Being such a lover of interiors, I find that I’ve neglected the exteriors of our house. I blame my black thumb…the mosquitoes…the heat…landscaping is expensive…whatever.
I realized one day that, while we’ve done a lot to ‘own’ the inside of our house, we’ve never really ‘owned’ the outside. For the most part, it looked the way it did when we bought it. There were planters and other yard fixtures left there by the previous owners from at least 7 years ago!
Short of a few half-hearted attempts at a garden in recent years, the outside has been left unchanged. We never even painted the bare wood railing on the porch. I had been staring at that railing for years, thinking how nice it would look painted. Well, I finally realized that there had to be some simple and inexpensive things I could do to pretty up the outside.
Here’s what I did:
1. Clean: Clean off the porch. If you do nothing else, clean & tidy up the space. That goes a loooong way. I removed a ratty old doormat, to be replaced by a nice new coir mat. I swept the porch (bonus points if you use a leaf blower). I got rid of our old cheap ugly plastic lawn chairs.
2. Add Color: Stained the railing a nice rich black that matched the shutters and trim of the house. This had the biggest impact. If you follow me on IG you know I used the Minwax Polyshades Classic Black Satin with Polyurethane already in it.
Before staining, I wiped down the railing (duh). See the icky green stuff on railing on the left? That’s moss that forms from years of rainfall on wood. Moss is gross (unless you like that kind of stuff). I cleaned the moss with a mixture of 1Cup of Vinegar in 1 Gallon of water, using one of those flat green scrubbers. Worked great! I let the railing dry very well (not a long time if it’s hot.) Then I stained it using a cheap 1inch chip brush. It took me a total of 6 hours over 2 weekends. It was looking better already!
3. Add Flowers/Plants: At the beginning of Spring this year I had planted some wildflowers in the front of the house… you know, the kind that’s supposed to blanket the area in wild colorful flowers and attract butterflies. I’m still waiting for the butterflies, but the flowers have finally made their appearance. Next year we will add more flower bushes
4. Weeding and Mulching. In the 6 years we’ve been here, I’ve hated the ivy that the previous owners planted. I know some people love ivy, and it might even be considered good ground cover. Whatever, I hate them. They are so ruuuude! They crawl everywhere, even finding their way in if you’re not vigilant. They attach themselves to things, ugh! Well, we had a ton of Ivy, and it was work getting rid of them. Poor Mister who’s apparently allergic to them. He breaks out in a nasty rash on his forearms whenever he touches them…which was a lot, since he did most of the removing. Last summer we thought we had triumphed over them, but some managed to come back. I decided that this year, I would focus my energy on at least eradicating the ones on the front. Next spring we’ll focus on the sides of the house. So once we got the fronts de-ivied and weeded, we added gorgeous red mulch. I LOVE RED MULCH! Caught them on a good sale at 4 bags for $10. Cheap way to add color.
5. Add some accessories.
I brought out those colorful Ikea lawn chairs I used had in the family room. I loved these chairs at first sight because they were so colorful. I knew the kids would love them, so I bought them for the kids to sit on while playing the Wii. The family room quickly got very cramped with all 3 in there, along with a sofa a daybed, all my craft crap, etc etc. I had wanted to put them out for a long time, but I was overruled by the Mister and the Kids. So naturally I exercised my veto powers and put them out when no one was home. Instant interest to the porch!
And…Say hello to my little friend:
Well hello there, mr. owl (or is it ms. owl?) I’ve always loved windchimes. I love the tinkling little sound when it’s windy and cloudy outside. Well, apparently I’m the only one who feels this way in my house. The Mister thinks they’re weird and The Daughter find them creepy. She said it reminds her of scary movies (that I didn’t even know she watched). She has a point, but whatever, I like them. They got used to it.
I also brought out lanterns from the inside to the outside. Cute, no?
It’s funny, I hadn’t even noticed the hooks sitting there just waiting for the lanterns!
So all in all, I’m happy with how the front of the house is coming along. Clearly there’s still work to be done, but all in all, 128 is looking pretty damn good to me!
So there ya have it…Adding curb appeal in 5 easy steps.