Monday, April 23, 2012

Dressing up the patio

Hey there! How was your weekend? We had lots of baseball activities and I did get my DIY project half done. Now onto painting…my favorite part.

Yay. Whoo. Hold me back.

You wouldn’t know it from the past few days, but the weather around here has been just unbelievably beautiful. I held off of buying most of our outdoor flowers though, because…well. They are just SO DANG EXPENSIVE.

Seriously, every year I’m totally taken aback at how much it all costs. For. real. You think I’d be used to it by now, but no.

Now that we have our patio, we have a few more places to add flowers (I took a couple of my regular spots away on the deck). So last week I finally started gathering some flowers for the back:

On a quick side note – I am thoroughly enjoying having a potting bench!! It has been a joy and it’s SO nice to have a dedicated space to spread everything out.

If you remember, my Dad and I built it last year, and I asked your advice on if I should paint or stain it. I ultimately decided to do neither, and let it patina naturally:

Now it’s a beautiful grey color and I really love it. (That black bucket is supposed to be for fire ashes, but I use it for my potting soil. Tricky.)

So anyway, we have two big urns on each side of the outdoor fireplace that I got at Garden Ridge last year. They were $20 each and I got them buy one get one half off. They are plastic but have held up really well, and (I think) they look like stone from far away.

Anyway, I wanted something dramatic to flank the fireplace. It’s an awesome spot and I just couldn’t find anything BIG enough that I liked. I tried flowers, they were too wimpy. I was going to try a variety of plants and flowers, but couldn’t find a combo I liked that worked with the sun back there. Then the idea hit me…I would do something evergreen.

This solved a couple problems – one being the cost factor. It would be an investment up front, but from what I read online, they can live two to three years (or more?) in planters, and then you can just plant them elsewhere. AND they stay alive all year round.

I kept mums in these planters since last fall, but they were brown and crispy. ;) These will stay green. I hope.

And they definitely gave me the drama I was looking for. At first I was looking into regular boxwood plants, but I wanted the option to add seasonal flowers around the base.

Then I saw the PERFECT one – similar to this:

image

How FUN! Ack. I loved them.

I planted them and then added wave petunias around the base:

The wave version rock my world – pretty soon these will spill down the sides of the planter and be all lovely.

Drama at the top, drama at the bottom. Me likey. Not to be confused with business up front, party in the back. Something entirely different.

I love how they look on each side of the fireplace!:

OK, when I went to take photos I realized these may be a bit anticlimactic. ;) With the green behind you can’t really see them well, but I promise you they are way cool in person.

My goal is to go for an “English garden” type of feel in the backyard, around the patio. These are one step in the right direction!:

My PeeGee Hydrangea trees are directly behind them on both sides, so hopefully when they start blooming (crossing fingers), the spirals will show up even more.

I like that you can see them from both the front and the back:

On another side note, our landscaper friend (who did all the work out here last summer) didn’t think the tree rose I got on major clearance would come back, but look at her now! I don’t remember what variety it is, but I hope it gets just a bit taller. I cannot WAIT to see blooms!

I will show you more of the landscaping we already have and more of the plans for around the patio soon. I’m so very excited about the possibilities for this space.

So far we just have flowers on the table and the petunias in the planters. I would love to add more to the patio, but I’m trying to keep the cost factor under control:

stone patio and outdoor fireplace

A few planter boxes along the wall here and there would be nice, wouldn’t they? My wallet doesn’t think so. ;)

Are you planting flowers yet this year? When do you usually start? Wave petunias are my favorite go-to annual – what is yours? I hope to get our front window boxes planted this week, and that will be it for now. I hate the cost up front, but if I can keep them alive, their color and beauty make them SO worth it!

53 comments:

  1. Your fireplace and patio are gorgeous and the flowers just add to the beauty! You are a lucky gal to get to relax on that patio! Wow!

    Missi

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  2. Pretty awesome outside fireplace area you have! I bet you'll be doing lots of entertaining this summer! I haven't bought any flowers yet, mostly because of this crazy weather, and the fact that we're supposed to get frost tonight. I did manage to drag out the ones I housed in the garage for winter, and a few of them lived (mostly b/c I stink at watering them!) They do seem to get more and more expensive each year. I have found that the grocery stores seem to run better deals than the big box stores. Changing subjects, just wondering whatever happened to 'Stink Eye Sister?'

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  3. I just planted some pots and window planters out front in hopes that they will be flowering in a couple weeks when we have a big family get together planned. Here's to hoping for some beautiful flowers!

