Curb Appeal. It’s ‘For You’, not just ‘For Sale’!

You hear so much about curb appeal in today’s world of home staging, a slower real estate market, and of course, on every social media and home improvement channel going! Don’t get me wrong, curb appeal is an absolute must if you are selling, but what about if you’re not?

This is where I notice the little touches are often overlooked. You know how it is, coming and going on a daily basis and suddenly things disappear?

Enter my Dad’s home.

Dad's House Lanterns - Before

It’s hard to see in this shot, but the house lanterns are brass and badly pitted. Once Dad was on board to let me give them a quick refresh, he had them down before I could take my usual ‘before’ shots. That’s just the way he works!! :-)

Here are some close-ups in preparation for the quick makeover.

Before - Lanterns

Before - House Lanterns

See what I mean about pitted?

There was also a set of house numbers by the main door needing some TLC, too.

Before - House Numbers

Ignore the GRAPES lettering, there’s nothing sour about this DIY, lol!

Love projects with my Dad – he set everything up so all I had to do was arrive and start painting… since this was my idea, after all! ;-)

Here’s a little peek at the project in progress…

After - Lanterns

After - House Numbers

I used two variations of Rust-Oleum flat black spray paint.

Rustoleum Flat Black Spray Paint

I started off with the Universal paint & primer in one. I used the whole can to do all three lanterns and the house numbers, so I think it provided great coverage, and it definitely went on very smooth. I used the Painters Touch for the second coat and a few touch-ups here and there, but this time I only used half a can.

Here’s a look at the ‘afters’ with everything back in place.

Lanterns - After

Lanterns - After

Sharp, right?

Lanterns, House Numbers - After

Notice the doorbell? When I left, Dad painted that too! Way to go, Dad!!

In this overall shot, it’s hard to see the difference…

Dad's Lanterns - After

But when you get up close and personal there’s no comparison!

So my point is just a reminder that the little things in everyday living matter. Take the time for basic upkeep, and enjoy your home while you’re in it! Trust me, there’ll be lots of other projects if the day ever comes to sell, that you’ll be happy you stayed on top of these! And no, Dad’s not selling!

I have to say, my Dad is a master at staying on top of the little things. There’s never too much out of place, or needing to be done. Yah, that’s him scouting for weeds!!

Do you have any warm weather projects on the go? Any that you’ve scratched off your list of ‘to do’? And how about you, do you agree, it’s better to love your home while you’re in it??

Thanks for stopping by!

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Photographs by Sheila Zeller

Lush Eco Lawns Spreading the Mulch!

Do you remember our garden overhaul after my weeding revenge? If you missed it, you can read about it here.

We thought it looked neat and tidy then… until our bark mulch arrived.

John Larsson Trucking - Mulch Delivery

John Larsson Trucking did an awesome job of dumping this full load right onto our slightly undersized tarp! My Dad offered us his larger tarp, but I insisted ours was just fine. Shhhh, don’t tell him he might have been right! ;-)

Mulch Pile

Lush Eco Lawns team was already hard at work mowing, weeding wacking, and prepping to spread the mulch.

Lush Eco Lawns Team

Hard working guys, seriously!

Lush Eco Lawns Crew at Work

And you know that overflow of mulch I hinted at? Well, when this team was finished you would never know any mulch had hit the ground!

Here’s a look at the Lush team’s work!

Landscaping with Garden Mulch

Notice how clean the gravel is?

And check out how thoroughly the mulch has been spread, especially around the border of Lily of the Valley on the left. Not easy.

Landscaping with Garden Mulch

We can’t say enough about the professional service of the Lush Eco team.

Especially when you see this shot of the garden before the fresh mulch.

Garden Needing Fresh Mulch

And compare it to this shot after the Lush team worked their magic!

Garden with New Mulch

Isn’t it incredible what a difference this fresh layer of mulch makes?

And what about that team? It was such a treat to bring in these professionals to do what they do best, because you know me, we had plans to tackle it ourselves. Lush Eco Lawns – you rock!

Thanks for stopping by!

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I hope you had a great weekend. :-)

Photographs by Sheila Zeller

These Flowers Are Not Your Friend!

We had an incredible long weekend with awesome weather, so I was able to get out and tackle the extra greenery that wasn’t really invited to our garden plot.

