We knew on closing that supports for the front porch were… lacking. It sagged down and to one side with the stairs falling backwards. After the snow melted, we were able to see that the whole frame still sat on original iron rods. We had a local company come by to jack it up and install new 4ft deep footers and 6×6 pressure-treated posts.
We took the opportunity of the construction zone for a front yard to start our long-term plan of making the front and side yard as low maintenance as possible. As the porch was being raised, we saw that the rhododendrons were way too big and nearly growing under the porch. J and I moved them to the side of the house to help naturalize it. (Let’s not have to mow that, please.)
After the porch was settled on new supports, we wanted to re-established the long lost flower beds. You could see remnants of mulch sitting amongst the sparse grass and sea of dandelions. After a few hours of popping all the weeds out, J began to re-level the area. We planned on keeping the existing honeysuckle, lone hosta, and lilac (needs to grow back after a previous harsh pruning), but tossed everything else. We laid down some weed cloth and applied a thick layer of cedar mulch.
We tried to find as many free plants that would be suitable for a west facing house. J split several of the irises from around back to line the walkway. A neighbor stopped by to admire our work and he let us have some of the baby hostas his plants has spawned. In the end, I only ended up getting the peonies for either side of the steps. They’ll grow to a nice height, plus they’re pretty low maintenance.
The porch itself looked pretty shabby. There was lots of loose paint, alligatoring, and a multi-colored chipped floor. I spent a week scraping down all the painted surfaces and pulling out the old caulking. After, I re-caulked all the crevices and J repaired a few boards before covering everything with Kilz oil based primer.
I wanted to break up the white on white on white look the house currently had and the existing navy shutters were a bit sun-faded. We picked up a gallon of Behr’s satin exterior paint in both Polar Bear (the white we use for interior trim) and black. I picked the black to give our front door a more formal feel and to contrast all that white. It took me a few days pressed against incoming rain, but I made it.
Our local big box store was always out of the standard tan porch paint, so we had them tint the stock white to a tan we picked out (Behr | Egyptian Pyramid). I did the edging while J rolled the floors. We let it sit for the full 72 hours before putting anything back on the porch.
In the future, we plan on extending the flower bed to the neighbor’s bed and grabbing a high bush blueberry from a friend to shield the side. J wants to redo the crush stone on either side of the house with some drainage pipes, but for now it’s in a better place.
After a recommendation from a friend, I decided to video parts of my day in the hopes I’ll be able to look back at all the new experiences, new projects, and time spent with friends and family. Big moments for this month: