I realize summer-fication is not a word, but it was more appropriate than renovation.  Since we rent our house in Somerset County, we’re not really at liberty to do too much with the appearance of the outside porch or yard.  In fact, our landlord specifically made a request that we not do any gardening on the actual lawn.  There are designated areas where we can plant, but we’re pretty limited in our use of the space.

With that in mind, we still wanted a space where we could enjoy the lovely weather and occasionally eat outside, a luxury we haven’t enjoyed at our previous, small, no balcony apartments.  Also, J has quite the green thumb, so he needed a space to try to make things grow!

Last week, J picked up a few beds of plants and planted them under our front windows in four rows.  This allowed us to not only spruce up the front of the house, but also to plant the same amount of flowers in one space instead of having to find other places around the yard to put them.  Front window flowers

Note:  each day and night, about 10-20 deer pass through our yard.  J employed the help of Home Depot associates as well as this list to determine which plants would be safe from theirr scavenging!  However, we’re still skeptical they’ll leave everything alone….

Our sometimes not-so-friendly visitors

Next came the porch itself.  In its current state, it was housing a barbecue grill as well as our recycling containers and a few other unsightly buckets that J uses for things around the house.  Pretty terrible looking, and certainly not conducive for outdoor eating!  Our first order of business was taking all of the excess off the porch and storing it in a more convenient location.  We put the recycling bins by the garbage, and moved some of the other buckets to the barn, where they can easily be found if needed.  Our second task:  finding an outdoor table and chair set that wasn’t too expensive and wouldn’t overwhelm the porch.  Our porch is pretty small, so we needed to ensure we were using every inch of space to the best of our ability.  J had found a great set at Home Depot, however, due to the great deal offered, all of the stores sold out of it almost immediately (and trust me, we asked them to check other stores!).  After searching Target, Lowes and Wal-Mart, we finally settled on a five piece set from Wal-Mart for only $120.  This set works great for us for a few reasons:  it’s not too overwhelming in size, it did not come with an umbrella that we would have had to store, and the chairs easily fold, allowing us to store the ones we are not using on a daily basis.

Our new table


Once we had the table assembled, we decided to position it in a corner that allowed us to only use two of the chairs.  Since most of the time, it’s just the two of us, this freed up a lot of space on the porch and allows for a much cleaner look overall.  Never forget to make good use of your corners!

Given our limited yard space, the porch has also become a hub for all of the plants we wanted to grow this year.  We planted three things in terra cotta pots that J had.  J bought a strawberry planter on Saturday, where he planted snap dragons as well as some other pretty smaller plants.  The cute little spaces on the sides of the strawberry planter add so much color to the porch and allowed us to plant a greater variety without taking up too much yard space.   We put three of these pots on the porch stairs, freeing up space on the actual porch while still adding to the overall feel.  We planted 3 gerbera daisy pots into a larger blue ceramic pot and placed this in another corner to add color to all sides of the porch.  Finally, our porch had two hooks that were ideal for hanging plants.  We bought two hanging baskets and used these hooks to multiply our space!

Our stair pots

Awhile back, we bought 4 outdoor candle lanterns from Pier One in the hopes that our table would be large enough to host them.  Since we soon realized the limitations of a small table, J hung the lanterns from small cable clips he fastened into the roof ledge of the porch.  They look really cute there, and I can’t wait to see them lit!

I hope everyone is able to take advantage of the great weather we’re bound to have soon!  Just a few degrees cooler….