DIY Planter Box

If you didn’t catch my plans for farm living in the city, I’m trying our hand at gardening y’all. And I’m also in a crazy lady state of purging out stuff that is laying around (why – WHY do we accumulate so much stuff in life?). The combination of these two things led to an impromptu planter for our backyard which we’re currently using for the start of our winter garden.

Remember the project I mentioned that fizzled out that had already been started a few months back that left us with some scrap wood that had just been siting in our garage for a long time and was driving me batty – the one we used for our DIY desk top?

Well after we cut the custom dimensions for that top, we still had a small piece left over. I didn’t want to throw it away, but was leaning toward that since it was just sitting in our garage collecting dust (and driving me crazy).

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The more I looked at it though, to more I thought to myself, by george, that might actually work as the base of a planter for our square foot garden experiment.

So I asked Jay what he thought and bless that man’s big old heart, he whipped something together for me in an evening!

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You can see here that the wood was a bit warped, and gappy before we screwed everything in together.


So Jay just clamped up the sides while he worked and added in a few screws to each board (and glued it too, for extra holding power)

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Notice it’s getting darker in these shots? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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The next day we added some more vinegar and steel wool stain to darken it up a bit. Nice, right??

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We planted the seeds and they’re already coming up – I think they love this cooler weather!

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Remember – this is pine wood from Home Depot that was c-h-e-a-p so the entire top before was around $20-$30 – so getting TWO projects out of it is pretty rockin.

Outdoor Ceiling Fan (For a Steal)

You guys, if I have not sufficiently evangelized you on never buying your stuff new (atleast not straight out of the gate) – let this be another lesson! ๐Ÿ˜‰ We scored an outdoor fancy old fan for $30 on craiglist – holla!!

So first, some before shots and back story. This is what our outdoor ceiling looked like.


Notice that pretty little plate, mounted smack in the middle? Well we knew it was an electrical box, and as the summer scorched on (North Carolina you guys – it gets hot) we kept thinking to ourselves – we *need* a fan. Our kid absolutely loves to play with his kiddy pool so 9 days out of 10 we’re out there chilling on the porch and getting coached by our 2-year old on acceptable water table behavior. There are more rules to this than you’d first imagine ๐Ÿ˜‰

But being cheap, and realizing this definitely fell into the category of non-essential, I refused to buy a brand new one for like $200+ for the styles I loved.

Which is where craigslist comes in!


I saw this beauty/cutie come up for $30 and I was like whaaaa – Jay, we need to go in the car and get this! It even has an edison bulb already planted in it, which is like $5-$8 right there, haha!

This was also where our whomp whomp moment came in. The next morning we were super excited to install it, when Jay realized that although the box did have electrical, it was definitely missing some key provisions we’d need for installing a ceiling fan.


Apparently, you need to have more than just wires to install something as substantial as a fan, which totally makes sense, but was definitely not something that was on my radar until Jay told me no dice.

We realized we needed to buy the thing er jigger (here) and down below that essentially finds beams up above in your ceiling and locks into them, to make sure your ceiling fan, well doesn’t fall on your head mid spin, so it’s a rather important detail! Ceiling_Fan_Mounting We had a 2-day delay while we ordered this guy and waited. But the good news is, here in the South, you almost have to wait until late fall before being outside is actually something you’d want to do, so the timing – all and all – worked perfectly ๐Ÿ™‚

Here is the ceiling fan up and running – we love it!


And another shot of the entire porch, which right now only consists of this lonely little bench and our shoe basket.


Here is a close up of the light fixture portion as well. I love the character it has and truly – for $30 it was a no brainer to drive out to the sticks to pick this beauty up!


I’m looking forward to having this outside and feel super happy about the price we paid for it, too. It can be so hard to wait for things but I’m really glad we held out and waited for a deal.

Now if someone could coach me on the importance of doing this for say … buying stuff for Henry’s “Big Boy” room and the new addition’s nursery – I might need some encouragement on that front ๐Ÿ˜‰

Farmhouse Table + Flowers

Our house was pretty landscaped when we moved in a year ago, and with a 2-year old, and an interior I wanted to get cracking on, we’ve literally done nothing – like nothing – to the outside of the house. Well I guess Jay did trim the bushes once last year – ha! But that’s been it! Oh and he’s built this table, which I’m obsessed with. Plan from Ana White, here.

