Front Porch Makeover

Hello!

I’ve been absent from my blog for quite a few days now. Sorry about that! We’ve been enjoying the summer weather. But that just means I have something new to show you! One of my favorite parts of May is planting all my annuals and revamping my front porch. It definitely needed a makeover after a long winter.

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Winter = Blah and Bland

So to the flower nursery I went, along with my lovely mother and side-kick daughter. Who happens to be 2. And tries to pick the petals off of EVERY flower in the thousands of square feet they have. This place is serious about their flowers and I LOVE it. It is one of my favorite family traditions. Except for the whining from my 2 year old and the constant chasing through the aisles. But people tell me I’ll miss it when she’s older. So I’ll just trust them.

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And it is always our mission to fit everything into one car. Which typically poses a challenge. But we have risen to the occasion every year.

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Don’t worry. She survived the jungle.

When you are planting a large area you have to have a plan before tackling this type of nursery. Here are some tips on forming your plan so you only have to make one (…or two…) trips.

  1. Know how much light your space gets. My front porch is very shaded with the sun rising behind the house and setting in the front. So the majority of sun these flowers will get will be low evening light.
  2. Plan out where you will place your flowers ahead of time. I use specific pots on the front porch, in front of the garage, and on the back deck. This way I know how many flowers I’ll need to fill all my pots. Plus, I always throw in a few perennials in the flower beds each year.
  3. Get hanging baskets! Hanging baskets on a front porch instantly dresses up your home. If you don’t already have hooks in your porch ceiling then make sure you plan out where you’ll put them so you know how many baskets to get to have correct spacing around the porch.
  4. Determine your commitment level. Seriously. This is important. For years I bought needy annuals and hanging baskets that had flowers. And every year by the end of the summer the baskets looked skeletal and the annuals were withered. If you are noncommittal (like me!) then get hardy annuals that don’t need to be watered daily. I LOVE Boston Ferns for my hanging baskets. They live in shade or sun and only need to be watered every 2-3 days. I also like grasses for this same reason. I am also really bad at fertilizing. Like, I never do it. So if the instructions say to fertilize on a schedule then either make sure to work that into your plan or pass on that particular annual.

Now on to the best part! Putting it all together. First, I pulled out all my outdoor cushions. That instantly cozies up the space.

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Ignore that pallet. It is a project to come!

I have two seating areas on my front porch. Ideally, I would love for them to all have the same cushions for cohesiveness. But, I am a thrifter and I scored the love seat and chairs from Craigslist and had to buy cushions to fit. Then I got a wicker rocker and chair from another sale and had to buy cushions to fit those. And I bought them in different years. And I am cheap. So I didn’t re-buy all of them in the same pattern when I couldn’t find matching ones. That’s ok! I did it on purpose, right? I created “zones”. Problem solved. You have to be resourceful when you are on a budget!

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Once I staged all the furniture it was time to plant! I like to first place all the plants in the area that they will be living for the summer. That way I can see if my plan is going to work.
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One of the things I like to do is buy cheap hanging baskets to fill planters. These white baskets (above) were only $5 and couple them with cheap $1 asparagus ferns and I can fill the entire planter for $7.

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Once they are all placed, get to planting! Have some gloves ready and a good gardening shovel as well as some quality soil. Invest in the soil. I used to get cheap potting soil but now I splurge for the good stuff with the fertilizer built in.

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Another quick tip is to get some planters with character. Not everyone likes the farmhouse look, but I do, so I found some baskets to go under my potting bench and this fun chippy wood box. I have no idea what it used to be used for but as long as it has sides and can hold dirt, it can be a planter! Get creative!
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Here are some before and afters. I love how plants and flowers liven up the space and make it feel more welcoming.

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See how well the baskets fill in the planter right away?

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A little green goes a long way!

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Balance out both sides of the front door.

