A Little Outdoor Sprucing

We have started to have a few days of nicer weather here in Texas and judging by my allergies… SPRING has sprung.  And since it was so beautiful out last Saturday I jumped on the chance to do some spring flower planting.  Our new house has two stone planters around the base of our trees out front, and they were just begging for some spring color! The trees are really starting to green up and I wanted some color on the ground to balance it out!


It is amazing to me what a few small flowers can do for a yard! Under the trees they get quite a bit of shade, so I planted 2 different varieties of impatiens.  I’ve had good luck with those in the Texas heat as long as they don’t get too much sun!


In our last house we had a great patio which we saw each morning out our kitchen sliding glass door, so I regularly planted pots and pots of flowers to add some color to the side patio (some that survived and some that didn’t, and even gave my metal flower towers a coat of happy teal paint.  We have good landscaping around the pool in our backyard, so a ton of pots weren’t strictly necessary, but I just love how cheerful they make things, so I planted a few.  The two top baskets are dianthus, one I just planted with new flowers, but the other one survived from last summer (even through the move) so I’ve just watered and fertilized it and it is starting to bloom again.


On the second shelf from left to right are Kalanchoe, Petunias, Petunias, and a Rieger Begonia.  I know the petunias will thrive in pots in the Texas heat, and I had moderately good luck with the Kalanchoe the last time I grew one… it is a desert flower, so hopefully it will survive.  The rieger begonia I just couldn’t resist, but after getting home and doing some research it looks like maybe it won’t survive in its flowering state for very long, so that may have been a waste, but they were SO PRETTY!! The bottom shelves have two more rieger begonias and another pot of white pansies.

Then the big pot on the left has hibiscus, the pot in the center has Salvia and some other green ivy that has survived the last year in that pot, and the sad plant on the far right I got after my grandfather’s funeral almost 5 years ago.  Between my dog deciding to eat its soil a few times, me forgetting to water it when it lived indoors for a while, it is on its last limb.  But I can’t bring myself to throw it out until it is REALLY dead.

The other outdoor sprucing I did was to purchase a power washer.  (I bought this guy from Amazon because it got good reviews) Our patio looks a lot worse for the wear after the winter and all the dead patio things we had laying out after our move but before we have cleaned up.  For a couple of years I have been borrowing a friends pressure washer, but decided after about 10 times of borrowing one, it was time to buy my own.  Especially since this house has some places that could really use it!


Here’s the worst area: I’m not quite sure what the big black and green stain in the center is from, but the line down the middle and the round circle at the bottom are where a piece of our hammock and umbrella stand sat all winter.  Needless to say this area tracked a LOT of dirt into our house, and looked a little too redneck for my tastes.


But after about 45 minutes of pressure washing?


That is much better!!! Pressure washing is one of the most rewarding cleaning projects because you get to shoot a water gun and can literally watch the dirt disappear! See where I’ve pressure washed and where I haven’t??


One more last look at the final results after they have dried out a bit:


Have you guys been out enjoying the nicer weather? Do you have any favorite flowers to plant in pots in the Texas heat?

Backfill Baby

Don’t worry, for those of you sick of the pregnancy posts… this one actually has NOTHING to do with babies.  This is one of those super un-glamorous projects that was totally necessary at our house.

The previous owners had the driveway widened by adding an extra concrete pad on the north side of our driveway.  It’s a great addition size-wise because it allows some space between the cars and would allow you to park in the middle of the garage and still park a second car in the driveway.  BUT they didn’t finish out the project by backfilling and resodding the few feet of dirt between our house and our neighbors; which left a pretty sizeable drop-off ledge from the driveway.


Since we live at the end of a dead end street and are good friends with our neighbors, we actually spend a fair amount of time in our front yard and have a few kids running around, we didn’t want them (or let’s be honest, big ole pregnant me) tripping over this dropoff and hurting themselves.  And it was definitely a catch all for leaves and water runoff, so not exactly good for the aesthetics either.

We decided this weekend would be the perfect time to remedy this, so I did some research on where to buy soil and calculated how much dirt we would need to fill this little trench up.  There is a place in North Plano called Texas Pure, and it is the City of Plano’s soil/mulch recycling place.  But they will sell you various soil products for much cheaper than buying them buy the bag at a big home goods store.  So Saturday, Reese and a neighbor went to go pick up a cubic yard and a half of soil, and some sod to lay on top of it.  Apparently I way overestimated the soil we needed because we had quite a bit leftover!


And just a few short hours later, our little patch of sadness looked a whole lot better! We just dumped the dirt in, compacted it as best we could and then laid the sod down at the top.  And then watered it really well.  We did try to maintain the existing slope towards the street so that the water won’t pool anywhere, but we’ll have to monitor that as it rains more to ensure there isn’t any place getting too soggy!


We were fortunate to get it laid on a beautiful day right before it rained for two days, so the sod is getting plenty of free moisture! We need to pick up another one or two squares just to finish it off, but we were pleased to be able to check this guy off our list!



Followup: I since grabbed a couple more squares of sod to cover the rest of the dirt, so we are all ready for the rain coming in the next few days!

Backyard Furniture

PS I know it is April Fool’s Day, and many bloggers like to post a joke or something, but I have a major aversion to this day.  Probably in direct response to how much my mom loves this day.  I seriously have calendar reminders on my phone that alert me all day so that I can’t fall for her practical jokes.  It works most of the time.  Some day I’ll share some of the better ones with you all, but for today: our patio furniture.

Our new casa has a fabulous backyard that I know we are going to enjoy the heck out of this summer, but our outdoor furniture was looking a little sad:


Now don’t get me wrong, those $20.00 red rocking chairs from Dillons (For you Dallas-ites… that is the same store as Kroger) served us well for 2+ years, but if we were going to spend some major time outdoors and poolside, we needed some real grown up patio furniture.

Which is exactly what my mom and dad gave the husband and I for Christmas (and maybe a little birthday…outdoor furniture is not cheap!).  So we went to a place over in Richardson that mom had bought her favorite outdoor glider back when they lived in Texas.  I’d already scoped out Lowe’s and Home Depot, so I kind of knew what the competition was.  If you live in Dallas and are looking for good outdoor furniture, it is Sunnyland Outdoor Furniture and they were fantastic! I highly recommend them.  All of their furniture has the Sunbrella fabric that won’t mildew or fade over time.  And most of their furniture has a 15 year warranty.


After looking at lots of options, I liked the look of the black and gray chairs (who is shocked I picked gray?!?!) not to mention these are hands down the most comfortable chairs and couch.  Seriously, I could easily take a nap in any one of them.  Plus the loveseat has a curve to it which meant it fit perfectly onto our patio, giving the maximum space out front.

This set had a coffee table with it, but I didn’t love it and all the pieces sold individually, so we didn’t get it! We picked up the accent pillows and umbrella from Lowe’s.  I decided against spending the extra money for the higher quality accent pieces because I want to be able to change my mind on the colors when I want to change things up.  I figured the black and gray will stay nice and I can just change out pillows when I get tired of this look!


The gray has a subtle pattern to it that you can kind of see in the picture above.  I plan on spending the entire 9th month of my pregnancy parked right there… only getting up when I want to float in the pool.  Oh and to do my day job… that pesky day job.