Freshening the Outdoors: The Porches


We've been hearing rumors of change for months now at John's job and some are easier changes than others. It's very easy to get the mindset just now that 'Best spend the money while we've got it," but that is a silly thought, truly.  I am not saying it's best to save it all, either.   I do believe in an old adage Granny used often, "Best start as you mean to go on."    I'm not in the least sorry we've spent money on flooring.  Should opportunity present itself, we'll do more work on the house, though I don't know if we'll actually do what I'd mentioned for April.  Likely that will get done a little further down the road.  It's finding the balance between spending and saving, between making the best of what we have and knowing when it's time to purchase.  It's all about understanding what is priority (for us) and what isn't. 

Like my new cushions for the porch furnishings.  No, it's not necessary, it's nice.  It's a pleasant extra.  If I were going to spend $60-$75 just now I'd much rather put that towards purchasing paper products or stocking up on the vitamins and supplements the doctor has ordered us to take, or plants for the pots on the porch and yard, or even pushing it to a sub-fund for the St. Augustine vacation we've booked.



However, I wanted new cushions.  It makes seating more comfortable.  It prevents burns in the summer and freezing cold penetrating the bones in winter, since our chairs are metal.  It adds a bit of color.  It adds a little personality.  So it was a happy inspiration to realize I had brand new indoor/outdoor fabric in the guise of two tablecloths I'd purchased inexpensively at Aldi last summer.  I happened to have enough to sew eight cushions, which is a definite possibility now that I've had such success making the first four.



I last painted the café set two summers ago now.  I didn't do a very thorough job on it but it held up well enough.  John mentioned three or four times how much he liked the red set a neighbor has in her yard.  It is striking, I admit that.  I thought I might as well use the paint I had on hand to paint our own set.


When I was looking at the odd assortment of pots on the back porch, wishing I had new ones, and knowing it wasn't one of our priority items at the moment, I resigned myself to trying to merely clean up the old pots and replacing only those very broken ones that aren't serving their purpose.  No shame in using what you have.  If I find I have leftover paint once bigger projects are done, I might go so far once again to paint pots but we'll see.

I fashioned a new wreath from the old one that had sunflowers on it. It would have gone okay with the new look on the back porch if I'd merely changed the center of the sunflowers but  I wanted something fresh and new this year.  A green linen ribbon and Gerbera Daisies fit the bill perfectly.  My total for refurbishing the wreath came to just over $6. 


I didn't have quite enough ribbon to go around the wreath.  I purchased two spools of ribbon and I really needed three.  I had to improvise somehow,  so I cut a similar green gingham check fabric into strips and used that. Honestly, my stubborn insistence on finishing up a project at times leads to some of the most creative thinking! 

I put a new fern in the old wash pot.  I really enjoyed having a fern there last year and it was a statement piece on the porch due to it's size.  The thing is heavy, as you'd expect it to be since it's cast iron, and I'm not overly anxious to move it elsewhere. 



Since it doesn't have drainage holes I was very careful not to let water run off into it last year but the flat metal pan I'd used under the fern didn't hold enough water to give the fern the humidity it normally likes.  I found an old baking pan that I'd removed from my kitchen last fall that just fit inside the wash pot and put that under the fern.  There's a short little stool under the pan that lifts the fern up nicely and the pan sits on the stool.  This will allow me to water and leave a bit of water under the fern. 

The green rocker remains.  I do love this rocker now that the paint is just ever so slightly faded.  This photo is an older one but the has the same softer look the rocker now has in reality.  I've left the little metal table next to the rocker orange for the time being.  It will definitely need a fresh coat of paint next year but it will be just fine for our use this year.



I don't have any new flowers on the porch just yet, except a single impatien that didn't fit in the pots for the flowerbeds about the porch. 

The three chairs remain in front of the porch.  I put a geranium in the middle chair.  I don't mean for it to stay there.  Geraniums do not much like our intense sun and heat.  They  do well enough on a porch, which is where this one will eventually go, but for now it fills an empty space.  I put together the cheap little windmill I bought.   It's likely going to blow down in the first real wind we have here but it's a bit of added interest just now in the bed.  If it lasts this season I'll be happy enough.  I expect I'll end using parts of it in other ways if it doesn't care for the wind, despite it's being a windmill.