Next up is adding my homemade welcome signs. I searched high and low for something that was just right to go with this awesome window I found at Pink and Frillos. But I wasn’t able to find just the right thing. So I made them! I’ll give the how-to and debut them in another post to come.

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She just needs a little TLC.

Once that finishing touch was done, voila! Home sweet home. What do you think?

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Complete!

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Just need me some shutters!

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Day one of planting!

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After just two weeks, it has filled out beautifully!

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What is your favorite way to freshen up your front porch?

Sarah

{I must have flowers. Always always. -Monet}

Create a No-Fuss Succulent Centerpiece

Good morning!

The sun has been shining for more than an hour and that makes today a good day! Today’s post is going to be short and sweet (if my antics will allow it). I wanted to show you how I created a succulent centerpiece in just 30 minutes.

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Now, some may say, that is just silly. Anyone can plant a succulent. And while I can, indeed, plant succulents, I cannot keep them alive. Leave it to me to kill the one plant that is supposed to be a cinch to grow. Queue a photo of the one real succulent to my name. It isn’t a pretty sight.

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So that is why, when I found this FABULOUS little feeder at a local shop, I decided I had to figure out a way to plant succulents in it without actually planting them. Why would I want to spend $4 a succulent (probably easily totaling $60) to watch them wither away all summer?

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Isn’t this cute?

And that is when I remembered that our local dollar store carries fake succulents! Yay! Now, normally I would not recommend fake florals from a dollar store. Many of them are so fake looking you can hardly stand it. But I’ve bought their succulents before and found them to be very real looking and many ask me where they can find them. For this project it is all about the quality of the faux plants you can find to give it a life-like look.

Here are the supplies you will need:

  1. A planter. Obviously I am in love with my feeder as the planter but realistically you could do this in any pot, vase, box…etc. that you have and cherish.
  2. Floral foam. Or, in my case, whatever foam I could find in the grocery store because there was NO WAY I was going to one more store with my kiddos that particular day of the purchase. (Can anyone feel me here?)
  3. Scissors to cut the foam to fit your planter.
  4. Succulents galore!! I needed 30 for my project and my planter is about 3 feet long by 5 inches wide. You will need to estimate based on the size of your planter. But I would recommend overestimating. There is nothing worse than getting into a project and not having everything you need to complete it. You can always return what you don’t use.
  5. Moss (If desired. More on that later.)

This is a fairly easy project so I’ll just go step by simple step.

First, insert your foam into your planter. You will want to make sure it is in there tight to avoid the weight of the succulents from pulling it out. Second, take off all those pesky tags and start inserting the succulents one by one into the foam.

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A few tips:

  1. Group smaller sprigs together for more effect.
  2. Space out similar succulents. Especially if you only have a few with color like I did. Those red beauties were hard to find or I would have gotten a few more.
  3. Be conscious of large gaps! You don’t want your foam to show through if you can avoid it. Below I have a couple of other solutions for this problem.
  4. Take a step back every now and then to look at the big picture. If you are too focused on one area the planter will be fuller in some areas than others.

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Once you get into a rhythm you will find that you can place all the sprigs fairly quickly. Make sure that you look at it from all angles to avoid sparse areas.

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See how I am missing some on the top left when I look at it from this angle?

Once you have inserted all the sprigs, inspect it closely to see if any of the foam is showing. There are a few solutions I could think of for this.

  1. Buy more sprigs. But I wasn’t all that keen on paying $10 more.
  2. Prior to beginning, you could spray paint your foam a dark green or other color that blends in.
  3. Insert the moss! This was the solution for me. It was only $3 more and covered all the spots where the foams was peeking through.
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See the white? That’s a no-no.

Now, had I known my succulents wouldn’t cover it fully I probably would have inserted the moss first. But I didn’t. And I wasn’t about to take all of it apart. So I just lifted the sprigs where the moss was needed and placed it accordingly.

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Ahh. Much better.

