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A Few Updates for the Front Porch

The nice weather kind of happened all at once here, and now I’m realizing that the front porch needs a little sprucing up. New pillows, a few new planters, and a wire bunny I’ve had for a while will do the trick. I’m going to spend the day out there cleaning, and also tending to some landscaping out front.

A Few Updates for the Front Porch

  1. Outdoor Sundial Pillow

  2. Outdoor Sunburst Pillow

  3. Black Ikat Outdoor Pillow

  4. Wire Hare

  5. Kronos Raised Planters

The Exterior To-Do List

I didn’t do much to the backyard last year. Or to the front. Really, what I mean to say is that I didn’t do anything to the exterior of the house last year. This year, it shows. The garden needs tending, the grass needs seeding, and to top it all off, we should probably paint. The garage is starting to peel pretty badly, and the house could use some attention, too.

Jenny Lyons' Former Garden
(Not our yard! That’s Jenna Lyons’ former garden.)

I had a grand plan of things I wanted to do to the outside of our home that I put together back in 2009, two months before Eleanor was born. Allow me to quote myself: “Of course, the arrival of spring will also mean the arrival of our baby, so maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves!”

Nah, you think? Childless me was so naive.

So now, two kids and four years later, I’m reassessing. I’m copying and pasting my original exterior to-do list, below, with some clarification.

  • paint & repair the trim
    We still need to do this.

  • paint the front porch and the back deck
    I would miss the hand-painted rug that I did, but the porch needs to be refinished.

  • replace the railings for the front porch with a style more appropriate for the house
    I’d still love to do this, but at least our railings are functional.

  • cover the sides of the front stairs (lattice?)
    Yep. Actually, stucco would be a more seamless choice.

  • build a gate to hide the storage area under our back deck (lattice?)
    Still a good idea.

  • replace our ugly white screen doors with simple, unobtrusive ones
    I removed the front screen door entirely because I couldn’t stand it anymore, but I’ve yet to replace it.

  • install gutters with covers that supposedly don’t need to be cleaned
    We can skip this, and continue to have our gutters cleaned seasonally.

  • remove the aluminum siding on the addition and stucco it to match the rest of the house
    We had a couple of quotes and this is cost-prohibitive.

  • change the house color
    It would be nice.

  • paint the garage to match
    The garage needs to be painted either way, and of course it should match the house.

  • put up cute new house numbers
    Yes!

  • maybe change the mailbox?
    Maybe!

  • add an outlet out front and in back (there are none outside)
    We did this! And never use them. Yay.

  • add another metal sculpture in front of the house (we already have one)
    Really? One is enough, Nicole.

  • put in some foundation plants/shrubs
    I sort of did this, but more is needed.

  • plant a small tree (pagoda dogwood?) out front
    Probably not the best idea to plant a tree too near the house.

I feel bad, looking at this list and realizing how much of this has yet to be done, but it’s expensive stuff. And the only new item I’d like to add to the list? Build a wooden fence. The neighbor’s yappy dogs used to be an annoyance. Now that we have kids and they have a more aggressive dog that wants to bite their hands off, a wooden fence would be nice.

New Outdoor Dining Table

Our outdoor dining table went kaput this year. It was cheap, but we thought it would last longer than four years. The wood went rotten, and one of the extensions wobbled right off. There’s a reason you’ve been seeing an increase in tablecloth usage outdoors lately.

Yesterday, I convinced a hesitant husband to pack up the kids with me and head to IKEA for a replacement. We were successful, as evidenced by the car being partitioned by a very large box.

I chose this table. It’s slightly smaller than our previous table, but there are no moving parts on it and I’m hopeful that it will hold up better. It already has a gray stain so it looks a smidge weathered, but I don’t want the dang thing to actually weather and fall apart the way the other did. Perhaps a winter storage cover is in order. Or a coat of paint. Or some sort of actual maintenance from us. (To be fair, the other table did call for restaining/sealing, and we never did it.)

I’ll have more photos later this week. We had some company for lunch and I put together a very red, white, and blue table setting. (Here’s a little sneak peek!)

The new table is solid pine. What do you think? Any tips on helping it survive Chicago’s weather? Stain it? Seal it? Find some place to store it in the winter? The legs do fold down.

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