Outdoor Work Continues

I spent some time last week after finishing the bench working on the front yard flower beds which I’m pretty sure I had not even touched since the New York Times showed up on my front porch.

Did I forget to mention that? Well, yeah last summer a NYT photographer out of the SF office drove all the way to my little town for a photo shoot. Of me. In my garden.

For those of you who know how black my thumb is, stop laughing. Really now.

The good news is that when it happened I found out on a Friday and scheduled the shoot for Monday. Knowing I wanted to be outside (since my office was poorly lit and a little dirty…) I started work immediately and spent $100 at Home Depot in the garden department.


The whole saga of going from blank slate to beautiful garden was covered in this post last August.

And on Labor Day weekend, the front page of the business section of the Sunday NYT featured the article Work Life Balance in which I am quoted and photographed. With Wilson. Sitting outside with my laptop.


Since then the patio has pretty much received zero attention. I didn’t have the bench done so it was hidden away behind the gate until I finished it last week. Once the bench was done it was time to address the rest of the crap so I could start using the space again with the good weather.

First up, the flower beds. I got down and dirty with my clippers, cutting back anything that was dead or dying, trimming the roses back further and pulling out leaves, sticks, and all manner of crap.

Despite so much crap in the flower beds it barely made a dent in filling up the toter.

The tulip, iris and daffodil bulbs were beginning to crop up so I made it a point to go out every day and water.

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One other minor change was the gap around the patio between the end of the cement slab and the fence which was notorious for picking up leaves, dirt and junk. I grabbed the small rocks I’ve been picking up from the side yard and filled in the gap:


Many of the potted plants were also dying so I did the usual: threw away the dead stems and leaves, added the soil to one of the flower beds and recycled the plastic pots.

The $5 Salvation Army bench has definitely seen better days – now that I’ve done the process on the swinging bench I am thinking of sanding this down, staining it a darker color and then doing the poly seal to protect it from the rain.

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Same with this little white table which I picked up from Wal-Mart after season on clearance for $9 – it’s constantly getting dirty so I think a scrubbing, fresh coat of white spray paint and spray protector and it might survive the summer and fall again.

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It’s almost time to bring all the succulents back outside for the spring so I’ll need these tables ready for use.

At least those are projects that I can do on my own with a little bit of motivation and caffeine. Some other outdoor projects need more muscle.

The next time Dad is in town during a good weather weekend I think we’ll trim back the sugar maple around the kitchen window, it drops so many leaves into these gutters in the fall!2013_02_16 (02)

And if I had 3 days, the budget and a ton of caffeine fueled energy here’s what else I would tackle:

  • replacing the wood around each of the window and door frames
  • flushing the gutters and installing leaf guards
  • install 2 rain barrels in the front yard from gutter downspouts and funnel the third into the flower bed
  • take down the lattice work over the front door, clean those gutters and re-secure the lattice

See this wood around the kitchen’s garden window? Yeah, the rain from the roof hits this corner and has rotted out the wood. It’ll need to be removed and replaced to protect the siding and framing.

2013_02_16 (06)Always a project (or twelve) around here!


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