Farmhouse Style Table

So this planter and been growing away over time … by now, it’s a bit overgrown. We had some basil in there that we transplanted into a small planter we keep in the kitchen for cooking.


I’ve always loved the look of houses with tons and tons of hydrangeas all over the place. That or peonies but now that I have a kiddo and ants like never leave my life (ummm food crumbs all the time), the thought of a plant that attracts ants is not something I’m mojoing for too much.

We have a tiny little courtyard around our house, so I’d really like to give it a bit more of “us” character over time, and get rid of some of these tall wacky trees we have planted all over the place.


These are some of the images that I swoon over when thinking about designing our backyard space.



Do you think I could get away with turning our house into a tree, a la the photo above? I think Jay might fa-reak out ๐Ÿ˜‰

Or what about turning the house into a bush, like this photo? Maybe I should just paint it green with a faux finish ๐Ÿ˜‰ Something about that ivy/plantings growing over the wall just makes a space look old and lived in, I think. I love it!



Or this one (that table is a bit too weathered for my liking), but the droves of hydrangeas is definitely something I can get behind. And that charcoal shed tucked in the corner – mmm hmmm. Nice. Hydrangea_Backyard_Courtyard


So one small step toward this oh so lovely vision was to turn our planter introduced at the beginning of this post, into a small spot for some hydrangeas to grow. We picked up two from Home Depot this weekend, and y’all I am so excited to watch these babies grow. Down here in NC things do grow pretty fast, so hopefully they take off quickly!


I’m desperately hoping I don’t kill these beauties – I found this article helpful – and others attempting to grow hydrangeas may as well!

Next up, a porch swing (?) and some dark navy paint perhaps a la this photo. It hurts my heart I love this photo THAT much.

Outdoor Porch Swing


Take a Walk Outside

So it turns out, when you’re used to having a eensy teensy house, if you move into one that’s just a wee bit bigger, you feel like you’re living it up Kardashian style. Our last house was a meager 1,300 square feet, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much more spacious our 1,700 square foot house now feels to us. From the kitchen, to the living room, to the big old back yard. You guys, we lucked out big time with the lot for this house. Since we’ve always been (and always will be) urban dwellers, we’re pretty used to sacrificing some space and amenities for a great location, so when we walked around back and saw this, our jaws kind of hit the floor.

Designing Back Yard

It’s kinda hard to tell, but this yard is ginormous. Huge. Mammoth. Perhaps we should install a swimming pool? ๐Ÿ˜€ Even though it’s large, for the most part it’s a blank slate. And you guys, I’ve got a confession for you. I’m totally yard dumb. Although I’m the kinda girl that can walk into a room (or a house) and know exactly what I want to do with it, I’ve gotta tell it straight, backyards – not so much. Although I have some general ideas of what I’d like to do with the space, for the most part I’m really grasping at straws over here as far as design for our outdoor oasis.

On the plus side, the front already has a lot of curb appeal, so in the immediate future, there’s not a lot to do up there. I’m totally a smitten kitten with the front walk. Lurrrve it.

Brick Front Walkway

Here’s a side angle of the front.

Trinity Park Durham

The house has siding on it, which is nice for maintenance, not as nice for a fickle design girl like me that likes to switch things up at the drop of a hat ๐Ÿ™‚ Luckily, it’s not blue siding, or purple siding, so it’s got that going for it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

As you head around the back, you’ve got a side covered porch. When the weather is nice, I’m certain this will be one of our favorite spots to chill out and relax.

Side Porch on Home

Right off the side porch, there is the sweetest little slate path. I know it sounds a little crazy sauce, but I think this might be one of my favorite parts of the house. Odd, I am.

Slate Walking Path

I think I like it since it wraps around to a big old brick wall, which leads to our basement walkout. I’d like to think of something to make this brick wall a bit more interesting… maybe let the ivy grow over it? Time will tell.

