and exterior white paint...

Not only did a good coat of paint freshen it up a bit, it seals the wood to prevent the wood from deteriorating!

It is important to use a high quality "exterior" paint and primer on exterior projects. Exterior paint is specifically formulated to resist mildew and fading from sunlight. I would bet that I did not use a good quality exterior paint and primer on the trim a few years ago...which would explain why it could not withstand the beating from a 2800 PSI power washer!

Another campaign dresser makeover!

If I find one, I'm gonna buy it! A campaign dresser!

This one isn't a "vintage" campaign dresser...probably an imitation but sweet all the same! Well...it wasn't when I bought it....

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Structurally it was in great shape but the finish was definitely lacking. A little KSTP (Kilz, sand, tack and paint...high gloss white lacquer), scrubbed up the brass hardware, and presto....

Again, this one wasn't a REAL vintage campaign dresser...but that didn't stop someone from buying it 1 hour after taking it to 410 Vintage.

This, my friends, is a REAL campaign dresser!!

I have already scrubbed up the brass hardware (no tricks there...Brasso, Brillo and A LOT of elbow grease.) I had to order a few replacement hardware pieces...holy cow those little brass doo-dads are expensive (found them on Etsy.) I sprayed on Kilz and sanded it down. Now I just need to apply a few coats of white lacquer...I can't wait! I will make sure I share it when it is done because I know it will be beautiful!

PORCH MINI-MAKEOVER....

Now that Matt has settled into his new house, we have started on a few little projects that make his home a little bit more...well..."him." (If you search "Matt's house" on this site you can will see several of the projects we have worked on!)

The back yard was a total disaster...lots of trees and years of neglect. I wish we had been smart enough to take before and after pictures of the side yard we have been working on. We added a few flower beds, raked up a truck load of rocks and brought in four truck loads of dirt and mulch. We seeded with fescue. I know it will probably burn up this summer but he was so excited to see the little guys sprouting! We dug up some of my neighbor's lirope and transplanted it in his new flower bed....repurposed the stones that were originally used as a "pad" to make a stepping stone path....a new little Japanese maple. I think it will all be wonderful when he is finished. My yard is an oasis...I have remind him it took 19 years of hard work to get it that way!

The back patio was a tad on the blah side. I did remember to snap a few pictures with my Iphone before we added just a few little touches.

We changed out the flush mount "boob" light for a pendant light...seriously, who puts a dinky flush mount light on a vaulted ceiling?

Threw down a pretty striped rug and added a potted palm and hanging basket. Nothing earth shatter but just a few simple touches to dress the space a bit!

He still needs to change out the seat cushions and eventually I would like to add a baker's rack or build a potting bench...maybe add some kind of wall decor on the wall! We could paint the wood railing but he is determined to eventually add a large deck off the patio so no sense in putting out the effort for the time being!

A few little touches here and there can add personality and style to a space.

It takes time to make a house your home... 

Spring has arrived....

I wish I had the time, patience and photography skills to share a "Spring Home Tour"...but if you want a peak at some very talented lady's homes, start with my bliend's (blog-friend...guess it could be flog...lol!) home tour here...Cristina has a beautiful home. While it started out as your typical "builder grade" house, she has transformed it into a warm and inviting home. She is a champ at featuring the "how" on any DIY project! While I am more about the "doing" she is a champ at "doing" and "froo-frooing."

Truth is, I feel like I have been inside all winter. so when the temps climb above 60, I have to be outside working in the yard! It is time to start prepping for summer!

First, raking the beds AGAIN! Naturally I rake leaves and pine needles in the fall...then I do a little at some point after Christmas. Then a few weeks ago I did another 20 bag rake. So honestly, there isn't much to clean out...but there are always those stragglers that have to be cleaned up!

The hostas are popping their little heads so it is time to mulch. While not fun and glamorous, a necessity. 

A fresh topping of mulch dresses the beds and helps insulate the early bloomers from any freezes we might have in the next few weeks. Later in the year it is a must for moisture retention and weed control!

Still way to early to plant annuals but the spring blooms are coming alive.

The Bradfords are blooming...

and the vinca is coming to life... 

The daffodils were in full glory the last few weeks, but the blooms are beginning to wilt.

This picture popped up on my Facebook memories...eight years ago we had snow! This year the daffodils made it through their season so I didn't have to bring them in to enjoy them!

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Next up, tulips.

Years ago I planted about 100 tulip bulbs...the first two years they were glorious! But tulip bulbs tend to rot easily so now I only have 2-3 left.

Sarah's birthday is the first week of April and I always know when the tulips will bloom...the week of her birthday!

So while I would love to be inside "prepping" my house for spring, there is no place I would rather be than outside soaking in the sun and digging in the dirt!

And Cleo agrees...

Her 4th birthday is tomorrow so she is definitely a spring baby!

The temps are suppose to be in the 70s for the next few days and I have plenty more to do. Cleaning and prepping pots for planting, cleaning out the water feature and planting summer bulbs! 

I notice the pictures on the "Landscapes" link several years old so maybe this year I can get them updated! 

Your yard may need a new "rug!"

As I mention here (when I ranted about my neighbor's trees!) my yard is an extension of my home.

I obsess when it is time to replace a rug or flooring...I cruise the internet, pin every room that catches my eye on Pinterest, and spend months bringing home hardwood and tile samples! (Stay tuned for the drama of the new couch selection!)

But what about our yards...does your yard need "new flooring?" Mine sure as heck did!

It's not like I have ignored it....I have resodded this area at least 5 times in the last 17 years...most recently just last year. But it never thrived because I kept putting down the wrong sod...Bermuda and Zoysia...both of which need sun and this area of my yard did not get enough.

