Simple DIY hack – when you need to stake a plant 

My beautiful, top heavy Phlox was badly in need of something to give it a little support as it was leaning really badly, with parts of it even laying on the ground. I needed something simple to stake it up that wouldn’t look like total crap but ideally was already laying around the garage. Enter PVC pipe leftover from our DIY squash arbor in the backyard! Leaving it white would stand out way too much but I found a can of soft green spray pain in the garage. A couple quick coats, and I stuck it in the ground next to my Phlox and gently secured it with a strip of nylon pantyhose. If you didn’t know – nylons are the best thing ever for supporting all sorts of plants – I swear by them when it comes to staking tomatoes!! And it makes me feel better about the fact a pair of nylons rarely lasts me more than two wearings – at least they get to be spared the trash can!! And now my Phlox are standing up straight and pretty! 

Teak patio set restoration 

A few years ago, we were gifted a beautiful teak patio set. We put it up on our balcony and used it for a while, and then shamefully, we neglected it for several years out in the elements. Recently, we brought it down and decided to see if we could restore it back to its former glory. And we did, beyond my wildest dreams!! Teak is an amazing wood.

This set was absolutely covered in algae. I thought there was maybe a chance we could restore it until I saw how bad of shape it (appeared) to be in. If there was any saving it, I figured it was going to take a lot of sanding and elbow grease. However, Scott borrowed our neighbor’s gas powered pressure washer and took it to the table to see what would happen. The results were nothing short of amazing. In order to clean the table effectively, you have to hold the nozzle very close to the table and direct the water away from you, with the grain of the wood, using it like a knife to scrape off the algae. You want to use consistent pressure and keep it moving so as not to create ripples in the soft wood. It takes quite a bit of patience to get all of the algae off, and my hands were still vibrating for quite a while after I was done from holding that nozzle for so long, but the results are more than worth it!

Next, we let the wood dry well, and then took sand paper and lightly sanded any rough spots, as well as the backs and armrests of the chairs, to make sure everything was nice and smooth. Finally, we donned our rubber gloves and brushed on some teak oil. The wood was very thirsty and just soaked it up. When we do reapplications in the future, it will probably be necessary to use a dry paint roller over the surface after a little bit to soak up any excess but that was certainly not an issue on this go round.

Finally, we moved our beautiful restored set into place, got a beautiful new umbrella for it, and sat down and enjoyed!!

 

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Painted Rock Garden Markers 

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Let your imagination run away with you! I love my bug rocks. As you can see on the left side, even my little boy got into the rock painting.

Great for marking plants in your garden and for making fun and imaginative decor!

As I browse Pinterest and see so many supremely talented people come up with interesting ways to decorate their gardens and mark their plants, I am always inspired but in the back of my mind, I know that I don’t really have the artistic talent to create some of the interesting ideas people come up with. Until…. I started to see some posts of people painting rocks. I can paint rocks!

The key was to find the perfect paints. I used Patio Paints, found at any craft store. (I am not in any way affiliated with Patio Paints and get no $ for endorsing them – I just think they’re great). If you pay attention, you can get them on sale and they are quite affordable. In fact, as you can see from the photo, I might have gone overboard a bit when I purchased my paint. These are very forgiving and I have used them with great success for painting rocks and flower pots. (Paint is a great way to spruce up an old, tired flower pot because let’s face it, pots are expensive! But that is for another post!) I tried both regular bristle paint brushes and foam brushes to add the base coat, and will say in general I was more pleased with the bristle brushes for the rocks. patio paint

I also needed to find the perfect rocks. Fortunately for me, my in-laws have a quarter mile long driveway filled with rocks, and they were more than happy to send me home with a 5 gallon bucket full of interesting rocks. I would recommend finding rocks that are smooth and with interesting shapes, but big enough to be able to write/draw on.

So I had my rocks, and I had my paints. From there, it was pretty simple. I washed the rocks and dried them (although there were a few rocks I did not let dry all the way, and another few I didn’t even wash all the way – just make sure you get the dirt and dust off of them so the paint will stick. I’m not very patient. They still turned out just fine). Then, I went to town! It was helpful to first make a list of all my plants and determine what rocks I needed. I also let my imagination run away with me and made some whimsical decorations for the front flower garden. After I painted my designs, I let them dry all the way. This paint didn’t really have to dry all that long between coats – about 10 minutes was just fine if I was changing colors, less time if I was doing a second coat of the same color. I sprayed a clear glossy coat over the first batch of rocks I did, and subsequent batches I just put out when the Patio Paint dried. Time will tell if the clear coat makes a difference, and I will update accordingly.

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My first attempt at painted rocks
I created an entire collection of garden markers and garden decorations for the cost of scavenging some rocks and buying some paint and paintbrushes. Every time people are over looking at my garden, they compliment my beautiful rocks. If I can make some rocks look awesome, you can too!!