To celebrate the end of backyarding month, I threw a small barbecue. Just some burgers, booze, and bocce ball! Amazing friends, food and fun. It was a great way to show off my backyarding skills and warm my new house!
Monthly Archives: July 2013
Patio Day Bed
Okay, this one took me a few days off to complete. I have a large covered patio that I wanted to fill with something large. I wanted something to lay on and read a book, curl up with a blanket and glass of wine and listen to the rain, or take a long afternoon nap. Boom. Patio day bed.
I sketched up an idea and showed it to a friend. I knew I could figure it out, but it went way easier with a buddy. Here’s my sketch.
So you can see it’s a pretty basic design. I wanted mine 4’x6’x18″ to fill the space but I would recommend buying foam pieces first and then building to suit the foam. Time to get sawing!
We used the miter saw from the tool library and 3″ outdoor nails and screws. Once we figured out the measurements, it was a piece of cake.
An impromptu dance party was held to ensure structural soundness. Now that the bones are done, it’s time to make it look pretty. I picked up some salvaged wood from the Rebuilding Center in different shades and thicknesses for the facade and some corrugated fiberglass for the two exposed sides.
I searched high and low for cheap foam. Called scrap stores. Looked online. Trolled craigslist. Found two twin memory foam mattresses for $20 each and that was a steal, but not quite enough. I had to cut them in half and run them through the washing machine because they were covered in dog hair.
So, I finally broke down and bought 3″ foam padding from Joann Fabric. I had 2 – 50% off coupons and one layer of 4’x6’x3″ came to be about $80 with the coupons. I glued all the foam together with the high density on bottom and the memory foam on top. All together, 5″ of foam and $120. (This is why I suggest getting foam first and building to suit.)
I made a permanent slip cover to keep it all together out of an old duvet cover I wasn’t using anymore. Then, I made the visible cover for the foam. It overlaps on the bottom so there was no need for zipper or clasp. I taught myself how to sew and have no technical idea what I’m doing most of the time but it usually works out. I map it out in my head, start cutting fabric, piece it together, rarely use pins, and then plow threw the stitching. So I can’t really explain what I did here. Apologies. Got some pillows from Goodwill that I ran whole through the washing machine and laid out in the sun to dry. Here’s the finished product.
Went to the Portland Nursery to get some new plants for a raised bed in the backyard. If you’re ever interested in getting specific plants for areas of the yard, I would definitely recommend going to an expert. The people there were super helpful and got me all the gear and knowledge necessary.
I went home with 2 species of Dahlia’s which enjoy a lot of sun and moist soil which is perfect for this particular spot in my backyard. Also got some rosemary for a separate tin tub and some good soil.
Weeds (The uncool kind)
Weeds be like can’t stop, won’t stop. It’s annoying. Those jerky weeds just keep on creeping into my yard even though I verbally abuse them constantly. It’s time to step the abuse up to a more physical level.
Had to buy some gardening gloves and went to work ripping them out of the side yard, which is also a dog run.
As you can see from the pictures, I have to rig up garden hose in the front yard and connect another hose over the fence to water the back yard because there’s not a spigot back there. It’s kinda lame.
While looking for outdoor furniture on my favorite website, craigslist, I found a lady who sells huge electrical spools. Since I had the day off, I decided to drive the 30 minutes to Battle Ground, WA to check it out. Found one that was the perfect size for an outdoor table to use by my fireplace. She didn’t think it would fit in my car, but I showed her!
Got it home safely, even though my gate was not closed or tied down. It was totally safe, don’t worry about it. Bought a grey wood stain for $5 at Home Depot to make it look weathered and seal it.
Finished product looks really sweet. I can even pop and umbrella in the center to protect my delicate skin and sensibilities if I so desire. Total cost $45.
Portland is the most amazing place in the world. Seriously. Obviously I love the amount of weirdness (like the guy who rides a unicycle and plays bagpipes dressed as Santa and Darth Vader,) the fact that brunch is an art form (bacon Bloody Mary, anyone?) and the constant electricity of people actually *doing* things (after a couple bacon Bloody Mary’s, of course.) But, the Tool Library is a very special breed of place that can only exist in a town that is dedicated to activism, volunteerism, community, and general cheapskatery.
I need a saw to make my daybed and I don’t want to buy one just to use on the rare occasion that I decide to make something that cannot be cut with sharp scissors. So, I decide to check it out.
The Tool Library is a backroom with no windows in the side of a church that also hosts yoga classes and organ lessons in their respective backrooms. It’s open for two hours on Tuesday nights and Saturday mornings. You have to provide an ID and mail that proves that you live in the area. This gives you rights to borrow anything you want for a week. If you don’t bring it back within that 7 days, you pay a fine of $1-$2 depending on the tool you borrow. Uh, awesome! They have tools for gardening, automotive, contracting, and general home maintenance. I choose a miter saw and a long extension cord.
This might not seem like a huge milestone or something that should be new to anyone who is (cough) 30 years old. But it’s new to me, so shut your mouth.
My mom was nice enough to gift me her old electric lawn mower which is perfect because filling a gas can and doing that whole thing seems really lame. Mowing a lawn with an electric mower is kinda like vacuuming. You gotta take care to not run over your cord and the you can never seem to get close enough to the wall.
I might’ve waited to long and the grass was crazy high. So high, it wasn’t getting sucked into the bag. Just laying damp in grass-stainy clumps on the ground which may or may not have ruined my Nike Cortez’s.
July – Backyarding
Okay. Okay. I know I haven’t updated you folk for a while. Here’s the rundown of my last few months. I bought a house, moved into it, and, uh… well that’s pretty much it. It’s pretty freaking time consuming, ya know.
So, this month is all about getting my backyard furnished and learning how to care for the slew of greenery that the previous owners were kind enough to cultivate for me. I have mowed a lawn maybe once in my life and have killed more plants than I’ve saved. So, I should probably learn how to, at the very least, keep these things from dying.
Goals this month: Make a daybed for my patio. Mow the lawn and keep it from dying. Plant an herb garden. Get my outdoor fireplace working. Get table and chairs for the fire pit. Buy a grill and use it. Figure out outdoor speaker system and lighting.