My 30-day outdoor overhaul is complete. I came in just under the wire, with the goal of finishing by April 30th. It’s been a full month with one three-day weekend spent in Reno chaperoning my son’s Key Club event and another partial weekend away touring colleges. Throw in an unexpected root canal and it’s been quite the month. Phew!
Serena of Thrift Diving hosts 30-day challenges a few times a year. Several of us sign up for the extra motivation that comes with a deadline. Since I live in California, I’ve been lucky with the weather. We had a bit of rain on one of my painting days, and some windy days too, but nothing like the rest of the group. Serena actually extended the deadline by one week, since so many of the participants have had late-season snow.
I’ll be sure to share Serena’s post with all the challengers when they finish.
Without further ado, here’s what I accomplished this month.
Goals for the 30-Day Outdoor Overhaul
Goal #1: Clean, *repair* and paint my old potting bench
I’ve talked about repainting my potting bench for years but never quite got around to it. Now it’s done and I’m so happy. I painted the bench inside and out with two coats of Annie Sloan’s chalk paint. Once dry, I stenciled ferns along the bottom slats in a lighter shade of chalk paint. I arranged a variety of glass jars with fresh sweet peas along the top of the bench. I like the look of green and purple together. My friend Sherri gave me the decorative bird you see at the top of the bench. It’s perched on a pine tree twig.
Goal #2: Research gate options for side yard
About six months ago, I installed a make-shift temporary “gate” pictured above to keep Tessa from wandering out of the yard. I used an old wooden trellis, a 2 x 4 and a scrap of shade cloth, all items I had on hand. On the plus side, it served its purpose (keeping Tessa in the yard). On the down side it was ugly and impractical.
Once I started calling for quotes, however, the options for a metal gate seemed bleak. They’re all custom-made and cost thousands of dollars! Instead I worked out an alternate plan for free.
We extended our cat-fence netting all the way to the wooden front gate facing the street. We had just enough leftover from the back fence to finish the job. We used a remnant to cover the gate leading to the street. I’m so happy to have access to the side-yard once again and I’m pleased with the way it looks.
Here is a bit of serendipity. I reused the old trellis to complete goal 4. Though the bottom of the wooden trellis is partially decayed, I simply attached a pair of garden stakes with zip ties to support it and to keep the trellis off of the soil. Mike helped me pound the stakes into the ground to support the free-standing trellis.
Goal #3: Outdoor sandbox for cats
This goal is neither exciting nor blog worthy, but a goal is a goal. I picked up two bags of sanitized sand at a hardware store and poured it into the back corner of the garden.
Tessa and Mouse explored and then started using the sandbox. I’m hoping this cuts down on the deposits in other areas of the garden.
I made the Kitty-Loo sign out of scrap paper and Washi tape, then slipped it into the bottom of a page-protector. The silver cord came from my stash. I wanted something to photograph for this post besides a pile of sand.
Goal #4: Camouflage and Beautify
Goal 3 blends nicely with goal 4: camouflaging the kitty box and beautifying the back corner. I bought a 10 x 40 inch planting box, and set it on an angle in the corner near the back fence. Instead of a vine (my original plan) I bought a gorgeous white camellia. I planted purple periwinkle (vinca minor) on either side. The camellia will grow wider over time, eventually hiding the trellis all together. This corner looks so much better than it did.
Goal #5: Create a step-up to the raised garden along the back fence
I used 10 inch pavers to create a small step-up to the elevated planting bed along our back fence. I only needed ten stones, and a bag of pea gravel to pull it together. Although the rock wall is natural and the pavers manufactured, I was able to soften the edges with a couple of plants. The first time I used the steps I felt like a kid in a candy shop. They work really well.
There are a number of challengers working hard to finish their outdoor projects. When Serena posts her blog with all the finishers, I’ll be sure to share it here with you.