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  4. I'm so jealous! I've wanted a backyard fireplace for 6 yrs....I can imagine myself sitting near it at night after the kids have gone to bed with a couple glasses of summer beer!

    Love your deck too. Enjoy all the hard work you've put into it.

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  5. Those look awesome! I think they're fun and while they blended in, I'm sure they rock in person!

    We haven't really done much gardening. Honestly, we don't have many supplies! I had to cut the grass on the side of the house with scissors! I did, however, get my seeds planted for herbs and lettuces. I need more seed starting soil for my other veggies. Hoping for a somewhat decent container garden. :)

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  6. ♥ the spiral evergreens! They take a lil work but are worth it.

    You have to take the plunge and start some things from seeds-way more bang for your buck, especially with annuals. Start with sweetpeas and cosmos and dwarf sunflowers.

    They will grow easily, I promise.

    We garden a lot. It's in our genes. I do buy some things every year for our pots out front and I add to the backyard plantings too, but morning glories, moon-flower, sweet peas, nasturtium and cosmos get started in the ground. More delicate stuff goes in our cold frame.

    Try some seeds-its easy and fun :) And you have a potting bench! My goal this summer is to build one as well.

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  7. Tell us more about the fireplace and how you use it in summer. S'mores in the evenings, pizza oven?

    ~Bliss~

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  8. So beautiful! I love your new spaces. Have you considered planting perennials (come up ever year) in pots. Depending on what you use, you might have to bring them in to winter over. A couple pots of lavender plants, begonias, mini roses. Would cut down on costs of annuals. I could go broke just on wave petunias if it weren't for perennials! Lime colored sweet potato vine (annual) is wonderful, too, with the petunias & such to make the colors really pop.

    Ciao!
    Guerrina in CT

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  9. The outdoor fireplace goes really well with the furniture. The plants all look gorgeous, too. (P.S. I compiled a lot of videos about patios and decks and I would really appreciate it if you checked them out right here http://remodelingbible.com/howto/deck-and-patio)

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  10. I think the whole area is stunning! I looove doing outdoor flowers, but you are right...they are so expensive. More often than not, they're just not in our budget, unless I splurge. I love wave petunias too! The new urn arrangements look fabulous.

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  11. Do you have a source for patio cushion replacements? My cushions are very thick and cushy like yours and all I can find are the thin, wimpy ones. It seems like it would be cheaper to buy a whole new patio set! lol,ps...I don't know how to sew but are new coverings an option?

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  12. For the flower boxes, get some of the six pack or four pack annuals and put several in there. You can put 6-8 plants in a large box and they fill in fast. I have found the Walmart around here has some of the best looking plants and the best prices. The garden person there said they get shipments almost everyday, which is the reason for it. I love your patio!!!

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  13. What a beautiful space!!! I have made myself wait to start planting, but it is hard because our weather has been so great! Growing up in Minnesota, my dad never started planing outside until Memorial Day!

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  14. Love how it's coming together so far. Totally agree though, it's all so expensive and to do it each year, it's a little heartbreaking. Ah, well, the price of beauty! Thanks for sharing, liz

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  15. That looks beautiful! I've seen some cute planter boxes on pinterest made out of pallet wood- you could try some of those, might be a cheaper option. And then fill them with perennials- that would mean longer until they look pretty but save you money in the long run. I've started switching to perennials for most things except for 3 small planters on my deck- they get annuals!

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  16. I agree. I have always wanted low-maintenace landscaping but am now appreciating what you can do with some blubs, flowering bushes & trees by bringing the color indoors. I tried to bring begonias and gardenias inside the garage last year but I cut them back a second time and they didn't make it. I am going to try again this year b/c I know people do have success. My neighbor does the "from seed" thing b/c she has window boxes also and fills them up with impaitents. I also like to plant pansies in the fall b/c at least they come back in the spring and you get two seasons out of them. I think its looking great!

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  17. what a beautiful blog. your patio is very lovely as well.

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  18. Love the outdoor fireplace & patio. It's beautiful. Way jealous about the potting bench.

    I agree with several others here - perennials are the way to go. We have them all over our yard. I used to do lots of annuals in pots, too, but I agree - way expensive. Now I only have four hanging baskets on my front porch and let the perennials do the rest. My hubby dug up some bad looking bushes last fall & I'm sooo excited b/c now I get to plant more perennials!

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  19. Your patio is just beautiful. As far as the cost of flowers goes, if you do things right, get some flowers that will come back every year along with some flowering bushes maybe. Add as many as you can each year and eventually you will only have to buy some fun annuals to fill in. Do you have an herb garden? They can be pretty and of coursie useufull too. Good luck and looking forward to seeing what you do.