Walk Out Basement

Right against this walkway is one of (2) azalea bush’s that are in the backyard. I just happened to catch this one when it was blooming last week – so pretty! But with the heat we had earlier this week, they’ve all since wilted off.

Azalea Bush

We’ve also got a small (but cute!) little garage that’s right off the covered porch. It’s not attached to the house, but it’s only a few steps over. It’s small enough that I’m not even sure our car will fit in, and we drive a Prius for goodness sake. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Worst case scenario lots of good storage and great for bike parking!

Small Garage Off House

On the back we have a smallish deck. It’s in pretty good condition, with a few loose boards here and there. Overall, I’ve got pretty grandeur visions for what I’d like to do deck wise long term, but for now, we’ll have to make due with this guy.

Adding Onto Deck

Here’s one more view of the backyard, taken from the edge of the property line. That big Magnolia Tree is beautiful! I feel like a legit southerner with a Magnolia Tree in our backyard ๐Ÿ™‚

Southern Magnolia Tree

Outdoor Oasis

Now that the floors are finally wrapping up, I’m moving on to some new projects I’ve been dying to get my hands on. When we ordered our cabinets through Lowe’s, one of the extra little bonus’s we got was a gift card for 10% of the total value of our project. This was a promo that kind of popped up right before we were going to pull the trigger on our cabinets, so needless to say, it was a very welcome surprise. Although I kept harping to Jay at the time that I wish they just would have taken that $500+ off the cabinet total, now I’m pretty pumped to have that money land into my lap! I’ve got some plans for it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ready to play my game – I’ve got $532 – let’s spend it!

This is our outside right now. Not a whole lot happening. The garage, it’s like aย Christmasย themed pole barn. I’m waiting for the man with the bag to hop out and give me a present. Not working.

Outdated Garage

Although, this garage does have some really nice features (it’s HUGE), it’s lacking some ommph factor in my book. Nothing my gift card from Lowe’s can’t fix! The lights that are mounted right now on the garage are really just much too small. And kinda dated too. To help balance out the large garage facade, I’m planning on popping some larger lights on there. Here is what we have right now.

Garage Lights

Got my eye on these babies right now. $110 each. Not shabby considering they are 27″ tall.

Allen and Roth Parsons Light

Or maybe these ones? Slighter smaller (17″) and more expensive ($134) and also not from Lowe’s. Triple fail. But I like them. Le sigh.

Craftmaid Riviera Collection

Getting two of those will knock $200 off my total. That’s a chunk, but for the kazam factor, I’m going to take the jump and go for it. $332 left. Another thing I’ve been wanting to do is to plant some ivy along our little rock path, which runs along the side of the driveway. This area didn’t drive me so crazy before, but now it’s got a bunch of weeds popping up, and I’d prefer to have something more manicured there. Here is a shot of our not so happening patch right now.

Rocks along side of drive

I’m budgeting $30 for this. I’ll get a dozen or so starter plants, and just let them go. That leaves $302.

I think the front of our house is cute, it’s quaint, it had me at hello. But there are a few things that I think we can do to pump up da volume and bring this house from an 8.5 to an 11. Yeeeaaahh baby – off the charts. I’m painting it. $100 bucks, and ya got yourself a beautiful new abode. When I was mixing up the paint for the downstairs bath, I kept thinking to myself – gosh darn – this would look pretty snazzy outside, too. So, I popped a wee little sample up on the back of the house. Thoughts?

Benjamin Moore Northern Cliifs

Still mulling over the paint color (perhaps something darker, with more gray?), but all things considered, I’m going to budget $150 for all the exterior paint, since I don’t think we will need much (most of the house is brick). Within that, I’d also like a gallon to paint the garage door white. Never done that before (painted a garage door), so I’ll be sure to share all theย grimyย details, and twists and turns, that come with that one ๐Ÿ˜‰

After paint, I’ve still got $152 left over. If I get my way, those dollar billz will go toward a gorgeous new trellis / pergola over the garage and some creeping vines (not to be confused with creepy vines). Young House Love recently popped a pergola up on their abode, which overall is the look we are going for. Here is my inspiration picture. Drool.

Garage Door Pergola