Thursday, July 15, 2010

Curb appeal

Our front steps are in desperate need of a new paint job.
I figure as long as I'm out there, I should paint the porch foundation as well.  See that white splotch above right?  How about here?

Not sure why the last person to paint this decided to change colors there.  But it is symmetrical on both sides of the porch!  You just can't see that in the picture because of the overgrown azalea bush in too small a space.

I was in a pruning war with the azalea--cutting it back bit by bit, encouraging it to fill out from the base, be smaller, and not totally take over the stairs.  I was winning the war, but the fact is, it was never going to look good there. 

Painting presented the perfect excuse to just get rid of the bush--I couldn't possibly paint the porch with the azalea still there--it touching the cement in far too many places, and too close to just tie it back.

This was on the "oh, I'll get around to it one of these days.  Maybe when it's cooler.  Maybe October," list, until I found some great cheap dwarf sunflowers at Home Depot, that I knew would look much better in that spot than that azalea.  I bought the sunflowers, and moved the azalea extraction to the top of the to-do list.

The real stroke of genius was when I recruited P to help.  Here's my idea of how an azalea should be removed:
After all, it's what I made my father do on his last visit.

Here's P's idea of how to "git 'er done."  Step 1:

Step 2:

Step 3:

Step 4: Repeat x2.  Turns out that azalea was three separate bushes.  No wonder it was bursting at the seams and taking over the stairs.

Step 5:
(Yup, he's airborne.)

I think this root ball P pulled out perfectly illustrates how thoroughly the azaleas were wedged into this space, and why trying to paint around them just wasn't an option:

Where, might you ask, is the wife?  Happily sitting on the stairs, offering pointers.  "Oh, here's another root!"  This arrangement turned out to be surprisingly agreeable to both of us--P was surprised that I wasn't bored, and I was surprised that he wasn't annoyed that I wasn't pulling my weight.  Or doing anything at all.  (I did take a brief break from the sitting to dig up the sage plant located to the right side of the stairs, and move it to a different spot.)

Instead of planting the dwarf sunflowers in the ground, we put them into some large pots.  I've had these for years--P gave them to me for my birthday one year, back when I was living in an apartment that was begging for a balcony garden.  Putting the sunflowers in here gives them a bit of loft and a bit more presence in the landscape, plus will make it much easier for me to paint. That is, whenever the magic combination of cooler temperatures, dry weather, free time and inclination arise.

So that's where we currently are.  I think much more needs to happen for us to have a nice, welcoming entryway, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.


The Zhush said...

Absolutely a step in the right direction...can really see the potential here now, good luck! :)

Marie said...

I love P's ingenuity and out-of-the-box thinking (at least out-of-the-box for me). That is why a team is better than solo - even if one of the team members is sitting on the step.