Home Garden Rehab

11:30 AM

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Between working out some health issues/injuries, the dreary weather, busy schedules, and my husband opening up his own Handyman Service, there hasn't been much time for special projects to complete around the home. It is now May and, usually by now, I have a handful of seeds sprouting somewhere in the garden. This year, however, we had to start ground ground up (pun intended) with a new planting bed. Over the past seven years the old wooden framed bed my husband so lovingly created for me has deteriorated into a crumbly mess from exposure and a handful of hungry termites. Fortunately, we have a neighbor who is a cement mason and was able to help up come up with a plan for a concrete planter bed that would be more suitable for growing than the one we previous constructed.



Now, mind you, we live in a small, urban home, which generally lacks any "gardening" space, so if you intend on having any lush you have to either build up or use pots/containers, which, to me, are just eyesores and another thing that little boys will ram their toys into and break. With the wood beds, we only had about 12" of depth to plant, which didn't result in much of anything. At the time, though, it was pretty to look at.

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Using 4" concrete blocks, the garden bed was built out to about 2 feet in height and took a depth of another 2 feet of the yard and designed in an "L" shape to match what we had before.But being that the blocks were so industrial looking, I just needed to add some personal touches to it...which ended up costing a bit more money, but over a span of two weeks this industrial hunk of mess became quite a pretty little urban garden!

First came some water sealing and paint.... 20160418_073813 20160417_072024

I actually ended up painting it TWICE because my neurotic self did NOT like how the first paint color had turned out. I tried to make a conservative budget-based decision and buy the concrete paint from Lowes, but, the color was not mixed to look like what I had selected. What was supposed to be a neutral yellowish-gray color came out waaayyyyyyy yellow when I applied it, and this caused a problem for part two of the plan: tile! I just could not find tile to match the color, so I ended up spending another thirty dollars to find another color; this time it was a beautiful pink-mauve color.

As the concrete blocks had spaces in the tops, we decided to use 4x4 tile to "cover" them. It took us over a week to actually find tile. When you browse online at the "bog box" stores like Lowes and Home Depot you see some wonderful looking tiles that would absolutely work for your project, however, once you get to the store they either do not have them in stock, it is an online only exclusive that you need to have shipped to you (for a wait of two weeks plus some big shipping and handling costs), or, this one cracked me up, they are exclusive to certain "zones" of the country -- in other words if I lived in Arkansas I can have slate tile but being in Pennsylvania I can't. Of course, being a woman, when I went to Home Depot I got incredibly sexist attitudes from some manager as the typical 'tude being that I wanted something not in stock and I should just pick something that they have or comply and wait until June to have shipped to me and be a good little girl. But after taking a long ride out to The Tile Shop in Montgomeryville we found the perfect slate tile to go with what we wanted. Slate is a great tile for outdoor purposes. It holds up incredibly well, isn't shiny or slick like your indoor tile, and the natural colors are varied and compliment many different environments.

13051508_10156951073700389_6538210538277159591_n Even though I am a girl, I actually do kinda know what I am talking about Home Depot man. Also, I know how to tile, probably better than you, also, considering that your manicure looked pretty in tact. Actually, I am pretty bad a** at tiling and knocked out the garden in about two hours. After setting, a nice mocha grout was applied and finished the project. THEN IT WAS TIME TO MAKE IT PRETTY!

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My little helper assisted me in adding the 600lbs of dirt during the week....

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...but mostly he was just interested in covering his trains with it in the end.

Over a week I picked up what ended up being close to $200 in plants to fill the garden. A few trips to the Lowes garden center (one of which I scored HUGE deals in their Clearance plant section -- they weren't dying, they just needed some love!), a few backpacks full of herbs and veggie plants from the Italian Market, and a drive to Merrymead Farms for some great local buys and the garden was just about done!

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I even rehabbed the old Ikea table and chairs so that we can sit outside and enjoy the weather.

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Some sanding, elbow grease, and a nice stain and sealer is all they needed.

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There are still a few things that needed to be tended to, such as a good power washing of the concrete, planting of a few more herbs in hanging baskets, and the steps needed a paint/sealing, but I am so glad to have a nice little space as the weather is clearing where I can sit and relax, smell the flowers, and ignore the chaos of the city. I absolutely cannot wait to watch these flowers grow and flourish this spring and summer!

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