I resisted putting down the sod I KNEW I needed...Fescue. Silly reason actually. Most of my yard gets tons of sun and the Bermuda has thrived. Bermuda goes dormant in the winter and turns brown. Fescue does not...it pretty much stays green year round. The thought of having two different types of grass was more than my OCD could tolerate.

The fact is, after years of failure, there really was no other option...dirt or grass. No brainer really, but the grass I WANTED to grown wasn't going to survive the shade! Want in one hand, poo in the other.

Fescue it is...and it made a HUGE difference. 

Just showing off some of my pretty potted plants!

The MAJOR upside to sod is instant gratification. A day of hard labor and you have a beautiful yard that will not wash away!

Sod vs. seed. In my opinion, the difference financially is really minimal longterm. Yes, the upfront cost of sod may seem substantial. I probably spent $600 on 4 1/2 pallets of sod and some top soil.

You have to top seed with straw. You will have to hope and pray you don't get a heavy rain that will wash away the seed (we have had more than a few of those in the last month!)...and of course there are always the birds who find it very tasty! Yes, you have to water sod, but you will water much more to establish seed and even then you might have a tough time nurturing it through the hot dry months of the summer! Seeding in the spring just does not give new grass time to get a good root system before the heat of summer! 

In my opinion, sod is the only way to go if you have the ability to put it down yourself...and trust me, it takes very little "skill!" Just a strong back and clothes you don't mind getting dirty (REAL dirty!)

By the end of a back breaking day I had a beautiful new "rug" for my yard...and hopefully THIS time it will survive! 

Spring is ALMOST here!

Almost...who knows. Last week I was in shorts putting down mulch. Sunday we had sleet and snow. Go figure.

Here I shared some tips for prepping for spring...it will be here before you know it! 

If you plant in your beds, now is the time to compost and mulch. Empty and clean your pots. I have a pond to clean out and new sod to put down and a new fence to seal. But all that will happen over the course of MONTHS rather than weeks...getting old sure slows you down.

The only thing growing in my beds now are perennials! No more crawling around in the beds digging holes! I am a big advocate of container planting  Over the years I have collected everything from clay and plastic containers to galvanized buckets and old tea crocks.

This little chair has been in my garage for months....

It had a rattan seat but it was busted...I could have replaced the rattan but I decided to do something a little different.

I turned it into a little planter....

I cut the hole in the seat a bit bigger, trimmed it with some scrap wood (old fencing boards!) added some little slats (again, scraps of wood) on the bottom with glue and nails....

...and then chalk painted it a bright yellow! Distressed and sealed and it is ready for a little potted plant!

This is what I mean when I say "think outside the pot." You don't have to plant everything in boring old clay pots. This was a simple little project that would be perfect for a porch or even stuck in the back of a flower bed somewhere.

Simple...

Spring is in the air!

When the Bradford's bloom and the hostas start to peak their little heads out of the ground, I know it is time to get busy!!

Last week my daughter and grandson, Ashton, came to visit. I offered Ashton $25 to empty out my decorative pond...even tried to bribe him with the potential sighting of a frog or two that always take up residence in all the muck. No deal man....that kid is no fool!

Putrid...but no frogs this year!

Rather than clean it out Monday or Tuesday when the temperatures where in the 70s, I decided to make a chore of it today. Not that it's not warm today, but we're sliding back into the 50s for the rest of the week. Typical Arkansas spring....Tuesday I wore shorts on our evening walk...by the weekend I'll be back in my sweats! 

Temperatures can't be a factor when there are things to be done to get ready for spring planting. It is way too early to plant flowers but the perfect time to clean out the beds and pond, put down mulch and empty out the pots!

I love my little water feature. But it should be a warning to all you 30 and 40 somethings who want ponds and floor beds and massive decks. You WILL get old and those things WILL need maintenance...about the time you hit your 50s....and 2 hours of dredging rotten leaves and fermented worms will put you on the couch for 2 or 3 days! 

Whatever....at least I can hear the wonderful water fountain while I am laid up in bed!

I usually keep the pond cleaned and treated from spring to fall. The first time it freezes over I unplug the pump and it pretty much turns in to a rancid smelling mess of leaves, pine needles and earth worms. 

I decided early on I didn't want fish...too much hassle! To keep it clear during the warm months I dump a handful of chlorine shock in it and skim it every week or so to get out the leaves and dead worms! 

And this little pump is a life saver!!!

Still a major chore, but it's a lot easier to pump the water out rather than use a 5 gallon bucket!

One chore down, so many more to go. Mulch going down today. Still have to empty pots and add fresh soil. A few doggy dig holes to fill. 

This time next month, everything will be ready for new plantings!!! 

Spring is ALMOST here....

I say "almost" because our zone freeze date is April 11th...and I know from past experience that we can get some pretty cool temperatures even past that date. So I force myself to sit on my hands and NOT plant any tender annuals until well past that date.

But this week the hostas began popping their little heads up...and that is my sign to kick it into gear and at the very least start mulching beds.

My yard in the spring reminds me of why I don't want to sell my house...but after several days of raking and mulching, I am reminded of why I probably should sell it....man oh man!

Regardless, I love it. The daffodils have come and all but gone! But the Bradford pear trees are in full bloom and the vinca minor is showing off it's beautiful blue flowers!

Just beautiful!

I am still waiting on my tile to finish the fireplace. In the mean time I have been working on a few little knick knack projects for that room. With the weather warming up, I can also get out and start painting a few "projects" that have been languishing in the garage during the cold weather. 

So much to do. 

And I love it!!!

This past weekend Brian and I went to an auction at a home decor store that is going out of business. I have never been a big Easter decorator, but I did find some darling bunnies....

I like the little touches of "spring" in the house.

I hope you and yours have a wonderful Easter weekend!