Our Tiny Porch

Anyone who has ever been to our place knows that we have a tiny porch.

Being an apartment, we're lucky to have a porch at all, and luckily we have a couple of neighbors who couldn't care less what the front of their house looks like (read: wrestler frat-boys stuck in their high school glory days that leave their metal cooler on the porch in the summer, mop & bucket in the woodchips, beer on the porch in winter, and sometimes empty beer cans in the hostas...really I swear they're usually well behaved).

Okay, so typing that out, it sounds like we have the worst neighbors ever, but honestly, I don't mind them, because they leave my stuff alone, and let me take over the entire middle section of our porch. So I'll take what I can get. If that means occasionally shoving their cooler to the edge of their side of the porch, or scooping up the occasional empty can on my way to the dumpster, so be it.

Until recently, my chunk of the porch was pretty messy and full of "wtf" things as well. This picture wasn't planned on or staged or anything, as if you couldn't tell; it was used for an event as a "if you've never been to our house before, this is what you should be looking for" kind of picture:

Weird rugs, a cracked and empty plastic planter, a free side-of-the-road cast iron bench I couldn't sit on, and whatever the heck was happening under that bench. Not to mention the weirdness off to the side of the porch...?

Now clearly, the above picture was taken before plants started coming in, but our garden really still looks stupid about 90% of the time. I've talked to the landlord about digging everything up and replacing it with just two big fat-leaved hostas and some dark mulch next year, because right now, it just looks like an overcrowded mess. Luckily, she's down for basically whatever I ask her about, so this whole thing should hopefully be different next year:

Ew, just gross. Over it. I want it to be simple and clean looking, and right now, it just isn't. Next year, I'd also like to get a full sized shepherd's hook to hang a fern & hummingbird feeder from. My mom has had several hummingbirds at her house this year, and they seem to enjoy the cover the fern provides them.

Right now, I have this slightly weird arrangement going on:

Better bench & actual plants, but still some weirdness under the bench and a configuration of rugs that I haven't really nailed down quite yet. Oh, and a clearance birdhouse that refuses to stop twirling... I feel bad for whoever moves into that next year, they'll be motion-sick before they even hatch out of their shells.

I want this area to be somewhere I can come home, relax, sip on a glass of wine, and enjoy the weather; while it's getting there, it's just not quite there yet. The humidity and rain we've had lately definitely hasn't helped, but even aside from that...

Our backyard used to be great for hanging out in the evenings, and relaxing on a blanket in the grass or setting up a small dining area. Unfortunately, with the neighbor's dog being tethered to the tree in the center of our yards anytime he's outside, that means whining, slobber, and (my least favorite) stinky gifts that last for weeks.
Top that off with the inconsistent mowing schedule, and you're ambushed by three-week-old-poo smell, mosquitoes, thick & weedy grass, and god knows what else. The backyard is no longer an option for the most part. I've even resorted to doing my furniture projects in the front along our driveway because I simply cannot deal with the back yard 75% of the time.

This is the view from the front porch. Nothing too exciting, that's for sure. That picket fence and sad driveway are just so attractive... :p 

And that patch of grass (read: clover, creeping Charlie, dirt, and the seldom seen blade or two of actual grass) is really something to behold, isn't it? Absolutely to die for....

I have some ideas though to finish out the front space & make it into my relaxation spot (even if it does directly face the driveway and neighbor's house...again, in an apartment, you take what you can get):
  • replace cushions with all black (next year)
  • build/buy some kind of outdoor ottoman so the bench is even more comfortable
  • hang solar string lights along the overhang (waiting to be shipped now)
  • new address plaque (trying to find the perfect numbers)
  • round wooden sign for above the bench (could be changed out seasonally... tutorial post here)
  • tear up the garden & clean it up
  • clean up under the bench- I think the blue box is full of railroad parts I never came up with a project for, and there are a few other things straggling along with it. The black pots can stay, since they'll be used when the pepper plants get too big for what they're in now
  • find a rug that could fit all the way underneath the bench and to the right edge of the porch so that we only have one rug? Probably impossible, but I can dream haha
  • black & glass lanterns with LED candles- hang? (have 2 lanterns & plenty of candles, just no batteries)

So that's the plan! I'm particularly excited about the wooden round sign idea & the ottoman. I wanted the black & white rug so that I could just walk out onto the porch without sandals or slippers, and in person, I do really like it, but that picture kind of made me think it looks funny. I don't know, I guess we'll see what happens... until then, this will do.


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