The little bed next to the back steps is looking rather pretty.  It's a mix of herbs and flowers just now. I'd thought about doing vegetables but haven't seeds nor plants at this time.  I bought what I could cheaply and made the best of it and it turned out rather pleasing.  I moved some pieces that were here last year down to the rose bed which needed something.  I'd like some height in this bed but so far haven't found a thing that will work to give me that.  I'll find something that will work as I continue to shop.


I've taken forever to get this post together because blogger is being peculiar about loading up pictures of late, sigh.  However, I've managed to finally get this post together after a week of trying and you can see I've been busy enough of late. The flowers have grown a lot in just the past week.  It does seem you need fresh pictures every single day at this time of year.  I've the front porch to share with you, at least a portion of it.

I did a similar wreath for the front door.  I didn't buy ribbon this time, but instead cut the green gingham check into strips and wrapped those about my wreath form.  The Gerbera daisy clips were part of the ones I bought at Dollar Tree (2 to a card for $1).  I really am liking the simplicity of this wreath.

I used the same cushions on my red porch chairs.  I didn't paint them fresh this year but did last spring and felt that would suffice for another year.  I think the next thing will be to take them to the auto shop and have them professionally sanded and painted because there are so many layers of paint on them just now.  They look well enough for this year. 

After I moved the window frame indoors to use above my mantel I wanted something extra for the front porch.  We were wandering about the antiques mall when I saw something that just tickled me.  They'd painted it red and just propped it on the wall.  I took one look at it and the price they were asking and realized I had the very same thing at home.  And in my head I could see just how I'd use it.  Well my first attempt was off.  It just didn't turn out pleasing at all, so I ended up going back out last Friday, removing everything and starting fresh.  I knew my theme before I started the first time but tried to use other things.  The second attempt worked because I went with my instinct and used the theme I'd known was right all along.  It just took a little figuring in my mind to pull it off. 

Now please ignore my pitiful plants.  The cat has knocked off the succulents twice.  The ivy is in a state of shock from transplanting.  And the maidenhair fern and I are just about to part ways if it doesn't perk up now it's outdoors.  I mean to buy pretty plants for this space and the orchids will be going out here next month when the weather is permanently warm.

I love it!  I'm keeping my eyes open for another bird house or three that are reasonably priced but I'm really happy with how this old gate turned out.  I hung the bird houses on the wire with picture hanging hooks that I put on upside down and backwards.  The hooks just slip right over the wires and hold them securely in place.  The blue bird is a funny little chime that doesn't really chime.  I just happen to have this thing for blue birds and bought it last summer.  I think once I get pretty plants and another bird house or three it will be perfect.

I expect John would like some curtains on this end of the porch because the sun beats in pretty hard on that south end. I'm going to keep my eyes out for solid color panels or a drop cloth or something to make panels I can pull across this end when the sun is shining.   I've hung my green lanterns at either side of the entry to the porch and there's a pot of coleus on the floor on the shady side. 
Now that's the porches for now.  I think they will do fairly nicely for our porch seasons.

17 comments:

Angela said...

Everything looks wonderful! So fresh. My husband drilled a few holes in the bottom of my wash pot.

susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...


Your porch looks so fresh and pretty. I really like your decorated gate. The birdhouses look very cute on it.

Julie Baker said...

I so enjoyed all the pictures that you shared. All beautiful, such a good job updating. Thanks Terri for inspiring me once again.

Lynn said...

I love seeing all the things you're doing to your house. Thanks for taking all the pictures. Lynn

Carolyn @ Our Gilded Abode said...

Love your cheerful decor. The weathervane is so cute and the wash pot with the fern is lovely. John was so right about the red for the bistro set being the perfect color too. The chain link gate as a backdrop is simply clever. You're all set for Spring and Summer outdoors!

Carolyn @ Our Gilded Abode said...

I forgot to mention ... relating to you contemplated purchase of an umbrella style clothesline. We live in a super windy area on a hilltop with very little wind break. And I use this style clothesline and absolutely love it. Have had no problems at all even when wind is gusting. And mine isn't even a heavy duty model. At first I was concerned it wouldn't hold very many clothing items, but I surprisingly can get two loads on it at once. Just wanted to share with you!

Anonymous said...

