Front Patio Makeover: Mulch, Mulch, and more Mulch

After weeks and months of shoveling gravel and pulling up roots and stumps, which I previously talked about in my last post Getting in Touch with the Great Outdoors and Spiders, I finally had a flat dirt surface to work with and clean patio slab and stepping stones. So now the back breaking work was over, or so I thought, and the expensive part of the project was about to start.


After years of being covered by a thick woody succulent hedge the small wall separating my patio from the condo complex’s common areas, looked pretty rough. The hedge which should never have been planted in such a small area had even pushed the wall out of place in one spot, which is a common problem I’ve seen around my condo. My dad cleaned the wall up for me, patched the damaged area as best he could, and painted the stucco. Then one very hot weekend he helped me put down new weed blocking fabric and just enough mulch to help keep the fabric down.

I had decided I wanted to go with rubber mulch, which is made out of recycled tires. It tends to be a little more expensive than regular mulch but is ecofriendly and I’ve been told holds up much longer. I wanted my patio area to have a clean and simple look, so I had decided I wanted to plant things in just a few pots to keep things decorative and easy to maintain. I wanted three pots and one large wood barrel which was going to hold a small lime tree. Finding the right pots however was something I had been searching high and low for. I finally found some good ones at Lowes but I foolishly decided to go get them by myself, they were supper heavy and of course no one apparently works at Lowes so I had to muscle them into my cart and the back of my car alone. Then I spent a day putting out more mulch, moving the pots, and relocating these heavy stones I had on my back patio. Which I later very much regretted trying to do by myself, lets just say I ended up having some strange bruises which were hard to explain.

Then it was time to do some planting. I really wanted sweet broom to plant in my pots but could not find it anywhere and then was told by our local nursery that sweet broom wasn’t the best for pots because it gets so big. I settled with some autumn sage I found at home depot and got a cute little dwarf lime tree from a nursery. My parents helped me plant these. The first few months were a struggle, California was and still is experiencing a drought and temperatures were soaring taking their toll on my poor lime tree. But it survived and I am happy to report produces some really fantastic limes.

The last step was moving in some furniture. I found these great white Adirondack chairs at World Market, I have had trouble ordering large items from World Market before (they have a screwy return process if your items arrive damaged) but I took my chances since they had the best deal. I paired that with a white punched drum stool I actually also bought at World Market almost a year earlier which had been sitting in my bedroom just waiting for the patio to be finished. Throw in some colorful pillows and some solar jar lights I got from Pottery Barn and transformation complete…. well almost.

With my patio looking fabulous I realized there was one very sore thumb I needed to address… my front door.


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