Thursday, June 4, 2009 12:36 PM EDT
Last summer, I didn't spend a lot of time on my apartment balcony. Maybe because it was one of the rainiest summers in Toronto history, but most likely because it was dirty and rundown from neglect.
This year, I vowed to not let the summer pass without a balcony makeover.But I didn't want to spend more than $150.
This is my balcony before...you wouldn't want to spend time out there either, right?
The painted concrete floors are cracked, the dividing wall is pocked with rust and everything could use a serious scrubbing. But there's plenty of room for what I imagined, which was a space with three separate zones for lounging in the sun, potting and planting and eating breakfast or sharing a snack for two.
Here it is after...much more inviting, don't you think? I had planned to cover the rusty wall with something cheap and cheery, but I haven't found the right fix yet. Stay tuned, though, because I'm on the hunt and there will be a DIY in the future.
I bought a solid wooden kitchen cart from IKEA to use as a potting station. It's the perfect height and keeps my gardening gear organized.The wheels on the bottom make it easy to move around and it'll also be great for parties as a Mojito mini-bar.
The outdoor rug was on sale at Walmart and is so much nicer to walk on and look at than that old cracked floor. One of the perks of my job was a flat of free plants from the President's Choice event (thanks!). A good scrub down of the windows, ledges and glass barriers, a few pots and a cozy throw complete my balcony retreat.
Full disclosure: I have to admit that I slightly faked my future hammock project. I recently bought some strong outdoor material (on sale for $6/m!) after searching for a while. The fabric selection grew exponentially cuter the higher the price rose, so I ended up with a print that doesn't thrill me to the bones, but for $18 I'm not complaining. Make sure you ask about weight and strength -- I had a very sweet Kelly green and white striped canvas in my hands, but when I told the salegirl what I needed it for, she eyed me up and down and said it wouldn't hold me (hopefully, it wasn't personal).
My plan? To take the fabric to a professional and have the ends looped under and sewn with industrial strength, which shouldn't cost more than $30 according to some places I've phoned. So for under $50 I'll have a new hammock, when the pre-made versions in the stores cost $99 and up.
Total: $150 exactly
Is your outdoor space summer-ready? We'd love to see it!
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Related: Our new Backyard Living site is full of outdoor entertaining, decorating and gardening ideas, videos, DIYs and more.