Patio Update

11:41 PM

My last post about our backyard was sewing the shade sails over the patio.  This is how it looked finished in that post:
But now I think it looks much better with just a few improvements:
The first thing to change: painting the posts.
I used Glidden Exterior paint:
Semi-gloss in Swan White
These posts will eventually be covered with plants, so I just did one quick sloppy coat of paint, no primer or anything.  In my mind it was more of a whitewash to get rid of the nasty brown with bleached lattice scars.
Next, my mom came to visit this weekend, and brought with her a bunch of flowering vines to plant at the base of each pole, all the plants were transplants from her own original plants at home.

My mom is a master gardener and so I'm going to take a minute to show you what she's done and where my plants came from:
My mom built this pergola in her yard.
It took a few years.  The pillars are telephone poles she snagged when they went down our street replacing all the poles, and my mom happened to be outside and asked if they'd just dump the old ones they were cutting down in her yard.  They were happy to get rid of them so easily.
For a while we just had telephone poles sticking straight up out of the yard, and my Dad called it "Wood Stonehenge", but now the pergola is really great and has even more foliage on the poles, and flowers throughout the summer.
This photo was taken early last spring.  Each year the poles get fuller with the flowering plants.
So my mom took pieces of some of her plants to give to me.

the plant she brought is actually from her lamp post, not the pergola
So hopefully I won't kill it and eventually one of the posts will be full of these purple flowers.  Obviously it won't be a  fat, thick bush like her lamp post though.

{image not from my mom's pergola, I guess I never took a photo of her wisteria. source here}
Trumpet Vine:
I have a few of these, and they have bright orange/pinkish tube shaped flowers.  In the fall they have long, thin, pods.  These are the pods I used to make these mobiles here and here a while ago.

Anyway, these are the parent plants of my little guys now planted at the base of my white posts.
So here we had a few more things to do. 
These plants will start growing fast, and need something to grow up and wrap around.
So I bought a roll of 9 gauge wire from Home Depot in Building Supplies in the chain link fence accessory place.  My mom told me where to find it and what to buy.  It's thick wire, and a roll was $20 for 170 ft.
CONFESSION: So my Mom actually did all of this step. 
She nailed the wire in the top of the pole, then loosely wrapped it around, nailing it in the back of the pole each time it passed around.
Here's my mom hard at work.
It would be best if you have U shaped nails, but she actually used junk nails from the junk pile.  She'd hammer the nail in half way, put the wire on top of it, then hammer the nail 90 degrees and the head of the nail would get smashed in the post.  It worked and was free.
So we had white poles with the grow wires for the plants.
I needed to build some kind of planter box around my plants so they won't get stepped on, just sitting in the lawn.
Planter Boxes
I decided to use some junk wood on the side of our house left from the previous owner.
This plank thing had all these 2x6s nailed down. 
So I tore them up, hammered out the nails, and sawed them down (miter saw) to make boxes around all the plants.
I dug around the plants, and fit the pieces of 2x6 I'd cut to make little boxes, that stood about 2" above the lawn.
So these will help keep the grass from growing into the plants, keep the water where I want it, and help us realize not to step on the plants.
So eventually, the poles should have green foliage and orange, purple or pink flowers on them.
Already, the white poles, grow wires, and planter boxes, help the space feel more like a room separate from the rest of the yard.  I'd love if it felt (once the flowers are in bloom and I have a few more projects planned) like a little European outdoor cafe or something.
We all had dinner out there tonight before my parents left, and it was fun and cozy to enjoy a meal al fresco.
We're just lucky there aren't any mosquitoes or many bugs in our area that we've noticed so far!
Someone in the last shade sail post commented about staining the concrete to look like stone.  I'm looking into that idea!  If anyone else sees potential in the space, pass on your ideas, I appreciate it.

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  1. I just went through the outdoor space deocorating saga after we finished painting our deck. Maybe some potter herbs? A few years ago I bought a heap of terracotta pots and painted the bases, up to the rim, in blackboard paint. Now we just write on them in chalk whatever is growing on them. Cute and practical!

  2. NICE!!!! I love it, but I don't know if I would tackle the concrete because I have seen stuff like that crack a lot. I LOVE IT! Is Sheila coming to St Louis anytime soon?

  3. Hooray for moms. One idea I have seen to improve a concrete slab is to tile over the top. Just be sure to pick a tile that is outdoor approved.

  4. Loving your creativity. Now, I do not know if this will work's an idea. Staining concrete mix, spreading it over your current concrete, then stamping it to look like flagstone or whatever design you choose. Landscapers have the molds for stamped concrete, so wondering if you get old ones at the end of summer. So even if your concrete cracks it will just add flavor to the look. Just a thought.

  5. Wonderful ideas! I'm loving your blog. Your kitchen is fantastic!!

  6. If you were to stain your concrete to look like stone, you could edge it with large pavers, so that your patio will visually extend to the edge or just beyond the edge of your vine planters. On the right hand side of the patio (the air conditioner side), you could extend the large pavers just enough so you could put your grill there. This would leave more space on the 'party deck' for a side board table to hold your grilled buffet. Theoretically.


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