Friday, June 22, 2012 10:19 AM EDT
Last month, tired of perpetually peeling paint and constant clutter, my husband and I decided to DIY a front porch makeover
. The first step was literally the first step: The stairs needed a complete rebuild
. Next, the exterior paint
, selected in consultation with Valerie Clubine of Signature Interiors in Unionville. Valerie also helped us with the plant arrangements.
“The best thing about outdoor rooms — a porch, or a terrace — is that you can use lots of flowers, lanterns, and other interesting elements that are often unique to outdoors,” Valerie advised. Her tips? Make window boxes as full and dramatic as possible, with a combination of flowers that provide both colour and texture.
I took her at face value — and then some. I went to town at Home depot, opting for purple petunias, helichrysum for foliage, yellow chiffon superbells, and white lobelia
, which provides great volume. I planted them in 27-inch window box planters ($14.80 each), hung with black brackets ($7 each).
I also chose a ready-made planter filled with a variety of annuals ($25) and, for that indoor-meets-outdoor look, a 10-inch fern ($20). Finally, to give the porch a pleasant scent and a visual punch, I potted some lavender plants ($2-$8), and
added helichrysum and white lobelia to a larger pot, for an even fuller look.
So, that was Valerie’s advice
. (I can’t deny that I scored a few extra tips from HGTV’s handy guides for Container Gardening
and a video for Potted Pleasures
!) But here’s my advice
. I’m not an experienced gardener, so I made a few mistakes, from which you can learn. One thing I did right
, was, I set up the plants beside the to-be-filled window boxes, so I could get the planting order exactly as I wanted it. Error-wise, though… Well, my first attempt didn’t include enough soil (see image below!). And the window boxes I chose needed to have holes drilled into the bottom — except, I had already planted. Lucky for me, my handy hubby was able to complete this task post-planting. Still, I also
should have remembered to put gravel in the window box before I put in the soil… oops.
Finally, I revamped our front garden — since I knew we’d be spending more time on our gorgeous front porch looking at it! Next up: Front Porch Outdoor Furniture