When we flew back from Greece, (just in time for Thanksgiving’s dinners – perfect timing!), the first view of our home was pretty…sad. It looked so neglected with its summer plants all dead, the hanging pots gone, bags of dirt and mulch plopped in the driveway and the unfinished look that our porch has sported even before we bought the house – who knows for how many years – giving the unattractive view of an abandoned shack.
I had to do something the quick (as in immediately) and dirty (as in dirt – literally) to shape up our front porch for the holidays season. First of all, see how bad it was:
Trivia: This porch, will be rebuilt (once we budget for it) because of all these issues that I ranted extensively about so, all the tidying was about cleaning and low key cosmetic changes, that were as frugal as possible.
This is how it turned after some cleaning and tidying. It went from “nobody lives here” to “hey, somebody does live here!”, which is quite the improvement.
And just in time, too, if you notice the date and the fresh snow.
Doesn’t it look much, much better? 🙂
Decor wise, we used Christmas lights (in warm white), 4 wreaths we had bought heavily discounted the previous year, added glittering gold bows on them (a dollar each) and made a quick and easy front door wreath with textured ornaments for added interest. I also had to persuade hubby to put up the Christmas lights, which turned him into the Grinch (what is it with men and putting up Christmas lights?).
The real work was cleaning up the dead flowers. All that pulling is great if one wants to vent some steam but I was feeling pretty calm and it felt labor intensive under the circumstances. Once done though, it was clean and although barren it looked less forlorn.
Going the extra mile: adding dirt and crushed marble chips, mixing them well and fixing the slope under the porch to help with drainage. This is a boring step but, so helpful when one lives in a moist place like we do. Sloping the ground away from the house is the cheapest and most effective way to keep one’s basement safe from moisture problems.
It was well into the night I started with the least glorious part of the makeover:
Now, I was left with a dirt area that was quickly – and easily – covered, using 3 bags of mulch. I followed the edge of the grassline, creating curved lines for visual interest (and to fully cover the bare patches until snow covers the whole area).
I needed only 3 bags of mulch because I was just covering the bare ground in anticipation of the snow.
The biggest impact: cutting lattice to fill in the gaps under the porch. Insta-awesome! We bought two pieces of pressure treated wooden lattice from a home improvement store. Total cost was about 20 dollars for both pieces (an 4x8ft one and a 2x8ft). It is an easy DIY to do and made such an improvement. I did that myself and don’t laugh, it was my first time with a dangerous power tool (well sort of dangerous). 🙂
It is one of those things you go “why didn’t I do this before?”. Adding lattice. Yep.
The lattice will be painted white when warmer seasons come, as the freezing temperatures will not allow the paint to adhere properly.
It was time to put the tools in the shed, the kiddie pool (washed and clean) in the basement and the final touches up. Candy cane solar lights (to mark the edges of the mulch for the snowblower), tidy the rugs and add a couple pots with greenery. Some garlands and a wreath to dress up the front door and we were all ready.
All in all, if we exclude items we already owned from years past (like the wreaths and the lights), the whole makeover costed under 30 dollars (including the lattice and the mulch). If we were to start from scratch and include previous years’ purchases like the garlands (two of them) the 4 wreaths plus the door one and the lights, the whole makeover would still be to the tune of approximately 50 US dollars. Still not bad!
We were ready just in time, to welcome 2016. Which I hope, found you all as happy and healthy as possible. 🙂
ps. See the missing railing in front of the door (to the far left)? It was practically standing there out of…habit when we bought the house and I simply pushed it off instead of having a guest leaning on it and falling down. There will be a small staircase there to totally feng-shui the front door when we overhaul the porch. Stay tuned!
And yes, there is a long Santa train cling on the windows. 🙂
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