    Robin
    Robin Flies South

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  20. So pretty!!! I've already planted all the stuff in my pots. The weather has been fabulous. I planted some Wave Petunias in a big pot. They were deep purple & gorgeous & now for whatever reason they seem to be dead. I have no idea what happened. Everything else is thriving. I love geraniums & they come back year after year! I put impatiens in pots on my patio. I love those too!

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  21. Beautiful! Love the fireplace too. I think you're right about getting a few years out of the evergreen trees. When I bought my house 5 years ago they had dressed up the front entrance with two of these spiral cut trees. They looked really nice for a while but since last year had looked half dead, they were leaning and had lost their "twirl". I had my husband cut them down over the weekend. I'm thinking urns filled with a variety of plants - but maybe next year, I've about spent my budget on bedding plants for this season.

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  22. Yes, I plant every year....add new ones, move around older ones that are too big for the spot. I always start on April 17th (my birthday and safe date for post-frost). I repurposed my son's little wheelbarrow into a planter this year....I really love it!
    Laura

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  23. Love your ideas. Try using vinca vine, it is a super trailing vine that really looks good in pots, also try english ivy another good vine that hangs over pots and creates a dramatic effect.

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  24. We live in Colorado so we are not supposed to plant until after mothers day. I couldn't wait though! We planted our window boxes this weekend and I am just praying that we don't get another snow/frost.

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  25. We always have fun shopping for a planting new flowers in the spring. With such a mild winter this year, our pansies are still blooming beautifully, so we are waiting for it to be a little bit warmer before we plant anything new.

    To help with the cost of new plants, we usually shop for flowers at Walmart. They don't take as good care of their plants as a nursery or somewhere like Lowes does, so they usually always have a big clearance section with flowers that look like they are about to kick the bucket. But really, all they need is a little extra water and maybe fertilizer to bring them back to life. Its not as big of a change right away, but with a little TLC they will be blooming in no time, and for half price or sometimes more, I can wait for the blooms!

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  26. Your patio is beautiful! Love the sitting area in front of the fireplace!

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  27. Butlers on the westside of Indy is my favorite place to go shopping for flowers and plants - great prices! No website, but they do have a Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Butlers-Flowers-Plants/115983831794596

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  28. I live on Long Island and I like to plant impatiens because they spread like crazy so I feel like I get a lot for my money.

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  29. I think it looks fantastic :) I wish I could plant already -- we have to wait a little while here still. And I feel you on the prices... I get sticker shock each spring too ;) It's like childbirth or something -- all the gorgeousness and enjoyment makes you forget the initial pain of purchasing!

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  30. I love the wave petunia's too! I can't really keep anything else alive, so those work so well out in our large pots by the front door. They don't attract bees much and they spill over the pots so beautifully.

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  31. I love your new shrubs - they rock! I plan on adding a few wave petunias here and here this year - I always seem to get enough dough together right after they completely sell out! We're busy affording wedding costs and renovating the mother-in-law apartment costs, so plants are pretty low on the priority list this year. *sigh*

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  32. Well, from the front your firepit looks beautiful, but from the back...well...beautiful, and MASSIVE! Wow, go big or stay home, girl!

    And, I feel the same way you do about my flowers. I love my flowers, but I gulp each and every summer over the price. As soon as my husband is able to, however, he's going to help me out with that tremendously. He is going to build me my very own greenhouse,from used windows we removed from a duplex we owned for a year (before moving out of province) so that I can grow my flowers from seed and save a ton of money, whoo! hoo!

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  33. Beth in LouisianaApril 24, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    You are so lucky to have weather like that. We're in the Deep South now, Zone 9 or something, so most of the flowers I remember loving when I was a kid don't weather the heat down here. I feel sort of limited, but I'm starting to try seeds in our porch pots this year because they're way cheaper. And I planted my tomato and pepper sets (I'm a beginner, I'm picking easy plants) back in February, so we're starting to harvest a tiny bit--at least that is working!

    P.S. Don't be jealous of the early planting--I have to get a "crop" in before the hot summer months or I won't get anything. I haven't managed to get stuff to grow during the summer yet, only early spring and late fall a bit. I so miss normal weather!

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  34. Looks really beautiful! Does your husband's school have a greenhouse? That is where I get all my annuals & even some perennials. The sell them at basically cost and they are just as good as the plants from any nursery...plus it supports students!

