Inspiration Saturdays: a little home improvement

So I told you guys earlier this week that I had done a DIY makeover on my deck, and now I have the pictures for you! I have seen so many other bloggers getting started on outdoor yard and/or garden projects that it really got me itching to do something about our neglected deck area.

Here’s what my deck looked like before and after. The carpet was dirty and all I had up there for planters was a line of $5 grey plastic totes whose plants had long since died. I did go to the Home Depot two years ago and buy pipes and fixtures to create a raised run on the porch to hold the planters but that was all the work I had put into this area.

I wanted to give this area a makeover for about $100, so let’s see how I did.

I started by cleaning up the carpet, then taking apart all of the piping and refitting it in an “L” shape in the corner. Then I used cans of brown and “stone” look spray paint to give the tubs a facelift. I used two cans of brown spray paint specifically meant for use on plastics as a primer/opaque base, then two cans of the textured paint over the top; this was enough to cover all five tubs. Total cost to revamp the tubs: about $20.

The tubs get lots of sun, so I found some sun-loving perennials including columbine and a bleeding heart. The solar lights were picked up on clearance at Walmart a few years ago. I also have some chives from a friend, plus Cosmos seeds from my mom that I threw in the tubs and a mixed flower seed packet that should yield hollyhocks, echinacea, daisies, some ornamental grass, and one other type of flower (sorry, I can’t remember!).

It’s true that it’s cheaper to just plant seeds than to buy live plants, but I didn’t want the deck to be totally barren, so I went ahead and splurged on a few plants just to get started. Total cost of plants and seeds: $20.

Here’s the biggest part of my project: the privacy screen. There is nothing to block the line of sight from my neighbor’s deck to mine, and the lack of privacy really bugs me. I like to be able to enjoy dinner or a book on the deck without feeling like someone can see everything I’m doing!

Building the screen was simple in theory, less so in practice. I needed to go to Lowe’s for lumber and lattice. Unfortunately, while they did cut the strips of lumber to size, I was informed that they would not cut the lattice, which left me with two options: walk away empty-handed, or tie the eight-foot long sheet of lattice to the roof of my car and pray I made it home.

Did I mention how flexible and floppy these lattice sheets are? There’s nothing more nerve-wracking than driving home with a stack of lattice sheets slapping merrily against the rear window of the car with every tap of the brakes. I don’t blame the many drivers who sped up to pass me!

Once I got home I just had to cut the lattice down to the correct length with a hand saw, spray-paint the lumber strips, nail them into a frame, and attach the lattice to the back with 3/4″ screws. Then I added hinges to create a pair of two-panel screens. Total cost: about $65.

I wanted a rug for the porch but since I’d maxed out my budget at this point, I just grabbed an older throw rug from the kitchen. The table and chairs were a housewarming gift from my mom when we first moved into this house two years ago, and they haven’t seen nearly enough use up until now because the deck just wasn’t an enjoyable place to hang out. Not any more! Now we can enjoy an evening dinner on our lovely deck.

10 thoughts on “Inspiration Saturdays: a little home improvement

  1. How clever to “faux stone” those tubs! They look great! And you did really well with the privacy screen, it looks very nice, and I would want some protection from prying eyes as well! $100 and some elbow grease makes a big difference :)

    1. Thanks! I’m really happy with it. I always figure it’s worth some extra work to learn how to DIY something–you save so much money doing it yourself and you get a custom job to boot :)

  2. Looks nice after you’re done. That looked like a lot of work. It wouldn’t matter to me much if my neighbor saw me doing my own thing on my deck. However, if I was sunbathing or had a swimming pool for example, I would prefer more privacy when I have minimal clothing on.

  3. Great job! Looks really comfy! I really like projects like that! It is great what you did with the tubs, such a cool idea! Thanks for sharing your project!

  4. This looks so great!!! I need some privacy screens too. How about you come over and whip some up for me Mrs. Handy Chick! I love how your raised the totes. That is so clever!!

    Take Care,

    1. Haha, that lattice was no fun to work with at all, but it was so worth it in the end. You should have seen the look on the cashier’s face when I was buying all the piping–he was just like “You’re…putting down quite a lot of pipe” and I had to explain what it was really for!

  5. Wow, you did a great job! The “After” looks fantastic, and I really like your privacy screen. :D

    ~ Yun

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