I also like how the moss gave it a little bit more realistic look. And there you have it! Succulent centerpiece in 30 minutes for $30. At least mine was $30. Yours will depend on the amount of supplies you need. 🙂

And bonus. I won’t kill it! This beauty can be placed anywhere I want in my home regardless of sunlight. I don’t have to water it. And I could even put it on the covered porch for a pop of color. What do you think?

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Have a blessed day!

Sarah

{Grace in women has more effect than beauty.-William Hazlitt}

Transplanting Mature Plants

Today is a beautiful day! 72 and sunny is my ideal year round weather and that is what God blessed me with today. So I took advantage of the sunshine and my daughter’s nap and went outside to fix a problem that has plagued me for four years.

You know how you have those things either in your house or in your garden that just bug you? You know it doesn’t look right. It probably wouldn’t be too hard to fix. But you just never make the effort. For four years. Here is my nemesis.

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So. Many. Problems. Now, I am not an expert gardener. I don’t know much about the biology of plants. But I know aesthetics. And this looks B.A.D.

Disclaimer: This is not a “how to” post. This is a journey. And if you decide to transplant mature plants after reading this I do not claim any responsibility for your plant’s demise. Seriously. But if you have success or have advice, I am all ears!

Here’s my backstory:

Four lovely years ago when we bought this house there was zero landscaping. I love to garden, but at that point in my life we had a tiny weeny budget for it. So I did what any new homeowner would do and I went out and bought the cheapest shrub that would grow as fast as possible. And that gave me that green beauty in the front. (I told you I’m no expert. I don’t even know what it’s called.)

The original plan was to put it in front of a tall flowering tree so that the tree would grow 2 feet above the 4 foot tall shrub and be beautiful and magnificent and cover up that hideous electric box. {Side note: Who puts the electric meter on the front of the house? That is just cruel.} Back to the story, I didn’t want to put the tall green thing in the back because I was afraid I’d be yelled at my the meter man because I would be blocking the meter. True story.

So here are the problems. 1. The stunning flowering TREE turned out to be a bush. A bush that doesn’t grow above three feet tall. A crab apple bush. See, at least I know that name. 2. The green shrub grew to be about 6 feet tall. Which says something because I do not typically have a green thumb. So now I have this weird shrub covering up my flowering bush and the electric meter is in no way hidden at all. Plus, when you look at the big picture my matching green shrub on the other side of the flower bed is in the back so it is all out of whack. Thus, why I need “grace in my space.” I’ve showed it grace for 4 years. Time to move on.

Solution: Transplant those puppies. I waffled back and forth on the idea because I didn’t want to kill both plants since they were so established. So I did what most would do. I asked my mom. And her advice? “What’s the worst that could happen? They both die and you are out $50.” So there you have it. The logic of mom never ceases to fail. So out came the shovel and work gloves.

First step, take out the green shrub. I really imagined this would take some work. It is about 6 feet tall and has been in the ground for four years. But, it pretty much came out with a slice of the shovel in a circle around the roots. Score! Next step, take out the crab apple. As you can see, it wasn’t rocket science.

There were, however, a couple of moments of questioning. For example, these huge roots I sliced off looked important. Think the crab apple will miss them? We shall see. Also, look at that sandy soil. It is a wonder that I can grow anything in this stuff.

And then there was this little guy. And by little I mean huge and terrifying when you look down at your hand and see him staring back at you. I think at this point I did a little jig, screamed and ran around the yard shaking my glove. He was determined not to let go.

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After I recovered, I swapped the plants’ spots, filled in the dirt, and watered the plants like mad. A new layer of mulch and voila. So much better. Electric meter is almost fully hidden and the flowers are no longer out of sight.

Not the biggest transformation ever, but I’m glad to have it done so I can stop questioning why I ever landscaped that way in the first place. I’ll let you know later this summer if either plant was affected negatively! Pray they don’t both die. And now I wait for all those beautiful perennials to rise and show themselves!

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{2 Corinthians 13:14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.}

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