Our side yard looked like this…

Overgrown Weeds

Yes, I hang my head in shame. :-(

But it looks worse than it really was. These party crashers seriously seemed to pop up overnight!

Weeds

They look pretty in this photo, but trust me, they are not your friend!

These pretty weeds (what are they anyway?) cover the ground like a floral carpet, and before you know it, you’ve got wall-to-wall!

Well, not anymore.

Now our side yard looks like this!

Wheel barrel of weeds

Two heaping wheel barrels and this mini load later.

I know. Crazy!

And to keep the weeds down, Lush Eco Lawns will be replenishing our bark mulch with a very, very thick layer. I’d call that ripping out the carpet and replacing it with hardwood instead! ;-)

How about you, are you battling the first weeds of the season? What are your weed control strategies??

Thanks for stopping by!

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Photographs by Sheila Zeller

 

DIY Planter Makeover for Herbs & Garden Gnomes

Not too long ago I was given a hand-me-down planter with these little gnomes that hang off the sides. Now I know these guys are pretty cute, but I’m not so much into cutesy garden things. Don’t unfriend me for that!

Garden Gnomes

Okay, they’re actually kind of hard to resist with their mischievous little faces… they spell trouble, right? But, I still wasn’t convinced. I kept trying to decide where to feature this planter with these little guys, and then it all came together for me!

My friend Heather over at Grillfusion blog posted about her new little friend, a white garden gnome! Seeing the gnome in white changed everything! Thanks for showing me the way, Heather!

Here’s a look at what I did.

Painting Garden Gnomes

Poor, unsuspecting little guys! I painted the planter, too.

And then potted it up.

Sweet Marjoram…

Sweet Marjoram - Container Planting

Rosemary & Basil…

Rosemary & Basil - Container Planting

and Thyme.

Thyme - Container Planting

And look who popped up!

Basil - Container Planting

See what I mean about mischievous? How did he get in there??

And what’s this guy doing hanging around here?

White Garden Gnome

So bad. I knew they were trouble!

Garden Gnome Planter

I guess my planter of herbs is their new playground!

Herbs - Container Planting

I’m hoping the herbs will survive in this planter, but if not I’m game to move them and try something else!

How about you? Have you given herbs in a planter a try? And what about garden gnomes? Are they in or out at your home, or have you already unfriended me for that? ;-)

Today I’m linking up over at Satori Design to join Shauna and the gang for the outdoor extravaganza party. Why not pop over and check out what everyone else has been up to! And if you’re into potting up herbs, check out Shauna’s tutorial. She’s has a few great tricks to share!

Project featured over at Living Savvy. Thanks so much Tiffany!

Living Savvy

 Thanks for stopping by!

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Photographs by Sheila Zeller

DIY Your Own Cedar Swags

With the weekend behind us, I’m happy to report that we’ve actually got our decorating well underway. The tree is up, the decorations are scattered placed around, and we’re down to the tweaking touches. We also got our cedar swags hung up outside. If you were reading my blog this time last year, then you already know that hubs is the swag maker in the family!

So this tutorial is per hubs!

Step 1:

Lay out at least 3 or more larger boughs, depending on how long and full you want your swag to be.

Notice the thicker branches? These are great for the back layer of the swag, and then you can build out from there.

Make sure all the boughs are flipped with the same side up.

Here we’re seeing the underside of the boughs.

Step 2:

Flip right-side up, layer smaller boughs on top, and then secure them together by wrapping the branches tightly with twine.

Tie about 3 inches down from the end of the branches.

Step 3:

If you’re adding a bow, now is the time to secure it to the swag.

If not, you’ll want to do extra wraps with the twine to give the swag a finishing touch. Cut off excess twine leaving only about an inch or so.

Step 4:

Cut the extra length off the ends of the branches, about 1 to 2 inches from the twine.

Step 5:

Tie another length of twine, about 12 inches, to the branches. This will be used to hang the swag with.

Here’s a look from the back…

Step 6:

Hang your swag!

This is the swag on our front door…

And one of three on our garage.

By the time I got my camera, the wind had already rearranged the bow and the boughs! I decided to leave it for you to see, you know, just to keep it real!

You might remember, we did swags last year, too. To see last year’s curbside view of the swags on the house, click here!

