Condo Blues: Recycled Front Porch and Garden Renovation Reveal !

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Recycled Front Porch and Garden Renovation Reveal !

Husband and I worked on this project all spring and summer. It is finished! I am ready to reveal my summer recycled front yard vegetable garden and Power of Paint Porch renovation project!


I didn’t expect this to be our big summer project. Things snowballed after Husband and I made it a priority to plant something in the front yard.   This remodel is an example of Slow Decorating. We did each project bit by bit over a year and several months. It is a cash only project.

Actually it took longer than a year and several months After ripping out diseased plants and concrete from the flower beds the first summer, we spent the following summer waiting for magical garden faeries to do the rest of the work for us.

That didn't happen.

I'm very disappointed in you magical garden faeries.

Front Yard Before

Japanese Beetles, poor drainage, and slime mold killed everything in our “easy to care for landscaping” the builder promised us. Two failed landscaping attempts and a week of digging through the clay soil in the front yard is the reason why I named my blog Condo Blues.

You'd sing the blues if this were your yard.

Front Yard and Porch After

I'm doing the Happy Dance instead of singing the blues!

The Power of Plants and Paint Renovation

Husband and I rented a jackhammer to remove concrete from the garden bed. Still the BEST. DIY. EVER!

 I never get tired of showing you this photo. 

I built a dry stack raised garden border from old bricks we found in a junk pile on the in-laws farm. Worn brick is exactly the look I wanted. Husband and I learned early in the project that the magic words are, "If you are going to throw that away, I will take it off your hands." Poof! You get free stuff for your yard! 

Three neighbors on my block like my bricks so much they copied it.

Husband and I amended the clay soil with pounds and pounds of organic Ohio peat and soil. 1760 pounds to be exact. Then we took a break because Husband and I were tired, sore, and sweaty from hauling, dumping, and raking dirt all day.

Ice cold lemonade anyone?  

The following day I transplanted the lavender outgrowing the tree ring. I also transplanted the chive plant I had growing in a pot on the patio. The next door neighbor gave me the chive last summer. I was able to divide the plant into three separate plantings. If you have chive recipes, I'll take them!

The rocks are freebies too. The white one is a souvenir from family we visited in the Georgia mountains Can you believe the annoying layer of rock in her garden and yard is raw granite?! 

The front garden is getting there but is a bit sparse. 

Looking better!

We decided to plant the vegetable seeds Dinner Garden gave us in the front yard instead of doing a container garden on the patio as planned. An accidental organic front yard vegetable garden is born!

 Our front yard farm! Ee-I-Ee-I-Oh

I bought and installed this rain barrel that looks like a decorative rock that looks like a rock. We used a gift card Husband and I received as a Christmas gift. (Thanks Dad!) (I am including affiliate links to the items I used for your convenience)

Using water from the rain barrel encourages us to water the plants more often, one of our downfalls in the past. Best of all, it’s keeping that poorly drained and previously perpetually soggy corner near the downspout nice and dry. I love it when the green way is the most convenient way to fix a problem.

Husband took over the watering and weeding duties. Blitzkrieg supervised.

I built tepee trellises for heirloom beans, cucumbers, and delicata squash plants. I painted them fun colors. I figure if I'm going to build something from scratch it should look as cool as it is useful. Good call. The property manager drove by one day and told me my yard looks very nice. Well knock me over with a feather! The Queen of No likes my not so covert veggie garden.

Trellises before the Growpocalypse.

If you don't want to DIY and build a tepee trellis you can buy a similar tepee trellis here.

Trellises after the Growpocalypse.

 I think I should have built taller trellises.

A set of salvage stair spindles and cabinet knobs became colorful plant stakes.

I have no idea what this plant is.

 Copper again!

I couldn’t leave the faded coir doormat out either. I made a new design with spray paint and painter's tape. 

Buying an extra can of turquoise spray paint was a happy accident.

The cucumbers  grew up and over their trellises and onto the porch!

The fabric on last year's repainted and recovered porch chairs faded but still works as does the repainted plant stands turned porch tables.

The chairs are still comfy! 

I shopped the house for accessories and finishing touches.

unabashedly stole was inspired by a neighbor to move my changeable twig wreath from the front door to  the front window above the porch chairs.

Instead of borrowing cups of sugar, people in my neighborhood borrow decorating ideas.

My metal flamingo greets visitors at the front door again.

Knock, knock!
Her name is Lola.

She was a showgirl.

Lola may or may not be a distant cousin to The Bloggess’ big metal chicken Beyonce.

Lola will not confirm or deny.

Lola doesn't talk about her family.

Blitzkrieg says hi.

My favorite part of the porch are the cotton curtains I hung on a whim. The curtains and the floor cloth make the front porch feel like an outdoor room. The curtains came from our old rental. I’m glad I found them again!

Three days later another neighbor copied my curtain idea on her porch.

I love my front porch and garden! It is bright, cheery, and  fun. It is an example of green gardening and decorating without being in your face about it. Everyone thinks my big rock is a garden doodad and not a hippy dippy rain barrel.  They think we laid out oodles of cash, when almost all of the items were either smart shopping (waiting until the top soil went on sale), making over things we already had, or rescuing items from a landfill  fate. This leads to lots of good conversation - on our porch because it's fun and inviting.

Let's review.



So sad.





Would you believe Husband and I did all this for $163.08? If we bought everything new and I didn't get my DIY on we would have spent $1,911.38 on the whole project.
It is worth it. Husband, Blitzkrieg and I love to sit outside now and watch our garden grow!

Updated May 4, 2011: Seven houses on my block added borders like mine to their front yards since we finished this project. Everyone complimented us on how pretty our new yard looked and none of them realized it is a vegetable and herb garden!

For more ways to kill Japanese Beetles in your garden check out the following ideas - and more! below!

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Rachel (Hounds in the Kitchen) said...

It all looks great!! How many vegetables did you get to enjoy from your garden?

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

Wow! It looks so beautiful!

Oak Doors said...

wow amazing pictures. it's very beautiful.

Ann @ makethebestofthings said...

Wonderfully and cleverly done! The lush look of your vegetables rivals the look of really expensive plantings. LOVE the pops of vivid blue, like a little surprise here and there. And now I want curtains on my porch, too!

Mary H said...

Y'all did a great-looking job! You're so resourceful and creative-nothing but the best for Bliztkreig ;)

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

I gave some cucumbers to 2 neighbors, made Tadzhiki sauce, and canned 15 quarts of pickles so far. The cukes produced like crazy. I have approx 4 more quarts to pickle in the fridge. I picked around 10 delicata squash and found more buds and squash growing today. I got at least 4 dinners of beans. I think they may be done for the year. The tomatoes are growing and haven't turned red yet. I hope we can harvest them as red tomatoes before the frost comes!

julee said...

That is the best porch makeover on the web...especially the price! GReat job!

Anonymous said...

It is absolutely beautiful! Your photos are gorgeous. You are certainly a talented woman. Want to come over and give me some help?? Make sure to bring Bliztkreig!

Mindful Momma said...

You are a DIY rock star Lisa!!! I'm so impressed with all you did for almost no money. LOVE the curtains on the porch and your homemade trellis is super cool!

Green Bean said...

Love it ALL! I looks amazing. What an awesome job you have done with scraps, leftovers and other people's "trash". I'm so inspired.

Betsy Escandon said...

Amazing. And it's so awesome how you documented everything -- great photos.

Anne said...

Your front yard looks beautiful. I'm going to unabashedly copy from you for next year. I will also show my husband because he won't believe all that beauty cost less than $300.00 SHOCK!! Thanks for sharing.

Meredith Resnick said...

Wow, it looks so great. It looks relaxing and inviting! I LOVE what you did!

~ Meredith From A Mother Seeking come find me on my blog, A Mother Seeking...

Bailey K. | Travel Heals said...

$260?!?! oh wow. i was impressed with all the photos, but then i read how much it cost! i'm now super-impressed. :) great job!!

i would love for you to come link up this or any other amazing project at my creativity party going on right now!

thanks so much for sharing!

Sam | Away She Went said...

It looks a-maz-ing! Thanks for reminding me how bad my front yard looks! JK! But seriously, you guys did an awesome job and for only $260!

Gayle Page-Robak said...

What a beautiful renovation. Lots of work but you have achieved fabulous results. Loved viewing your process.

E @ Act Fast Chef said...

That is awesome! And amazing that you did it for under $300!!!

Stopping by from the hop at Happy Hour Projects

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