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  35. What a beautiful patio, looks sooo relaxing and inviting. I live in San Antonio and have planted some plants in the last month. I agree they are so expensive, especially for something that may die if we have another drout. The only place i have bought flowers so far is at Lowes, and it's only been from the reduced 50% of section. There are some great buys, sometimes it's hit and miss but this time of year it's pretty good. I went in for impatiens knowing they probably wouldn't be in the clearance section, BUT sure enough they were! So if you have a Lowes near you check it out, and happy planting! Rachel Beal raekb56@hotmail.com

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  36. Fresno, CA weighing in. Your patio is lovely! I am a long-time patio gardener and have a couple of thoughts to share. One, If you cover your potting bench with a flea market tablecloth, then cover with heavy plastic that goes to the ground (w/a split in center for access), you will have a multi-use unit: bar/potting space PLUS a place to over-winter your plants (if it doesn't snow there), and a greenhouse to use early season for starts. On sunny days, you fold back the sides with a clip for ventilation. Second: To save money, I buy small or medium "mother" plants and cut off starts, dip them in hormone powder and stick them, 4-5 in a pot. When they get 5-6inches tall, I transplant them to a showier pot. Thirdly: I like to buy 12 pots at once, 81/2 inch size for a dollar ea. at Dollar Stores, paint them with acrylic paints, seal with Krylon, inside and out. They look so pretty lined up with plants. I turn some upside down for bases to the others to get heighth. Even plastic urns can be painted. I use spray paint for plastic containers. Saves a heap of money. Be sure you put some heavy rocks or a brick in bottom before planting so wind doesn't blow them over. Fourth: I often put children's whirlagigs in pots for movement and to discourage squirrels from foraging for my bulbs. Save all seed heads, dry them out and plant next year. eg: marigolds and other plants that need reg. dead-heading. Hope this stretches your decorating dollars.

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  37. Everything is just beautiful, Sarah! Looks like the flowers you chose will look gorgeous, and I love that potting bench!

    xo-Lisa

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  38. Great job on the patio. The transformation is definitely lovely. You've got a very laid-back place right there!

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  39. You are so lucky! It is all so beautiful!

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  40. Hi. I heard you are going to host a patio party this summer and invite all your favorite blog readers to come roast Marshmallows in the fireplace, walk barefoot through your super sweet newly finished basement, and then oooh and aaaah over your ENTIRE FREAKIN LIFE/HOUSE... that's awesome. I will come all the way from VA after I explain, again, to my husband who u are, which blog is yours, what a blog is, and why he should just nod and agree with the trip.

    That's going to be awesome! Can't wait!

    (wink)- Angie @ Seriously a Homemaker

    P.s. I am re-branding my blog and changing the name to "Angie in the Thick if It" next week. Will we still be friends? Say yes.

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  41. I'm loving your patio and I'm super jealous of your fireplace! :) I can only imagine how great that is all year around. I find that most ALL of the plants I purchase on clearance end up being more beautiful than full price. I bought a deep purple hanging petunia planter a while back and was told that it probably wouldn't live long. It was clearanced to $3. It was looking a little puny, but I brought it home and now it's HUGE! Way bigger than my full priced plants. :)

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  42. Sarah, your outdoor space is beautiful! I love the new plants...they look wonderful on either side of the fireplace. You are so going to enjoy this area this summer. Time for a cookout soon! :)

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  43. Love it! We just finished our first flower bed in our new home tonight. What a difference landscaping makes, huh?

    http://www.mainemommy.com/2012/04/spring-has-sprung.html

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  44. It looks gorgeous! You're so lucky to have outdoor space. And you've done it up beautifully!

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  45. Your patio is beautiful! The landscaping too! I love to plant my pots and my husband is in charge of the big stuff, like the trees and bushes. It's true that it gets so expensive! I try to plant perennials as much as possible!

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  46. I have been looking for the Nurseryworks Sleepytime rocker, but its not listed on modern tots for $540, did Sara get the sample at the store for $540 or the website had it listed for 40%? Please help
    Nursery Bedding,Crib Bedding, Baby Bedding

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  47. Wow, your back patio is EXACTLY what I have in mind for our future back patio. I love orange outdoor furniture too. I'm hoping my husband can build our fireplace (out of more humble material, probably) and have the grill on the opposite side of it. We have some citrus trees in cobalt pots that will flank this area. Beautiful :)

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  48. Lantana is super easy. loves full sun and comes in yellow, white and some multi colors! it's also a really cheap plant like petunias to buy. and it's a trailing plant so it will just grow all down like petunia waves.

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  49. love the fireplace! I wish i had a place like this to hang out in our yard. Funny you posted about the ash bucket because i use ours for salt for the ice. It sits outside with the salt in it and a little shovel. It looks much better than a bag sitting there. Even the mailman thought it was a neat idea.

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