Rest assured, we do not typically keep a ladder leaning against the house. Keith was checking out the roof, trying to pinpoint where a leak might have originated. At any rate, the porch looks really drab. Granted, this photo was taken in March before anything started to green up but I can't say that had typically looked any better the rest of the year.
Back just before Easter, I took a drive out to Goodwill one weekend afternoon while Keith stayed home with Bert. I had decided I wanted a wicker rocker for the porch, and was casually hunting for one. Imagine my delight when I stumbled across a wicker chair and love seat for, get this, $15. That's $15 for the pair. I just wish I hadn't been shopping by myself so that I could have shared my giddy delight with someone else. I grabbed those tags and practically skipped up to the counter to pay for them. The girl asked if I would be taking them home that day or picking them up later and I told her I thought I could fit them in my car. A very nice (and patient) man working at Goodwill helped me finagle them in, and off I went. I really should have taken a picture of them crammed in my car.
The furniture was white, and I initially thought I wanted to paint it a bright, funky color to really liven things up out front. But after living with it for several weeks and finding some cushions we liked, Keith and I both decided that they should stay white. But they were a little chipped up and worn looking, so we decided to put a fresh coat of paint on them. Keith got to work hosing them off and scrubbing them down, just to get rid of any loose paint and dust.
After they dried in the sun for a few hours, we moved them to the garage, setting them on some old cardboard. When Bert went down for his nap, we each grabbed a can of spray paint and started painting.
Four cans of paint and two coats later, they looked fresh and new. Well, almost new. You can find a few places where the wicker is broken off but they don't look dingy anymore.
While Keith was scrubbing, Bert and I were working on some hanging baskets. We had found three metal hanging baskets at a yard sale for $5, then picked up the coconut fiber liners and some flowers at a local garden center.
We put some petunias and portulaca in the hanging baskets, and some marigolds, begonias, and some sort of "spike" in large pots for the top and bottom of the steps. Bert was a big help, as always. Now the trick will be for me to keep things watered because that's where I usually come up short on potted plants.
With the hanging baskets, pots, new furniture. and a fun outdoor rug made out of recycled plastic we found last fall, and the cushions we came across at Big Lots, things are looking brighter and more inviting.
We are spending a lot more time sitting out front in the evenings, when it is the shadiest, coolest place to relax, and Bert likes to play out there in the afternoons. The minnow bucket from the flea market a few months ago sits next to the love seat and holds a few toys that can stay outside.
I would still like to find a new welcome mat and a little table to have a place to set drinks and such, and I am considering painting the mailbox a bright color. We also have an old metal milk can to the right of the door (you can see it in the very first picture) that I might paint too, though Keith is grumbling about that because when it came to us from a relative he spent a long time sanding it down and painting it tan, per my request. Those things might still happen this summer, but in the long range, we would like to put in different posts and railings, something a little more architectural. We are also tossing around ideas about what to plant in the grassy patch to the left and front of the porch to add more color. Things may change down the road but at least now our porch is saying, "Hello! How are you today?" instead of, "Does anybody live here?"