Curb Appeal (Trying to Spruce Up My House)

Lately I’ve been trying to spruce up the exterior of our home.  I’m not sure what is instigating this – perhaps I’m just trying to think of ways to make our house sellable (despite us being a long way from selling it) or maybe it is knowing that we’re kind of stuck for a bit so I might as well make it something I like looking at?  Who knows.  According to Nate Berkus and Oprah Winfrey, “Your home should rise up to greet you.”  My home has never done that.

I’ve definitely neglected the exterior of my home over the years.  For example, we have a large plant pot in front of our house and we’ve gone through a few large plants.  We let the last plant not only die (so it was just a bunch of dead, prickly branches sticking out of the pot) but we also let it become overgrown with weeds.  I think that is what set me off.  After we chucked that plant and replaced it with a butterfly bush (that I completely forgot to snap a photo of) – I went a little nuts everywhere else.

Side note – the nursery where we purchased the plants recommended the butterfly bush because we said we needed something REALLY low maintenance that could handle full sun.  They also said it would attract butterflies.  Jeremy and I laughed at that because I don’t think I’ve EVER seen a butterfly in Baltimore.

Like I mentioned in my bitchy Father’s Day recap, we finally got around to planting some greenery in our back patio area.  This is an area we have let go to shit mostly because we just don’t spend a lot of time there.  I credit my chain smoking, drunk neighbors for that but I finally got tired of looking at our disgusting back patio area.

A few weeks ago, I plucked all of the weeds that had grown in the cracks of the cement.  I swept up 2 years worth of debris that had accumulated on and under our porch.  I threw away junk that didn’t belong.  I coralled all of the shovels, brooms, etc. into one area.

While our back area still is not perfect, it isn’t as awful as it was before.  We purposely sought plants that were low maintenance and that had a strong scent (did I mention my chain smoking neighbors?).  So here it is:

 
Lilacs
The picture doesn’t really do it justice (or maybe it does). But I like the uniform look of the 3 boxes filled with Lavender plants.

 
Citronella
We have another planter on our fence (not pictured) filled with citronella but we purposely placed this plant box here to discourage the cats from wandering into our yard (and essentially starting a gang war with our dogs).  It actually hasn’t worked (the cats just walk around teh boxes) but it sort of helps to prevent the dogs from jumping through the railing.  And now they smell of citronella.

 
Petie scoping for cats
Petie is searching for cats.

 
Basil!

This plant box used to be attached to the fence (up high).  We had purchased basil, mint, rosemary and cilantro 2 summers ago because I was determined to grow my own herbs and veggies.  The veggie thing was a big fail (we bought a tomato planter and managed to grow 1 terrible tomato).  While the rosemary and cilantro didn’t make it, the basic and mint are very resilient.  I was sure the basil died earlier in June but after some watering, it came back.  Hello, basil!

We had to rearrange our plant boxes because after planting a few items, we realized that the weight of the filled boxes could pull down our fence.  Plus it didn’t make much sense to have the boxes at the top of the fence (since the lavender plants reach so high).  I couldn’t find a picture of our back patio under normal conditions so here is a snapshot from the snowpocalypse of 2010 (the snow from our roof finally came down and took out one of the plant boxes).  But you can see how we distributed the boxes around the fence.  And don’t make fun of our classy dachshund sign.

What I’d love to tackle next is refinishing the metal railing on my back porch.  2 years ago, we thought we’d just replace it but realized that it would be a much bigger pain in the ass than we thought.  But the railing is rusted over and paint is chipping.  I’d like to sand it down and repaint it so it looked decent.  Any tips on doing that?  I found this article but oy, that sounds like a lot of work.

But despite sprucing up our exterior, we still can’t camouflage what is in our neighbor’s back patio:

Sorry for the grainy photo – this was taken with my phone (while holding a squirming baby).  But that big yellow arrow?  It is pointing to a TOILET that is on my neighbor’s porch.  A TOILET.  Stay classy, Baltimore.

4 Comments

Filed under Charm City Kim Rambles

4 responses to “Curb Appeal (Trying to Spruce Up My House)

  1. Meredith

    Hey lay off the drunk, chain smoking neighbors with the toilet on the porch. Those guys think I’m Korean and beautiful so they are okay in my book! :-P

  2. Nice job, Kim! I need to spruce up our patio, as well as clean out our garage a bit. You may have just inspired me!

  3. That picture with the snow makes me want to cry. Nice work with the sprucing!

  4. I love the idea of the boxes on the fence. I’ve never seen that before, but it’s kind-of whimsical. Also, try growing Italian flat leaf parsley. It tastes and smells wonderful when cooking with it, and despite my best efforts, I haven’t managed to kill it yet!

    Also, good for you for being the bigger person and not letting your neighbor’s shittiness bring you down!

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