On March 29 I'm going to be hosting The Phoenix Garden Party, brought to you by The Home Depot Garden Club. There's going to be all sorts of fun happening at the event - a personal chef and a professional gardener both teaching great classes and offering Q&A. And I'll be there to take some of the classes, too. Come hang out and eat and learn and get your hands dirty!

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In preparation for the garden party, I've been doing some updates to the little side porch area that I started decorating last summer and never finished. I LOVE how just a few small changes to this space made with paint and a few new plants have made a huge impact on the overall look! Here's what we did:
You might remember how before, the porch swing was this bright blue color. I liked the color, but it was looking a little circus-y out front with the red door and the bit of blue from the music room popping out behind the windows. Since my goal in life is to not be the crazy neighbor, the blue had to go.

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Plus the tannins from the knots were starting to peek through the latex paint the seller had painted it before I bought it. Nothing a little oil-based painted can't tackle!

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We used a quart of low-lustre oil-based paint in BM's Chelsea Gray and I LOVE the finish. It's not glossy at all, but it has a really beautiful furniture-like finish. Similar to what the Advance line produces, but oil-based is about as hard-wearing as it gets. It's a great option for painting floors if you don't want a glossy look.

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After the first coat of paint, we caulked the gaps in the planks and the look is much cleaner on the seat now.

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It makes me so, so excited to get our house painted. Brown be gone! :)

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Do you spy my little pride and joy kumquat trees here? I bought two at Home Depot and potted them in my chalky black planters (the same ones we had on our back balcony in Brooklyn) and flanked the porch with them.

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They're so pretty. :) I think I probably laid it on too thick when I told the girls not to pick the fruit. I heard Evie telling the neighbor kids that "my mom will cry if you pick her baby, baby oranges."

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I planted the most delicious-smelling honeysuckle at the tree bases as ground cover. I'm obsessed with the idea. Honeysuckle > dirt.

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Also, I couldn't stand the green vinyl stake ties so I used a little nylon cording left over from the cleaning buckets project to replace the ugly with pretty.

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I've been able to keep these alive and happy for a couple weeks now (!) and I feel like some of that has to do with putting rocks in the bottom of the planters to help with drainage. I always either overwater or underwater. whoops.

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Is there a prettier color combo than gray and bright, clear orange?

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I took off the nasty old hose roller thing that was hanging on the brick before and picked up this cool bowl that's made to be a hose-keeper. It has a hole in the back of the bowl for feeding the last bit of the hose through, so you have just enough to reach the spigot. I love it and it makes it super simple to pull out and to corral the hose.

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My vintage Homecrest chairs that I picked up at Junk in Williamsburg finally got a makeover! GOLD!!! 

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Before they were sort of just rusty ivory?

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My beloved Design Masters spray paint came to my rescue again and I wasn't disappointed :)

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The finish isn't perfect, but that's more about the condition of the chairs than anything else. I like that they show their age though, I don't want them to look brand new. The white chairs were refinished and powder coated by a craigslist seller and they look almost too perfect :) I guess the combination of the chair pairs works though.

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I did buy new outdoor pillows for the white chairs, but rather than buying new cushions for the gold chairs, we spruced up the old ones with some little hot pink tassels I made from nylon cording and a little bit of wire. Cute right?

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I also taped off the edges and sprayed the center third with just regular old white spray paint. I thought the paint would sit on top of the cushion a little more thickly, but it sort of just absorbed in a cool way.

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I loved the subtle color difference.

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Between the pairs of chairs I put the little antique faux bois table base I found in the backyard of the brownstone that the landlord gave me. I love it and I love her (Hi, Sally!). I found a little table at a thrift store for just a couple bucks and the marble top works perfectly on the faux bois base.

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I got a new bowl planter for the brick wall and planted pretty morning glories.

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I also brought a pair of ficus trees I had in the back yard out to the front porch. I am so crazy about the drippy planters!

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I planted some Mexican sage in there too. The little blooms are such a pretty pop of cobalt!

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Anyway, lots of fun changes to the side porch! I'm ready to tackle more of our yard, but I think I want to wait until after the garden party. :) I feel like a bit of a novice in this area, so a little know-how and confidence will go far! If you're interested in coming on the 29th, feel free to RSVP here. I'd really love to meet you!

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