Sunday, September 16, 2012

Let's Take This Outside...

The past couple of weeks we have been busy tending to the outside of our house.  Being a new homeowner, I had no idea the effort it takes to create and maintain an appealing landscape.  Not to mention we are the proud owners of a HUGE deck that was badly in need of stain.  Here's what we've been up to:

(1) Staining the Deck:  Since the deck has been up for a while, it was time to think about staining it.  There are a lot of stain products out there, but with the guidance of our paint contractor we selected Behr Premium Ultra stain in Mushroom.  This is a semi-transparent stain that allows some of the wood stain to show through.  Due to the size and height of the deck it was almost impossible for us to conquer this project ourselves....but I had a lot of fun watching the contractors swing from our deck as they applied the stain with a combination of rollers and spray guns.  Here are the results:

I must say that I agonized over the color...only to find that it ended up looking brown :)  My advice is to test your stain choice on a wood sample similar in type and color to your deck.  The stain colors in the store looked very different once applied.

(2) Adding to the Landscape:  Ryan Homes provided us with a basic landscape....sod (in front and on the sides), a few shrubs and 2 flowering mini trees.  This was a good start, but I thought we could liven things up with by adding some color.  We decided on these low maintenance plants:  Tropicana Black (large burgundy tinged plants) and multi colored Pansies.  We also removed the pine needles that came with our original landscape (I'm from the North and had never seen these before) and replaced them with Preen Black Mulch.  Hopefully the mulch will provide more of a weed barrier than the pine needles did.  Here are the results:


We plan on adding a few more Tropicana and bags of mulch next weekend to fill in the bare spaces.  It's amazing how just adding a few plants and swapping out the mulch has dramatically improved our curb appeal (see here for a before shot of the front yard).  There are great resources out there if you are a newbie like me planning a landscape.  I relied heavily on Better Homes and Garden's landscape planning tool at  Let's just hope I can keep these plants alive until the Spring! 

What are other folks in the RH blogosphere doing to beautify the outside of your new homes?


  1. We've been so busy inside....whew! I have discussed a few ideas with the landscape company that cuts our grass. Ryan planted many evergreen bushes in the front, I plan on taking most of them out. They are just too you mentioned the need for color is a must. Since the summer is over, we'll tackle that project next spring. For now, I'm looking forward to adding some Halloween decorations and planning for my favorite time....Christmas!

  2. Great Job btw, it looks really great!! Wonderful curb appeal!

  3. Wow what a great deck!!! Your added landscaping is great. I think that's what I was trying to figure out the other day looking at our house "what's missing??" and it's COLOR! I by no means enjoy plants or gardening but I know I will enjoying improving the look of our yard so I can't wait to get my hands dirty.

  4. I think what that dark mulch really does is brings out the accents of your shutters and your door, and it looks fantastic!. No idea why in the world they would have thought pine needles were a great landscaping base, but a weed barrier and a few bags of mulch later you're in much better shape! :)

  5. The landscaping looks great!! Nice job! Thanks for the tip on the deck. We will have a composite deck walnut flooring and white fence, but the legs will still be wood which I do not like. My plan is to create stain them. I will take your tip and do a small stain sample color on each leg to see which color works. :-)

  6. What stunning landscaping! I appreciate the tips and information you provided. It makes me excited to see possibilities!