I figured it was about time for another house post. This time I'll take you on a tour of the outside. I was going to wait and show you the outside once we did everything to it that we plan on doing, but I thought about it and the way things are going that will probably be a few years from now, so I decided to just show you what we've done so far. Looking at the before and after, it doesn't look like much, but my aching body tells me otherwise.
As promised, one of the first things we did was take down the faux shutters. I think that made a huge difference in the look of the house. Next, we pulled up the 2 bushes on either side of the porch steps. I'm not sure what kind of bushes they were, but they were not pleasant to look at, in my opinon. They must have been there a long time, because the roots were deep and well established. It took Jerry a whole morning of pulling on them with a chain hooked to his truck to get them to finally release their grip on the earth. We shared high fives once the deed was done. While Jerry played in the dirt getting rid of weeds and thinning out the monkey grass border, I planted flowers in the window box and porch planter. Once that was done, I put out pine straw to define the flower beds. Finally, we hung the porch swing and house numbers, and with that, we were done with Phase 1.
Here's a look at some of the plants and flowers we have planted so far:
Petunias, White Vebena, and Sweet Potato Vines.
Jerry's Beloved Tomato Plant
Phase 2 consisted of tackling the plethora of poison ivy and sassafras trees around the old oak tree in the front yard. Roundup wasn't even going to touch that stuff, so Jerry spent a whole day hacking away at it with an ax. He made a pretty good dent in it and then attacked it with the lawnmower and some roundup. It made a big difference, but there is still work to be done if we ever want grass to grow there. It's been too hot to deal with it lately, so we've abandoned the fight for now. Little poison ivy plants are starting to return to the surface, so we're going to have to get back to it soon.
All that brown area around the tree used to be 6 foot high with poison ivy and baby sassafras trees.
Massive Wisteria Vines - Love them! Especially when they bloom in the Spring. Won't be getting rid of those.
Phase 3's mission was to do something about the ugly concrete blocks buried in the ground in front of the steps. I guess they were meant to be a sort of threshold, but water pooled there when it rained and grass and weeds grew out of the cracks. It wasn't very attactive or functional. Jerry's sister had some leftover chipped marble from a project in her yard, so we were all too happy to take it off her hands. We decided not to pull the concrete blocks up, but rather throw dirt on top of them to level the ground and then sprinkle the marble rocks on top. We really didn't want to buy dirt, because, you know, it's dirt. As luck would have it, the state came by and scraped up a strip of dirt in front of our yard in preparation for the widening of the road. Next thing you know, I'm driving the truck while Jerry shovels up dirt from the side of the road and throws it in the back. Jerry said he felt like he was part of a chain gang. Once we got the rocks down, we realized very quickly that they were none too comfortable to walk on. We decided that we needed some stepping stones to finish up this project. First we went to Lowes, but they only had prefab concrete blocks shaped to look like stone. I was cool with them, but Jerry was not a fan. We ended up finding a store that sold natural rocks 30 minutes away, so we purchased 5 rocks for $20. They were actually cheaper than the fake ones from Lowes, and yes, I'll admit they look much better.
The Swing that Jerry Built - You all know how I love to get my swing on. Jerry and I enjoy relaxing on this after a long, stressful day.
Here's the view from the swing. This red Geranium was waiting for us when we moved in with a very nice note attached to it from the former owner. So sweet!
The Spacious Front Porch:
Crocs and Coleus
We found this little guy buried in the dirt when we pulled up the bushes.
Copper Gutters - If we must have gutters, at least they're copper ones.
The Back Yard - I love to watch the sunset through the trees.
The Mission Fig Tree - We thought the Hurricane had blown this strange little tree over and that's why it was growing so crooked. When it started producing mysterious green balls, I decided to do some research on Google. I was pleasantly surprised to find out it's a fig tree. Figs, anyone?
The Old Building - It's fun to go exploring in this building. It's filled with old tools and items from years past. We even found a pot belly stove in it! I swear, we spot something different every time we go in it. I've got my eye on it for a future photo shoot.
Peace and Quiet
Lemon Thyme and My Old Friend Froggie
And, yes, I even love the old, busted up water spigot, because nothing says country like an old busted up water spigot.
Well, there you have it. The outside of our house. We still have a lot of work to do, but I'm happy with our progress so far.
More Before Pics:
More After Pics: