Friday, April 27, 2012

Pinterest Inspired Front Porch Projects--Part 2

In my last post, I gave you the 4-1-1 on why we waited 6 years to add some curb appeal to our home.  You can read that here.  That post also talks about the sweet little bench we made using an old headboard.  We love us some re-purposing around here!
Our front porch is odd.  You can't even really call it a front porch but it's bigger that a stoop so by default it's a porch.  The odd thing about it is that the concrete pad ends just past the front door.  We also have a storm door (that we'll soon replace with an old-fashioned screen door) so with that open you can't put arrangements or plants on either side of the door.  I'm a symmetry kind of gal, I've had to learn to let it go.  It's just not going to work and I know this because I've tried to make it work for 6 years.  There is a huge space between the door and the front window where the bench lives now so we've decided that any plant/arrangement/vignette would have to go there.  I'll show you what I mean:
The light in the top left hand side of the picture is our front porch light and just a bit further over is the door.  I like the idea of being able to change this one area to fit the seasons or holidays because it's not terribly taxing or expensive to do so.  I saw a project over on Pinterest (you know I love me some Pinterest) and unlike the bench photos that sat on my "Making a House Into a Home" board for nearly a year, I had full intentions of doing this as soon as possible.  You can see the inspiration project here.  Seriously, I looked at it and thought "How hard could it be?"  Famous last words?  Possibly.
First of all, I started off with plastic pots.  They were a pretty spring green, but I wanted them to be black to match the bench so I sprayed them with a a couple of coats of Fusion spray paint.  It's specifically made for plastic but you can also use it on wood, etc.  Then I just went into the program I use to edit photos and printed out "Welcome" in a font I liked.  I taped a sheet of graphite paper to the largest pot, positioned the letters over it, and then outlined the letters with a pencil.  I then traced right over it with a paint pen.  Easy peasy.  Since it was likely that water would be getting on the pot (I mean they hold flowers after all) I sprayed a couple of coats of sealer over "Welcome" to make it a bit more durable.
The inspiration project calls for terracotta pots.  I don't have good luck with terracotta pots at all and I wanted them black to go with the bench and terracotta is a pain to paint because it soaks the paint in like a sponge. Do yourself a huge favor and either use terracotta pots or find pots that have a drainage hole in the bottom like terracotta pots have.  I didn't think about it when I bought them but they are necessary because you'll use a dowel rod through the pots to give it some stability.  No holes in the pots means I spent nearly an hour yesterday cutting holes in the bottom of the pots.  How awesome am I?  Pretty awesome.
In addition to the three or four pots you'll use for your tower, you also need three additional pots to use as lifts.  So in other words, if the pots you'll see are 14", 12", 10" and 8", you'll also need additional 12", 10", and 8" pots to use as lifts (and I'll refer to these as lift pots).  You'll also need a 3 foot dowel rod in addition to the potting soil and plants.  Let me just say that these are the sizes we used and that the smaller pot sizes worked for us.  You may want to give it a try in the store in case you have to move down to smaller diameter pots.
I'm going to describe this using the sizes we used.  As with any project, if you have a question just shoot me an email or ask in the comments and I'll try to help you out!  We placed the 14" pot on the ground and then flipped one of the12" pots upside down and put it into the 14" pot.  Then we placed a 12" pot right side up on top of the that.  We placed a 10" pot upside down in that pot and then placed a 10" pot right side up on top of that.  Then the 8" goes upside down and another 8" on top right side up.  We slid the dowel rod through the middle and marked where to cut it and Barry just cut it to size very quickly with the circular saw.
Now, disassemble the tower.  Trust me--DISASSEMBLE but leave the lift pots inside the pots you've put them in.  Every tutorial I saw online for this kind of project had you filling the pots while the tower was assembled and it makes the biggest mess ever.  I was COVERED in potting soil after attempting to fill just the first one.
So, take the 14" pot with the 12" lift pot upside down in it and slide the dowel rod through the hole.  Fill the pot with potting soil leaving the bottom of the 12" lift pot uncovered.  Slide the other 12" pot with the 10" lift pot upside down inside of it down on top of it so that the bottoms are touching.  You may have to add a handful or two of potting soil to cover up that line.  Fill the 12" pot with soil, leaving the bottom the 10" lift pot uncovered.  Follow the same steps for the other two pots.
You should now have an assembled tower with a dowel rod through the middle for stability.  We cut the dowel rod about two inches longer than the bottom of the top pot so that it didn't poke out of the top of the flower pots and still gave room for the plants in the top pot to grow.
Now, for the plants.  You'll notice that there isn't a whole lot of room to plant something with a big root system so you'll want to choose plants that will work for the amount of sun the area gets but will also be small enough to plant.  I correctly assumed that plants you can buy in the small 6 packs would work best.  I used impatiens and vinca in the bottom three pots and I used pentas and mint in the top pot.  I think it will look great when it's all filled in.  And if it doesn't, well, they're annuals so I can try to do better next year.  Here's the finished project just after planting.

I love that you get a little whiff of mint every time you walk up to the door!  (The metal piece in the first photo was purchased at Hobby Lobby several years ago and used to live in A's nursery.) 

Peace and Love, Jen

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