I love your decorating ideas. How I wish you lived next door! I need so new ideas and what fun it would be to watch you as your brain came up with new ideas cheaply to do to my home. I had a dear friend who sadly passed away but all her friends loved going to her house because everytime they went she had new ideas. Her favorite trip was a day at thrift stores with a couple dollars to spend. She laughed about when she was a kid and would babysit for her sister and getting in trouble when her sister came home and everything in a room would be redecorated. You remind me so much of her. Don't feel guilty about a few dollars spent on your home. Just think how much it would cost you to go to Starbucks every day, which is not an unusual thing for people to do. 20 minutes later the drink is gone and you have "stuff" for the same price that you reuse for years. I love reading your posts but really enjoy your decorating ones. Now I am inspired that right after breakfast i am going to put together that wreath for the front door. Love the fabric strips idea! Thanks. I understand about the job concern. Been there, did that and it is a biggie. Will be praying for you. Gramma D

Lana said...

I was in the same quandary coming up to the reduced disability pay. I beefed up all the budget catalogues and have watched every dime and we have yet to receive a short paycheck. No clue why. We have been through so, so many outsourcing and cut backs in the IT business that it is now almost normal. One thing I do know for sure is that God has never failed to provide more than we can even ask or think.

Vintage Ellen said...

Your outdoor decorating is lovely. I never thought of having a theme for porches but you have given me lots to think about for doing up our apartment deck for summer. Thank you!

Wendi said...

Everything is looking fresh and cheery for a new season. Looks like great spots to sip some tea and gaze at the beauty of summer. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Your porches look wonderful! So happy & welcoming. I was thinking that if I was driving down the road in front of your house, I'd be telling hubs to turn around and drive slow so I could check it all out!! I also agree that John was spot-on with the red paint. I love it. I love your garden gate and goodies. The whole thing is beautiful. What's not to love?! I think you're going to love it even more when you're out there.
Debby in KS

Terri Cheney said...

Carolyn, Good info on the umbrella clothesline. I feel more assured we could do that here. Thank you!

Terri Cheney said...

Y'all are so sweet! I was happy with my porches before but knowing that you all like them too makes me even happier. Thank you so much!

Vintage Ellen, I find a theme for a small space makes it look more pulled together and less mishmash. I have so many things it's easy to drift off target trying to pull a look together if I don't concentrate on specific objects. On the back porch it's color that unifies it all (via the welcome mat) and on the front porch I was sticking to the birdhouses and not adding in all the other things I'd thought I'd might like to add, and did for a bit, before I saw my mistake.

Gramma D I'd love to plunder through your things and give you new ideas on how to display them. If you ever move SOUTH you let me know, lol.

Anonymous said...

You got me to thinking and I changed up a few things too! Thank you. Your porch is so pretty! :-)) For the curtain it might be a good idea to put something heavy in the hem of it so it will not blow and knock things off. I know my front room curtains had washers sewn into the hem and corners of the hem so they would hang right. Other wise could you put a shower curtain adjustable rod threw the hem at the bottom from one end of the porch to the other? It might be too wide a space. Sarah

Tammy said...

Yea for porch pictures! Everything looks great, but I'm in love with the gate! You know how I like the ironing board and loved the window on it, but I love the gate as well. I have a smaller gate and was just today wondering what to do with it. I think I know, but will have to see if it works.
I co-taught a seminar on growing and preserving garden produce and herbs, and the owner gave me a gift card as a thank you. He was quite generous, so today I picked out some of my garden bedding plants and herbs as well as some pretty pansies. It is, of course, too early to plant much, and it looks as though even the pansies will wait since there's a possibility of SNOW this weekend. Ugh. Hopefully next week will not be so Arctic, and those pansies can go on the front porch. So far the boys have not duct taped any dandelions to the siding, so the porch needs some flowers. LOL.
Enjoy your special day with family and watching those babies hunt eggs!

beckyathome said...

I love, love, love how everything looks! Thanks for the pictures. I love seeing what other people do. Those chairs and cushions turned out wonderfully. The porch looks so inviting. Great job!

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

Everything looks beautiful.. You have done a great job. I like the two new wreaths..But my favorite is the green check ribbon on.. CUte/cute..
Agreeing with Carolyn. I have the umbrella clothes line [got at Lowes].Works great and It does hold a lot of clothes.My hubby concreted it in.. So no worries of it blowing away. smile

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