Adventures in Landscaping, part 2

As my adventures in landscaping continued, rather than shapeless days of digging, there were discrete tasks that needed to be executed in a certain order. I was so excited to get to the part where I had a finished patio that I had to keep reminding myself to take breaks and enjoy the process.

After consulting with Mr. Man about what he learned from his research, I forged ahead, driven by enthusiasm and determination rather than knowledge or skill. There was a rainstorm pending for the end of the week and it seemed like a completed patio would weather a storm better than a half-finished project. Over the course of five days, I went through the steps of:

  • Framing
  • Leveling
  • Lining
  • Installing the base layer
  • Leveling
  • Installing the fill layer
  • Leveling
  • Tile setting
  • Filling
  • Watering

It all went relatively smoothly although I did basically fake it when it came to leveling.

The great thing about dry setting tiles is that there are no long-term consequences to messing up. You can just pull it all out and start again until you get it right. Which is exactly what I did. Many times. After the third or fourth try, I started to figure it out. I wouldn’t say that I did a good job, but I did the best job that I was capable of. And when I get to the point that I can no longer tolerate my shoddy workmanship, I will just pull it all out and try again. But look at that! I built a patio!

Now what? It was just kind-of there. Sitting in the middle of a bunch of dirt. What needed to happen for it to get to the point that I could sit out there comfortably, sipping rosé and reading books?

Over the course of the next several weeks, I puttered, tweaking here and there (including adding a patch of pea gravel, there had to be pea gravel somewhere). I have been slowly adding some plants and finally got around to picking up some furniture. Mr. Man has promised to run some irrigation for me but in the meantime, I have just been making a point of going out every couple of days to hand water and tell all my new little plants how proud I am of them. It will be a while until they are established so I want to make sure that they are getting positive reinforcement while they are settling in.

Now that it is starting to feel like springtime, I am looking forward to making use of my little outdoor getaway. I’m sure that I’ll find more tweaks and finishing touches to do, but my adventures in landscaping have already been a very satisfying success!

The Green Monster

My friend had the day off work and we decided to take ourselves on an adventure.  We headed off to an estate sale that I had seen advertised on the internet.  I love estate sales probably a little too much and really try to avoid them because always wind up finding some treasure that I didn’t know I needed.  But this time, I was sure that I didn’t need anything, and we would find something for my friend’s redecorating project.  Sigh.

In one of the upstairs bedrooms were some very 1960’s hutches.  One caught my eye because it was fairly narrow.  I have this wall in the dining room that I would love to have a hutch of some sort on, but the wall is only 32” wide.  I asked my friend, “does this look like it’s under 30” wide to you?” Of course, she is the most prepared person ever and proceeded to pull a measuring tape out of her purse.  Yup, 30” exactly.  Oh man, should I get it?  $100 later, we had removed the top from the base and shoved both pieces into the back of my car.

top beforebottom being prepped to paint  

Mr. Man was NOT happy when I got home.  “Where is that going!?!”  I explained, first it is going into the garage, then after I paint it, it will go where that bookcase is in the dining room.  “And where is the bookcase going?” I will find it a new home, somewhere else, not in our house.  Hasn’t he learned to trust me by now?

My dream for this monstrosity was glossy, kelly green with gold accents.  Bright colors, shiny finishes, and Chinoiserie are not really part of my decorating scheme.  It’s not something that would necessarily go with anything else in our house.  But that is what it told me that it wanted to be.  A statement piece.

I decided to use spray paint because I figured it would be the easiest (if messiest) way to get the result that I wanted.  I am not a great spray painter. I wish I had gotten a more even finish, but I am still happy with the results.


hardware before

The hardware was brass painted white.  I was expecting to have to paint the hardware gold (and ultimately replace it), but after a little soaking in warm, soapy water and a little scrubbing  with a scotch brite pad, the white paint came off and I had exactly the look I wanted.

it fits!

I want to do something else with the backboard accent paper.  This gold leopard print didn’t quite do what I was looking for, but it’ll do for now.  Getting this guy painted and moved in the house was enough of an undertaking that I’m giving myself a little break before I dive back into finding the perfect pattern for the backboard.

I love having these drawers for placemats, napkins, tablecloths, trivets, etc.  There is plenty of space to keep lots of my entertaining things handy yet out of sight and that just makes me so happy.  I love the green color and the bamboo details.  Even though it totally doesn’t “go” with anything else in our house, it works in my crazy lady, eclectic mess decorating aesthetic.  Success!