Big project this weekend!

We haven’t done much with our house this summer, aside from a few decorative things that I keep meaning to take a picture of so I can post about it. Mostly, our house is just incredibly messy and I keep saying that I need to just go through and do a major decluttering.

My parents are here this weekend and they love doing house projects. I appreciate the motivation, so I came up with a big project: painting the back of our house and our shed.

Where the porch was


We are painting them the same color, the green that is the same as the rest of the house. I hope this will make the shed not feel so big and in-the-way! Today we rented a pressure washer and cleaned the shed and the siding, which has made quite a difference. I think I might keep an eye out for pressure washers on Craigslist because I could see it being quite a useful tool!

Tomorrow we are going to attempt to get as much of the junk off the siding as possible around our sliding glass door. As you can see from the picture above, there is a lot of stuff leftover from when the porch was put on the house. We guessed the porch was put on at LEAST 20 years ago (based on what the neighbors have told us), and more likely it was more like 30 years ago. They used something similar to Liquid Nails it appears, and even pressure washing didn’t make it budge. We talked to the guys at Home Depot and they recommended an old fashioned scraper and sand paper, at least to get it off enough to make the paint stick to it. That will be the project tomorrow, and Monday will be painting day. As you can see, it’s quite a big painting job so we’re going to rent a professional paint sprayer to make our day easier. I plan to paint the entire shed green, and the trim (the parts around the door that are currently brown) will be painted white to match the house.

I am excited! We need to call the landscaper and schedule their return to grade our yard and plant grass back there. That’s next on the agenda and will have to be done by November 15th I believe (before it gets too cold), but I need to look at our finances first and make sure that we’re still okay to move forward with this project.

Oh, in addition to pressure washing today, we also spent a lot of time in the yard. Paul weed-whacked, my dad raked, and I mowed. Our yard looks great! We still need to bag the leaves and pine straw, but already it is looking so much better. I would like to see the area under the magnolia tree cleaned up a bit, but other than that I’m really pleased with how it all is turning out.

Pictures to come!


Making it look like someone actually lives here

Our backyard is trashy. Most of the time I don’t notice it, but every once in a while I’ll look at it and realize how bad it actually looks! It’s especially bad right now as our lawn mower is still broken (argh) so we haven’t mowed the weeds at all.

Our next door neighbors moved out and the house is up for sale. As a refresher, our backyard is kinda at a weird angle and our house overlooks their backyard. You can see a layout here. We have a chain-link fence that (mostly) follows our property line, and they have a cinder block wall just a few feet away from our fence. The land between is technically on their property, and was completely overgrown. When the landscapers came to look at our backyard, they said that all that underbrush was contributing to our mosquito problem.

When we found out that the house next door was empty, we realized that here was our chance to clean up the space that was technically on their land. Paul has been working hard this weekend to clean it up!
The underbrush

Carrying branches to the pile

A huge pile

Can you believe Paul cleared out this much already? It’s worth it, though! It’s really looking good!

Looking good!

Also, if you notice in the first picture, there is black piping that runs from the neighbor’s gutters, goes underground, and comes out here. The water has been diverting straight into our backyard. Yay. Once Paul cleared out the underbrush, he was able to straighten the pipe out and send the water to the creek in the back. He didn’t get the entire area cleaned up, but he got a significant portion – enough to hopefully make a difference in the mosquitoes. If nothing else, it looks better!

Here is what the area looks like now.

Looking a tiny bit better

As you see, the fence posts are still up but the chain link is down. We’re hoping that the landscapers will be able to remove the fenceposts. If I remember correctly, that was something that they built into the original estimate (all the landscapers are running together – can’t remember which ones said they would do that).

It’s starting to look better, but the difference will be amazing come June. In the meantime, we still need to remove all the non-organic trash (except for the concrete and cinder blocks – the landscapers will remove those). More long range plans include painting the siding, fixing the gutters, and overall just making the backyard a more pleasant place to hang out instead of an abandoned house. :-)


clean-up, part 2 – pictures!

I wrote about how we cleaned up our yard about a month ago here.

Unfortunately, I don’t really have any before pictures, except for this one. This is the front flower bed with the cement in it:

My dad helped us dig up all the cement, and then we got rid of the pieces that day that we cleaned it all up. Here is the after picture that I took with my cell phone:
Our cement-free front flowerbed!

As you can see, we still need to sift all the stones and tiny pieces of cement. But, it’s getting there!! The day after I took the pictures, it rained and our flower bed becomes a pond when that happens! (As does the rest of our yard.) So… I guess we’ll have to figure out what to do about that before I can plant flowers. There is another flower bed on the other side of the front door that still has cement. Someday I’ll tackle that one. Someday, someday…

I wish I had a before shot of our backyard! But here is the “after” picture:
Our backyard - cleaned up!

