Front porch "remodel" and getting ready for the summer!

Spring is in the air. When the daffodils bloom, that is my cue to start working on the yard and getting beds ready for the summer bloom. (My hostas are already popping their little heads. I hate it when they do that before I get mulch down!)

It is also my cue to start sprucing up the porch and patios!

One of the things I wanted to do was change things up a bit on the front porch. It's a tiny little porch so I try to dress it up as best I can without "cluttering."

Last year I decorated with one of the old wood windows that have been all the rage....

I like the look, but a few weeks ago I bought a wood and iron wall deco at an auction. To be honest, it was one of those times I paid a little too much so I knew I probably couldn't sell it for more than I paid for it! Oh darn, guess I'll have to keep it!

I like it in it's "natural" state, but it kind of faded into the dark brick...

I had a little sample container of a "no formula" greenish colored paint ( 50 cent clearance!) so I mixed up a batch of homemade chalk paint and gave the wood a little "makeover." Distressed it and sprayed it with a clear coat poly.

Simple change but one I think makes a huge difference! I can't wait to get some bright flowers in the planters...but I will because our freeze date is still a week away! It's bad enough I have to drag every blanket and sheet into the yard just to save my hostas!


Don't be afraid to give a piece a little makeover if you are bored with it or just isn't quite right. Spray paint it, chalk paint it, WASH it! So you still don't like it...big's not going to fetch any more or less at a garage sale! And you might just end up liking it again!

This was a weekend of WORK! Lots of yard work! Saturday morning I took my trailer to the dump to toss some old furniture so I could haul mulch! Four yards (8 tractor scoops) at my apartments and then I loaded three yards of natural cedar for my house. 

I want to repeat something I mentioned in an earlier post. RED MULCH...leave it be. Don't use it if you plan to plant anything in the bed. I use to grow impatiens 2'-3' tall...seriously...if you know the plant, you know how amazing that is! Then I started using that pretty red mulch. All of a sudden I was lucky to get my impatiens and other annuals through the summer. They "failed to thrive." 

I did some research and many were pointing a finger at the red mulch. And honestly it is the only thing I can think of that I was doing differently. 

Anywho, I was standing at the mulch store (seriously, they just sell mulch, rocks and dirt) and a couple was debating which mulch to get. I piped up and told them to avoid the red. The guy standing next me was a landscaper and knows his stuff...and he whole-heartedly agreed. He said I am the first person he had ever met that knew NOT to use the stuff. His experience had been like mine...plants that wouldn't thrive and beds that were sucked of nutrients after using the red mulch. 

So, there is all the confirmation I needed...someone else who had a bad experience with red mulch. Plain ole' cedar or hardwood it is! 

You will make a few mistakes flower gardening...maybe you plant something in a place that get's too much sun, or not enough. Maybe you under water or over fertilize. 

Flower gardeners are a lot like DIYers...we love to share our successes and failures. If you see flowerbeds or plants you love in a yard, stop and ask the homeowner about them! Trust me, they will be happy to talk to you! If you get lucky they might even send you home with a few clippings or cuttings...but more importantly, they will send you home with a wealth of information! 

Pond cleaned and running...check! (EVERY yard should have a water feature!)

Wisteria trimmed...check! (Save yourself some grief...just don't plant it...just don't!)

Mulch down...check! (A must for any flower bed!)

Pots cleaned out and ready for new soil and plants...check! (Don't forget to look for containers for planting! The more unusual, the better!)

And then the rains came...before pictures, so you will have to wait. But honestly, it's just mulch. I will say the white on the Bradford pears, the blue on the vinca ground cover and the yellow of the daffodils sure is beautiful! If only for a few weeks!

Lots done...much more to do! I still need to power wash the patio and decks...hang my exterior "summer decor"....clean the windows (must-do chore twice a year!)...service the mower...clean out the storage building. And of course plant my pots! Lots of work in the month of April, but it is SO worth it when I can sit back and truly enjoy my yard. 

Remember, your yard should be an extension of your home! Don't neglect it! Even if you just plant a few pots like I suggested here, you won't regret it! You may even learn to love it!