Category Archives: porch

A Simple Christmas Porch

This afternoon I snapped just a few photos of our pretty new porch,

 decorated very simply for Christmas time.


We bought those black urns at Lowe’s this past summer,

+ of course, at the time,

I was already dreaming of how pretty they would look at Christmas.


They look like cast iron but are actually made from old tires,

which means they are lightweight + are supposed to be durable enough

to make it throughout the cold winter months.


Each window in our house has a single electric candle,

which is one of my favorite things to do.

I think it is so quaint, especially in a 2-story house like ours

(+ this one, below:)



We hung some artificial garland made of mixed greens,

including some blue spruce,

which coordinates divinely with our blue spruce topiary.


Yes, I know this Dachshund is tacky, but how could I resist so much cuteness?


She’s standing in front of my seats from the old Busch Stadium in St. Louis.


I bought that ginormous wreath at a garage sale one warm summer day.

It’s hard to tell in this photo, but those are big, retro red bulbs.


Yes, I use a lot of red in our house, which is especially festive at Christmas time.

Did I share a photo of our new mailbox?



Look!  Yet another Dachshund — a boot  scraper, actually,

which I placed next to some old, red boots I bought at a vintage store.


This may or may not be the final version of our Christmas porch,

but whatever — I am going to keep things simple, with red + greens.


Our Porch Ceiling Change Of Plans

Here is our front porch, in progress:


As you can see, G.O. is in the middle of stripping all the old paint

from our porch’s original bead board ceiling.


Our plans were to paint the ceiling a pretty pale blue.

Exhibits A – B + C:

exterior pale blue ceiling with wicker

exterior pale blue ceiling with black rockers

exteriior pale blue ceiling

Pale blue porch ceilings are a thing in the south.

I grew up in southern Illinois (which is very southern, BTW),

so I’ve been on board the blue ceiling train since I was a wee lass.

Anyway, just as we were discussing what pale blue paint to use,

this happened:


We were both surprised at how pretty the natural wood ceiling is!

And, speaking of something being a design thing,

natural wood exterior accents are wildly popular now.

Have you noticed?

I first saw this trend on HGTV’s FIXER UPPER.

bathroom of fixer upper shower

Okay, that mirror she’s touching is painted white,

but here are just a few natural wood accents from the show.

Exhibits D – E – F + G:

wood exterior columns

wood exterior fixer upper

wood exterior shutters

wood exterior window boxes


While we had our hearts set on a pale blue porch ceiling,

I think we’ve changed our minds.

That wood ceiling of ours is way too pretty in its natural state,

+ it wouldn’t be right to cover it with paint.

Exhibits H – I – J – K + L:



You can easily see the portion that’s not been fully stripped:



So.  This just illustrates why one must be flexible when working on anything,

or as I like to call it: heading to Plan B.

The natural wood is so warm + lovely, isn’t it?


G.O. is such a perfectionist;

this change in plans will no doubt have him going back

over the entire porch ceiling again, maybe multiple times.

That’s his thing, + really.

How many times can I say, “It doesn’t have to be perfect!”?

Our Pretty, Simple Fall Porch

All the popular kids are posting tours of their Autumnal homes,

so that means I will, too

Here’s a little something from inside our house:


I’ve had that old lattice for years,

+ this was the first time that we’ve displayed it indoors.

I love the way its colors complement the gray of our walls!

Now, then.  Let’s go outside + see what’s happening on that new porch of ours:

Gone are summer’s hot pink caladiums + vivid green sweet potato vines:


In their place is this urn filled with ornamental grasses,

which are at their peak in Fall:



These pretty blue flowers were near the back porch.

They were so pretty, I thought I’d share them out front.

Sadly, I misplaced their tags,

but I do remember that they are some sort of morning glory!

A terra cotta pot is temporarily our mail box,

as the one we chose from amazon is back-ordered:



So much for the summer plants — the right side of our steps is devoted to Fall!




G.O. brought home some pumpkins the other day,

+ I popped the 2 white ones into my vintage yellow ware bowls.



Disclaimer: one of my friends said that I was being “brave”,

having the bowls out front, so I have since moved them indoors.

I’ll share soon!

For now, let’s get back to those steps of ours:


Another pair of pumpkins are inside our 2 small black urns.



The sweet mums in a basket

are the tiny ones that Home Depot has every September:




Well, that’s about it for our Fall décor on the porch.

told you it was simple!

My display at our last house, the brick bungalow, was a bit more “busy”:

fall at the bungalow steps

fall at the bungalow steps with tin bucket

fall at the bungalow trellis box up close

Those pansies + that ornamental kale are so cute!

Who knows?  Maybe I’ll get some if I see them,

+ use them to augment our simple display!

Stay tuned!


Our Pretty Stone Pathway

Since I last blogged about the Dutch colonial,

there’s been unbelievable progress, out front!