The trash was all piled high towards the left. Afterwards, I raked the whole backyard:
Our backyard - raked for the first time in 6 months!

I know, it looks less impressive when you don’t know what it looked like before. :-) Our Bagster bag after we were done:
The Bagster bag with all our junk

We couldn’t pile it higher than the sides of the bag, or we would have put a LOT more stuff inside. :-) It’s good to get rid of everything we did, though! It really made a world of difference in our yard.



Originally posted at twentysixcats.com

It’s finally warming up here in Atlanta, it seems! I am so glad! I hope the warm weather is here to stay. I have been itching to get outdoors!

On Saturday, we helped some friends move. Paul switched his work schedule so he’d get Saturday off (and work Sunday instead). I was glad that we were able to both be there, because we were the only ones who showed up to help! One by one, all the other people had things come up and weren’t able to make it. Our friends were totally cool about it though – I would have been freaking out! Paul and Doug loaded the truck with all the furniture, and I put Savannah on my back and helped Christine load the smaller boxes.

Helping friends move

We stopped for pizza after loading, and then our friends decided to call some movers to help unload, especially because they were moving to an apartment on the second floor. So, we got there and watched the movers easily unload the truck in half the time! Paul said he was glad that he didn’t have to unload too because his muscles had about reached their end.

When we got home on Saturday, we found a citation on our door for the trash in our carport and yard. When the previous owners moved out, they left a ton of junk that we didn’t know what to do with, so we piled it up where we could. Then we added our own trash. After 6 months, it had gotten looking bad so I don’t blame them for citing us. They gave us until the 9th (today) to clean it all up.

Since Paul had to work on Sunday, we didn’t get a chance to work on it until yesterday. We bought a thing called a Bagster, which is a big bag like a dumpster (but a bit smaller), and you fill it up with junk/debris, and then call a company and they come take it away. It seemed to be the best way to get rid of the junk financially. Yesterday, we filled that thing and didn’t even get everything in it! Here are some of the things we put it in:

  • Shortly after we bought the house, the wind pulled the storm door in our back door off its hinges and smashed it to the ground. A million pieces of glass went everywhere. I had to pick up all that glass!
  • Our county has a low-flow water law, so we had to replace one of the toilets when we bought the house. The other toilet has been sitting in our backyard since then. I thought about try to give it away on Craigslist, but I’m glad I didn’t try because when we moved it yesterday we discovered that the back had cracked and broken.
  • The previous owners thought it best to cement over the flower bed in the front of the house. And not even nice cement like a sidewalk… but cement mixed with rocks spread unevenly around and looking horrible! Weeds had sprung up regardless. My dad helped pull all the cement up and we threw all those pieces in the Bagster. I hope to mulch it and make it look nice again! (Maybe one day I’ll attempt flowers, but I don’t want to get too carried away!)
  • Miscellaneous trash and debris we found in the backyard, most of it garden related. There were tons of empty plastic bags of potting soil, plastic cups from seeds, and broken plastic plant pots strewn around. Also random things like one piece of a rusty bedframe, cable, a few pieces of chain link, etc.

We worked for 4 hours yesterday. At one point, a friend watched Savannah so we both could focus on the yard. After filling the bagster, I raked the entire backyard. It needed it! It looks 1000 times better. As we were working in the yard, we kept coming up with ideas of things we wanted to do. It’s going to be a lot of work to get it just looking nice (and I’m not talking landscaping!). There are tons of branches and of course all the leaves and pine straw, not to mention pinecones and whatever the pinecone equivalent that comes from a magnolia tree. Oh and the more time I spend in the yard the more I really want to move the shed out of the backyard. :-) It really takes so much room! But I can’t for the life of me figure out how we’d get it out of there without a LOT of work.

We cleared all the stuff that the citation asked us to, and we called and scheduled a pickup of the Bagster. We didn’t get all the junk cleared out, though. Our sunporch is still full of stuff that we need to get rid of – namely, carpet. We aren’t quite sure what to do about that at this point. One option is to try and fit it all on my sister’s truck when she’s visiting next week, and take it to the local dump. I’d really like to get it out of here! Now that the weather is nicer, it would be great to use the sunporch.

I was going to take some pictures but my camera is out of battery. Oh well! I will try to take them tomorrow before the wind blows the leaves back over the ground and it doesn’t look awesome anymore. :-)