If You Give a Mouse a Cookie/Pruning Shears
So I wanted a screened in porch. Aka, the cookie. But I needed to refinish/repaint the deck before I did that. But the deck (railings to be specific) was so ugly, that painting it was not going to help, so I needed to redo the railings before I painted. Which means I needed a design plan before that. But really, I needed to clean up the yard so I could actually see deck before that. Which means I needed to buy yard tools and prune before that. And while I was pruning I might as well rip out a large troublesome shrub before that, and maybe two more shrubs just for fun... And here we are a few weeks later. Who knows when I will actually make my screened in dreams come true but all the rest of that stuff is happening. I have just running around our yard, and home depot, like a mad woman. And it still isn't done. Sigh. But there is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel. For example, today I had some yard waste collectors come to the house because it would take us at least a year to deplete the massive pile of clippings I created by just filling the yard waste can each week. And the front yard looks like a very vengeful tornado hated us rather specifically. I am pretty excited. I can sum up what we did in the yard in a few words: prune, remove, destroy! Haha.
The deck/railing is more complex. As you can see in the above photo it kinda looks like a popsicle stick project. Plus that red brown stain, that for some reason is ubiquitous with old decking, was in real rough shape. I didn't want to spend any money because in my mind it was either, spend all the money to get what I want, or spend no money and sulk because it would be like putting lipstick on a pig (which would actually be adorable, but you know what I mean). Basically, if I can't paint the whole house a dark color and add white trim and railings everywhere, whats the point? Also our house exterior is totally trim-less. Like wanting to give a bald guy a hair cut... you would have to pay for plugs first. Blah. Gross. I had designers block, big time. So I gave in, decided to spend some money and a lot of time to make it, if not the best, better.
I have decided that we will add trim to the front windows, and pop in some corbels under the roof overhang. Eventually. And they will be black. Because it would reflect the interior details of our house and because it might make our house look sophisticated like these guys (note the brown roofs like ours):
But that doesn't solve the railing problem. Ansel helped coax me into taking action, encouraging me to rip out every other popsicle stick and see what it looked like. And so I did.
And then I taped the sticks I took off together, to see if bulking it up would help it not look like sticks.
I wanted to trim them all and have a cross beam that they float on, like a more traditional porch railing, but I knew that would be too hard. Stooopid sticks. What bothered me the most was how far below the floor of the deck the sticks extended down. I can't explain why, but it just didn't look classy. So I fussed on photoshop forever.
Nope. Don't like it. The black sticks look dinky.
Nope, too much black for me.
Well, ok. that is acceptable.
I was so exhausted stressing over it at this point I just barreled through and did it. Basically, I replaced the sticks I had taken down, but nailed them closer together in clusters of two, rather than evenly spaced. Looks vaugley craftsmen-y right? Maybe. I also replaced the top of the railing (the old wood was very splintery) with a wider board, as well as nailing up some 1x6's to cover the long stick extensions. Then painted... forever. And chopped down lots of plants in the process. Ansel slayed one particular dragon of a plant for me too :) My hero.
And now after pruning things with in an inch of their lives, a lot of paint, and hiring out for mountains of debris removal, this is where we are at. A wasteland of dirt and disoriented plant survivors. But hey, its a damn tidy wasteland.
Still more to do, like decide whether to paint the rest of the lattice or not, finish up the side deck, and bring in some hardy happy plants to cheer the rest up (Did you know we have roses? Apparently we had some suffocating near the stairs). But after that, this yard is on its own till next spring when round 2 of us vs plants will most likely occur.