I still have to put together an arrangement for our front porch, but for now our house has joined the others on the block in showcasing a little festive flair!

How are you doing? I bet you’re all finished with your decorating, aren’t you?

Thanks for stopping by!

Photographs by Sheila Zeller

Sweet Pea Challenge: And The Winner Is…

Okay, it’s officially fall. In Canada we’ve had our Thanksgiving dinners, and according to the weather man, the rain is on its way :-( It’s been a good ride, though, hasn’t it?

But, all good rides must come to an end, so today I’m going to announce the winner of the sweet pea challenge between my Dad and me. Remember my cheeky post way back in May?

Here’s the photograph I totally photoshopped to suggest this is how my sweet peas were going to grow!

After all, aren’t we supposed to ‘vision’ our desired outcome? ;-)

So, I got the seeds going… set them in a container, covered them with water, and put paper towel on top. Then they went into a dark closet, and were left for about a week, but I made sure the paper towel remained moist.

This is what they looked like on planting day!

I had already planted about half of them before I remembered to take this photo!

I ended up with waaaay more than I needed…

So the rest were planted in these round pots.

My Dad is such a good sport. He didn’t think my idea to let the sweet peas climb up the lattice of the heat pump surround was such a great idea. So, he helped me out by building a proper trellis.

Complete with perfectly placed netting!

And then we sat back to see whose sweet peas were going to grow!

In no time at all mine were off to the races, looking pretty good!

Dad’s, on the other hand, weren’t doing so hot. I don’t have any photos of his progress at this point, but he was pretty sure they weren’t going to make it.

So I passed these pots of extras on to him!

One good turn deserves another, right?

While Dad’s were busy rerouting themselves (or is that re-’rooting’? ;-) ), and trying to play catch-up…

Mine were thriving!

And then I got to make the first phone call. You know the one!

Oh yah, uh-huh…

Flowers on the vine!

Pretty, pretty flowers!

And enough to pick my first bouquet!

Oh, how beautiful they smelled! Picture a happy dance, and a little side-line gloating ;-)

But then the unthinkable happened!

Look closely at the stems at the end of each arrow…

That’s right. My beloved sweet peas were grazed by the neighbourhood deer! Can I just say, they ARE. NOT. CUTE!!!

So in an effort to keep the deer out, every night hubs would lean an extra piece of lattice over the whole sweet pea patch.

And we even tried this.

Bobbex Deer Repellent

Bobbex is an environmentally friendly, chemical-free, all natural repellent that is smell-y!

But by now Dad’s sweet peas were well on their way and catching up! And mine, well… I was able to squeeze another teeny, tiny bouquet from them. So, I took this as a sign they were on the mend.

Only now, the tables were turned. Dad’s sweet peas were totally flourishing.

And he was only too happy to send this bouquet my way… can you tell?

It’s killing me to point this out, but his bouquet was about twice the size of my first pride and joy bunch! And he was picking multiple bouquets at once :-|

While Dad continued to ‘harvest’ his crop…

Mine continued to wither away :-(

That’s right. Wither and die! So sad :-( :-( :-(

Now it’s my turn to be a good sport, and announce Dad as the winner of the sweet pea challenge! {cringe, wince, choke}

Yah, that’s right. Dad totally swept this one away! I mean, look at how high his sweet peas grew! Even if mine survived, they wouldn’t have reached this height, because my trellis wasn’t even close in size! What was I thinking?

So, the wine was on me… but we shared it over a BBQ dinner at Dad’s house. That was the deal. Wine was consumed at the winner’s house, and we all pitched in on dinner :-)

Of course, when I was leaving, Dad couldn’t resist but to send me on my way with one last bouquet!

And you know what? He’s still picking the last of his sweet peas before putting the garden to bed for the winter!

Congratulations, Dad!

And what about next year? Um, don’t even go there. Didn’t I mention, all good rides must come to an end?!

How did your garden grow this year? Do you have any stories to share… do you battle the deer where you live?

Thanks for stopping by!

Photography by Sheila Zeller

And Our Garden Continues to Grow!

Remember when I posted about the Heather our neighbour gave us? Here’s a little flashback in case you missed it. The yellow circles are where we planted them back in June.

And, here’s a look at them now!

