I've Lost 10 Pounds and It's All Thanks to.....

Patio Pretty-up

I've been wanting to show you all summer long how I cozied up my patio on the cheap.  With school back in session and most of my to-do list done today, I thought I'd sit down and give you an overview.  


I was encouraged this spring by a very wise friend to let go of my many insecurities about my home and open it up more to guests and to my blog viewers.  I usually cling to closeup shots of the house, trying to edit out the ugly birch trim from the 50's, the weeds taking over the driveway, the stains in the 60-year-old countertop, the brambles midst the roses. . . but as I learn to become more and more the woman I am supposed to be, I am finding how liberating it is to be really honest about my life: to own my freckles, plant moss rose in the sidewalk cracks, decorate with the plastic pink tiles in the bathroom --all of it--and celebrate a life lived within our means and all of the simple, beautiful, free things that catch my eye and make my heart pitter patter each day.  

So, here goes:


There's our little garage that had to be straightened before we moved in, as to prevent it from crashing down on the cars and the pooch's home.  The patio is sunken down on the other side of the sidewalks with perrenial plantings set in retaining walls on the edges.  


The arbor up above came from a porch railing my Dad had removed from his deck this summer.  I decided it would make a great support for my autumn clematis, which, unfortunately was very spindly this year, due to our harsh winter.  The chairs are from IKEA, indoor-outdoor rug from Target on clearance a couple of years ago, little green table $15 from the thrift shop spruced up with a can of spray paint.  I made the bench with a few cinder blocks, a 4x4 post and the help of a Pinterest tut--still not in love with that project, though......


What I AM in love with is this mailbox we found on the side of the road.  I filled it with geraniums and the adorable little ceramic garden gnome Dan bought me for Mother's Day. 


This year's color scheme for the annuals was red, and I just love planting striped petunias.  It's like having little circus tents in your garden!  Lanterns at the corners of the step welcome guests to the party in the evenings.  


This corner near the garage has become a dog path and a major problem until this summer. The dog would continuously run through it, packing the dirt down and scattering wood chips everywhere with her fluffy tail. This year we filled it with landscape rock instead, and it has worked beautifully.  I planted creeping Jenny between the rocks to soften the edges and bring a little life into the area.



more rocks across the path with an old brick nestled in as a little surprise.


I planted this beauty in an old crate under the bench, and it has really taken off.  It's kinda like a succulent, and I'm not sure how I'm getting it out.  I actually set the pot under the crate and pulled a few baby stems up through the cracks.  It has ballooned out over the top now.


This little teapot-shaped wire planter is one of my favorites.  I planted it with moss rose and set it in the middle of the coffee table on a saucer as a nod to tea time.



The service door to the garage had me up in arms, because it was starting to lose paint and get pretty ugly looking.  So, I distressed it even more with a little bit of mocha-colored paint, wiping it off before it was completely dry.  Now it almost looks like whitewashed wood.  The grapevine wreath adds to the primitive look.  


I found the plaid picnic cooler at an auction this summer and discovered that my sunflowers from the garden look fantastic in it (although these are a bit wilty).  The arrangement has become a go-to for parties this season.  I love the hanging potential of the arbor too.  I grabbed some hook eyes and a length of chain from the hardware store to hang this old window frame, which was a gift from a friend.  The potting bench, which I inherited from my grandma, has been so handy to pot with in the spring and serve on in the summer.  Impatients grow wonderfully on the bottom shelf!

I'm looking forward to switching it up this fall with gourds and mums and adding some twinkly lights next year, but I'm hoping to use it in its summer "wardrobe" for a few weeks yet!