Let’s remember the sad before, a few weeks after we bought the house:

dutch colonial -- front 'before

Here’s a look at the midway:


And as it looks today, the ‘almost’ after:



I think I’ll just share bits of it at a time, in small doses.

Let’s start with our new stone pathway

which transitions between the new brick sidewalk + our side yard.

Here’s a glimpse of it, as one approaches the house:


We went shopping at a nearby landscaping place + looked at stone,

+ we bought 3 large slabs of limestone.

G.O. brought out his trusty 4″ angle grinder with a masonry blade, as one does,

+ cut the slabs into smaller, stepping stone friendly pieces:


IMG_1660 (1)

We had scooped out a shallow trough for the stones.

Once we decided we liked their arrangement,

we put a layer of ordinary play sand underneath each stone:

IMG_1662 (1)

Funny story.

He grabbed some bags of said play sand at the garden center,

not realizing until he got home that one of the bags contained purple sand!

Who knew?  Crayola makes colored play sand!

IMG_1664 (1)

In his defense, he said he thought the bag was purple!  HA!

IMG_1671 (2)


Look!  It’s Chloe the Dachshund!


I’m love the gentle curve of the stones,

because I think curves in the landscaping are beautiful + visually pleasing.

Now it’s time to discuss all those beautiful plants!

After weeks + weeks of indecision,

I knew this side of the porch needed a topiary


I remembered seeing some blue spruce topiaries at Home Depot,

+ since I am a huge fan of the blue spruce any-thing, off we went.

Over G.O.’s very strong objections.  Of course.

cats fighting

But people.  COME ON.


Nailed it!!!



Those spiky, grassy plants underneath are ‘Lucerne’ Blue-Eyed Grass,

which have small, bright purple-blue flowers in Spring through early Summer.

plant blue eyed grass

Nearby, we planted some silvery-white Artemisia,

as I wanted to repeat the silvery blue needles of our topiary.


Those are going to look great, once they fill in.

Since white flowers also complement silvery foliage,

we planted these cuties along the curve of the stone pathway.

Rapido White Bellflowers:



We repeated these sweet small rose plants on both sides of the pathway,

as I wanted to visually tie that area together.


The green + burgundy Purple Palace Coral Bells

are repeated from the opposite side of the porch,

to once again, tie the whole front foundation plantings together,

from 1 side of the house to the other.

The Coral Bells were planted to accent the 2 curves in this bed —

both the stone pathway . . .


. . . + the curve where this bed meets the lawn (+ the new grass!), out front:


Disclaimer:  everything is going to look so much better with dark brown mulch!

I ordered nearly $80 worth of Spring-flowering bulbs

a couple weeks ago, + I want to plant them before the mulch goes in.


Stay tuned!



Finally! Porch Steps!

It’s August already!

What am I doing, still thinking of new plants + containers to buy?

I’m obsessing about these topiaries!



How sweet would they look inside a pair of these urns?

urn and pedestal charcoal

So what’s with all this landscaping dreaming,

so close to the end of summer?

Here’s what:

We’re finally getting stairs for our front porch!

This means we can now safely plant things next to them,

+ let’s be real.

Is that not the most up front + important spot in our entire yard?



Calm down — back to those porch steps.

Here they are, in progress, just a few days ago:


A few days later, they’re still unfinished

but are sporting their new lattice “skirts” on each side.


So cute! — + matching the skirts underneath the rest of our porch:

G.O. started painting the new stair treads yesterday.


It was a challenge, as it always is, coming up with the perfect color.

Yes, I chose gray, but not just any gray.

It has to “play nicely with” (a.k.a. complement) all the other grays of our house,

most especially those near the new steps,

on the foundation’s stones + the lattice.


By no means do I mean that I want all the grays to match.

No way!

In my world, contrast is often more important than matching.

Since I really want the stair treads + porch floor to “pop” (a.k.a. contrast),

 I decided they needed to be fairly dark.

Here’s the paint color I chose:

Knight’s Armor from Pittsburgh Paints.


Whoa.  That’s DARK! — isn’t it?

Disclaimer:  I really feared that it was too dark.  Yikes.

My instinct was to forge ahead, though.

In the past, I’ve had remorse when I settled on a safer, lighter color

because I’d been too timid to go really dark.

Not this time!

Let’s see how those treads look, in place:


People.  I have only envisioned this bit of happiness for years!

It’s like I’m dreaming!


Notice the porch ceiling.


G.O. has started stripping the old paint off the existing bead board,

+ we’ll repaint it a pale blue.


I like that light fixture (something discontinued from Pottery Barn),

but we’re thinking of replacing it with an outdoor ceiling fan.

Dunno yet.

Next, we’ll need some stair railings + posts + stuff.

Here’s what we have, at left, + here’s what I want, at right.

Stay tuned for a cool transformation (I hope!)

This concludes my porch musings, but wait.

Remember the pair of urns + topiaries that I want to get?


My plans are to place one on either side of our bottom step.



Maybe we’ll go shopping tomorrow — stay tuned!




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