Deck Restoration, Part 2

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When I got to the point of being ready and able to start getting projects done again, with the urging of my husband, I knew I needed to finish up some things I had started before I got pregnant. A few examples…
1. The set of stairs from our foyer into our living room. I changed the stairs over from carpet to hardwood, stained/painted them but still need to add finish trim.
2. The kitchen cabinets. I started painting them white and am only about halfway, which by the way, they have stayed for about 1 1/2 years. Ugh! I realized when I got pregnant that the paint/varnish stripper I was using was very toxic so I had to stop using it. I bought a non-toxic version but of course it just didn’t work as well and took SO much longer.
3. My dining room table, we have a beautiful farm table with no seating 😦
4. And finally, our backyard deck. Since it is the start of summer (which really doesn’t get in full swing until July 4th around here) I thought this would be the best place to start so we could enjoy it once the weather gets consistently warm. It’s been about halfway done for a year…or so I thought. I was telling myself that I started this project last summer and only stopped because the weather changed. Except…I was very very pregnant last summer and didn’t work on the deck at all. So, it’s actually been sitting halfway done for 2 years now! UGH!!! Real life.

Hubby asked over and over if I just wanted to hire someone to finish the deck. I, because I am way too independent and stubborn, continued to say no no no, I will finish it. Time to put my money where my mouth is.

So, for the last 2 weeks, I’ve been working on it here and there, when the weather permits and during naptimes. The progress is slow but I’m determined! And because I’m trying to do this without starting any other projects in the process, I wanted to give you a little update of what I’ve been working on.

One of the first projects I did was the restoration of our front porch deck, you can see that post here. I’m using the same products on the back deck which I will link to throughout this post. The back deck was a bit worse off that the front. On the front porch, I didn’t have to replace any boards, just clean and stain. Here is a little insight into what I’m working with in the back…

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At first glance, it doesn’t look so bad. But…

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 Lots of small areas of rotted wood, and as I began to remove boards, found quite a bit more underneath. Row by row, I removed the boards, starting furthest from the house. Some boards were still fully painted and in tact so I did reuse some of them, however, I would suggest NOT doing this. Even though I used the same board size as what was already in place, the new boards are slightly wider and thicker than the old boards. Not by a huge amount, but just enough to make it noticeable. So, going forward, I’m going to replace all boards.

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I’ve got about half of the boards replaced at this point, right now I’m trying to get all the railings painted before continuing to replace the remaining boards, including all the stairs. I’ve got a big task ahead of me and I’m trying to get it all done by 4th of July!! Oh boy!

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I’m using the same deck stain as the front porch, Behr Deck Over solid stain in padre brown for the floor boards and anchor posts and solid stain in white for the railings. I am adding these solar power post caps to the railings for some night lighting. Keep in mind, these do not give off a ton of light so these are more just for aesthetics than lighting your outdoor space at night.

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I ordered this outdoor furniture from Target.com and LOVE it!! It is a simple black iron frame complete with white cushions. I purchased the loveseat and 2 chairs from the Fernhill patio collection. The black and white pillows are also from Target but are indoor pillows which I coated with Scotchguard to waterproof them for the outdoors. We will see how they hold up 🙂 I couldn’t find these exact pillows online to link them but they do have a TON of new indoor styles to choose from plus a sale on most outdoor accessories.

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So here’s too a few weeks of hard work so we can enjoy this area for the couple of months that we have sun and warm weather 🙂

 

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DIY Herb Garden

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I’ve wanted to have a vegetable garden for quite some time now. Lack of time is what stopped me before. Now that I have some (little) time on my hands, I thought this might be a good time to give it a shot. I waited a bit it to long though to work out all the plans for a full vegetable garden (building beds, planning what to plant and when, etc.) plus, I’m terrible at keeping plants alive (they need water, I’m not so good at remembering to give it to them) so, I thought an herb garden would be a safe place to start. So far so good, granted, it’s only been about a week, but we’re off to a good start.

I have a feeling the fact that I’m getting something out of keeping these plants alive, i.e. herbs for my cooking, is going to help me stay on track because so far I’m super excited about this little gem on my back deck. I’ve already used some of the herbs a couple of times and there is something very satisfying about walking out the back door and snipping off a few sprigs or leaves of whatever I need. Not to mention, so much less waste! I can’t tell you how often I buy a full bunch of parsley or cilantro and only need a couple tablespoons. The rest always ends up going to waste. Now I can just take what I need.