They all survived! You can’t see the fifth one in the top, right corner, but it’s the same colour as the one in the foreground, and is also in full bloom

Here’s a close-up of my favorite one.

I love the colour!

But this is only the half of it. You see, this same neighbour has decided to dig up more plants, and pass them on to us!

Here the bins are filled with what he gave us, as well as a huge lily that was planted before this photo.

If you look at the spot circled below, we learned from all the watering over the summer, that it doesn’t drain at all. So this area turned into a thick mud bog.

I couldn’t stay on top of the weeds, and wasn’t sure what to do with this spot.

With the gift of more plants I decided to build another garden bed. Why not let the plants help with that excess water, right?

I moved Black-Eyed Susans to the new bed from the one on the left, and was able to add two mounds of our neighbour’s Dianthus in their place. Now that whole bed is filled with Dianthus.

For the rest of the water-logged area, sand was spread and then topped with fresh bark mulch.

But I made a mistake, and picked up black mulch instead of brown. I thought I could live with it, but I can’t! I’m going to mix some brown with the black for a more even blend, and spread it around further.

Our neighbour also gave us some Primula, which are planted along the same side as the Heather.

The Lily of the Valley border came from my Dad’s yard last year, and he’s planning to split some of his other plants up again this year. And… they’re destined for our yard!

The yard is slowly starting to fill in, and what’s so awesome, is most of the plants have been given to us!

Quite a few have come from hub’s parents as well, including all of these grasses that you see scattered throughout.

It’s a win-win!

Here’s my favorite part…

Now, I know you’ve seen this ‘Before’ photo many times.

BEFORE

But in order to appreciate the progress, it’s great to see what it looked like when we first moved in.

And compare that to what it looks like now!

AFTER

I find it so rewarding to see the yard come together.

On the note of rewarding, do you remember the sweet pea challenge I was having with my Dad? Well, stay tuned. I’ll be back with how that went!

THANKS FOR STOPPING BY! :-)

Photography: Sheila Zeller

A Mini Porch Repair… Curb Appeal Love!

Not sure if you remember, but back when I shared our DIY BBQ Pad project I mentioned another project that was on our ‘to do’ list. A little porch repair…

We had to wait out the weather (like 3 months worth of waiting!) before we could get started, since staining was involved. Finally, this weekend some good weather lined itself up with our ‘spare’ time, and we were able to get at it.

Here’s a look at the actual repair we needed to make.

Porch Repair Project

The bottom step needed to be replaced, and while we were at it we wanted to restain the porch, too.

Our neighbour caught wind of this project and offered us the use of his power washer. He also gave me a quick lesson on how to use it.

Removing Stain by Power Washing

I only power washed the decking, because the boards for the step were being completely replaced.

And then our neighbour lent us his belt sander to finish the job. We have a little sander, but he was convinced his was the better tool to get the job done!

Removing Stain with a Belt Sander

Have I mentioned that we have pretty awesome neighbours?

Before hubs did the sanding he dealt with removing the boards on the step.

Repairing a Porch

The nails were pretty heavy duty, so this was the toughest part of the whole thing, otherwise I would’ve tried to tackle it myself!

While he was doing this part, I stained the underside and edges of the new boards for the step.

Stained Boards

I wanted them to have a chance to dry before hubs needed to install them.

Here’s a look at the fully sanded deck-top.

Sanded Porch Prepped to Stain

I jumped in and took over the staining at this point. I wanted to give the whole porch a fresh coat of stain before the new boards were nailed down.

Here’s a look at the stain job.

Freshly stained porch

I’m not sure what those streaks are in the photo, because the porch doesn’t actually look streaky to the eye! You can see here that I gave the frame of the step a coat of stain as well.

Once the stain was dry – and trust me, it didn’t take long in the heat – hubs nailed the new boards into place.

Installing stair treads

And then I finished them off with a couple of coats of stain.

Cloverdale Deck Stain

This is the stain we used, which was in the basement when we moved in, and is what our landlord used on all the porches of this home.

Here’s a look back at where we started…

Porch Repair Project

And how the porch looks now.

Cloverdale Stained Porch

A quick repair job, and a new coat of stain gives this porch a refreshed look. Another ‘to do’ scratched off the list!

And did you notice the BBQ is out and in full use? Just thought I’d mention that! ;-)

What did you do this weekend? Did you play in the sun, or did you tackle a home project, too? If you’re like me, tackling a home project out in the sun is playing in the sun!

You know, it’s the little things such as a mini project like this that make all the difference to your curb appeal, and the statement your home makes. If you look closely you’ll see this porch is not made with treated lumber, and in fact, doesn’t even have a cement pad to sit on. Heck, it’s not even sitting perfectly level. But with the step repaired, and the fresh coat of stain, those aren’t the things you notice. What you see is a little porch that looks loved and cared for. And that is what makes a home feel welcoming, what curb appeal is all about!

THANKS FOR STOPPING BY!

All Photos by Sheila Zeller

 

Just When I Thought I Was Done!

I know you’re all keen to move on from the photo journey of what we’ve done outside. And I get it. Trust me, I do!

But I had to share my ‘just when I thought I was done’ moment with you.

See this beautiful home and its equally beautiful landscaping?

Rock Terraced Landscaping

Well, this belongs to my neighbour.

And today he removed a bunch of his Heather shrubs. Do you know where I’m going with this?

That’s right, he offered them to me! All five of them!

And though this spot is pretty much solid rock, here’s where I was determined they would go.

Bare Ground for Heather Shrubs

I wanted to fill in the bare area you see, so there was a little more green.

So I took on the braun of the rock underneath, and outbrauned it enough to the dig holes.

And got all five in place. Well, hubs put the front one in for me!

Transplanting Heather Shrubs

The holes were just barely deep enough, but will do.

Here’s a little side view.

Landscaping with Heather

Can you see the dirt mounded up around them?

So what do you think?

Landscaping with Heather Shrubs

Did I do the right thing by accepting my neighbour’s generous offer?

Do you remember how this yard looked when we moved in? If not, you can see a ‘before’ of it here.

What would you do?

All of our neighbours have been super encouraging and helpful. In fact, it was another of our neighbours who suggested we might be interested in this Heather. I thought that was pretty cool. And then another offered to use his truck if we wanted to get a load of bark mulch. In today’s world, being treated neighbourly like this is pretty awesome.

I’M SO GLAD YOU STOPPED BY!

xo

Home… a special place that tells your story! 

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Photos: Sheila Zeller

Container Water Gardens

Water gardens.

Pink Lotus

Source: What’s Ur Home Story

I’ve never had one. How about you?

I’m loving the idea of a water garden in a container.

Container Water Garden

And from what I’ve read you can use just about any watertight container for your garden’s home.

I’m into the look of this rusty blue tub.

Container Water Garden

Source: Pinterest

And this wooden planter.

Wooden Container Water Garden

Source: Great Home Interior

For a wooden container, just make sure you insert a liner to contain the water.

Glazed ceramic containers are also a great choice.

Water Gardening in Glazed Ceramic Container

 Source: Aquascape Inc Blog

But there are so many decorative options out there, it might be hard to choose!

What do you think about this gray container?

Faux Stone Plastic Container

Source: Design Scouting

Were you able to tell that it’s actually a molded plastic pot?

I love this water garden displayed in the terracotta saucer.

Terracotta Saucer - Water Garden

Source: Pebble Path Gardens

If you look closely you can see a black liner, but if you can’t find a liner for your porous container, just be sure to seal the inside of it with a water sealer.

Wine or whiskey barrels. They are by far my favorite!

Source: John Glover

And the great thing is if they’re in good shape, they’ll already be watertight. But if not, you can also find liners for half barrels.

I’ve always thought water gardens were pretty cool, but have never entertained the idea of making one for myself. That is until now.

Source: Water Garden Guide

If I give this a go, I’m heading over to Fresh Home Idea’s tutorial to help me out.

Creating a Container Water Garden

Source: Fresh Home Ideas

And for more information I might also refer to master gardener Sandy Metzger’s tips in this article.

Creating a Container Water Garden

Source: University of California

I’d love to know what you think about water gardens. If you’ve made one, do you have any tips to share?

Today I’m supporting Habitat for Humanity’s 5th Annual ‘Before & After’ with my chandelier makeover

Supporting Habitat for Humanity

Pop on over to OPC’s The Better Half, so you can join in to lend your support, too!

THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO STOP BY!

xo

Home… it’s all about creating a special place that tells your story! 

If you would like a little help with your space contact me here.

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