When I started making plans for the herb garden, I was on Pinterest looking for different planter ideas. There are tons of great ideas, for both indoor and outdoor, however many of them required building the planters. Not that I’m against building something…obviously…but the thought of building a planter then having to plant all the plants somehow seemed like a bit too much, especially for something that may or may not be dead by the end of summer. I wanted to keep this as simple as possible in case the inevitable happens. So, I started looking for planters that held multiple pots and remembered I had seen this one a few weeks prior.

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This is the Socker Plant Stand from Ikea, it holds 13 4″ pots and stands just over 5′ tall. The stand can pivot to be positioned at an angle or opened up completely and be straight from end to end. It comes in white or grey (which to me looks more like black in person). Unfortunately, this piece is not available online (sorry guys!) but can be picked up in store if you have an Ikea nearby. I chose these galvanized pots to complete the simple look I was going for.

The first thing I learned about container gardening while doing my research, is that your containers need to have good drainage. The galvanized pots I chose did not have any drainage holes, of course. Now, you could get around this by putting rocks in the bottom of the pot but these are small pots and I knew it would be pretty easy to just drill some holes in bottom. I used a 5/8″ drill bit and drilled 4 holes in each pot. You want the holes to be big enough that bark or larger chunks in the potting soil aren’t going to plug up the holes but small enough that soil isn’t going to easily flow out when watered I made sure to pot one plant and water to see that it worked well before drilling holes into the other 12 pots.

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The herb plants that I picked up were from Home Depot and they really make it super easy to plant. They are grown by Bonnie Plants, in biodegradable “pots” that can literally just be dropped into your container. Simply cut off the plastic liner around the top of the pot…

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The second thing I learned when researching container gardens is that you want to use a Potting Mix and NOT a Potting Soil. The reason being that potting mix is lighter weight, has fertilizer mixed in, promotes better drainage and absorbs moisture in the best way. Fill the bottom of your container with about an inch of soil…

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Peel the bottom of the biodegradable pot off the plant to allow the roots out. Place the plant in your container and fill remaining space with soil.

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I used a mixture of different herbs, just based on what I use more when cooking. Here is my assortment:
3 Cilantro
2 Parsley
2 Mint
2 Thyme
1 Sage
1 Rosemary
1 Oregano
1 Basil
I cook a lot with Cilantro so I wanted a few of those. Looking at it now, I should have done an additional Parsley because I’ve already used those plants a lot, but I only had 13 spots. I’ll have to see what happens throughout the season and adjust for next year. But, if this goes well, maybe my herb garden will be MUCH bigger next year 🙂

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To finish off, I made little “signs” for each pot to label which herb it held. I used new popsicle sticks (which you can get at a craft store year round or most grocery stores during summer months), dipped about 3/4 in black chalkboard paint, laid them on wax paper to dry and then used a white paint marker to write the name of the herb.

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I’m seriously so excited about this little addition to my yard. I’m already saving money at the grocery store and wasting less! I’ll keep you all updated on whether or not I can develop some green thumbs 🙂

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DIY Yard Yahtzee Scoreboard

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These scoreboards were a bit of trial and error in terms of the paint markers I used as well as the spacing of all the boxes but I think I finally nailed it.

I started with plain 12×12 pine boards that I got from Michael’s. In store, they carry different sizes and boards with different thickness. I bought the 3/4″ thickness.

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I used a matte black chalkboard paint to paint all sides of the pine boards. To write on the content of the scoreboards, I found these great permanent chalk markers at Target. They worked so much better than the paint markers that I originally bought.

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Next I used the chalk markers and a straight edge ruler to create the scoreboard grid. The marker set comes with 1 bold tip marker (which I used for the grid) and 2 fine tip markers (which I used for the words).
From top to bottom, the boxes are 1/2″ tall, with the exception of the “Yahtzee Bonus” box, which is 1″.
Across the top, from the left to right, the boxes are 3 1/2″, 2 1/2″, and the rest are 1″.

Use regular chalk to write in scores and wipe away with a wet rag.
See DIY Yard Yahtzee for dice instructions and have fun!