Posts Tagged ‘balcony’

Terrarium DIY

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Growing up in the desert, we had a variety of succulent plants and cacti growing in our yard. I always thought they looked so beautiful and structured. In DC, however, the atmosphere is much more conducive to flowers and greenery (which does not last long in the dry southern Utah heat) so it is rare to see desert plants. But I managed to bring a little bit of Utah to our balcony with these easy, desert terrariums.

I picked up a few potted succulent plants from the farmer’s market for about $3.

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Next, I filled the bottom of a wide glass vase with rocks (for water drainage). I found this vase for a few dollars at a discount home goods store.

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I topped the rocks with potting soil.

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I placed my plant into the vase. Ideally you want to plant it at the same depth it was growing in the pot (mine is a little high in this vase).

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The farmer told me to water these plants about once a week, maybe even longer if the soil is still moist. This little guy is very low-maintenance.

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And there you have it. A little bit of the desert on our urban patio.

Project Balcony

Friday, June 1st, 2012

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A few weeks ago, I set out to revamp our balcony, while sticking to a budget. After a lot of planning, and multiple trips to home depot, the space is finally finished and I couldn’t be happier with the results. I so wish I had a few “before” shots so that the transformation could be truly appreciated! We have such a great space but we simply weren’t using it because it was so uninviting (nothing but two large tables, flimsy plastic chairs, and a cooler, seriously). But now that it has been transformed into a relaxing outdoor retreat, we use the balcony every day.

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So, having finished the overhaul, here are my tips for deck-orating (couldn’t resist):

First, come up with a game plan. I put a lot of thought into the layout of the space and I tried to think about how I saw us using it. We have a very large balcony and initially set up tables thinking we would frequently dine al fresco. This turned out not to be the case. Like, maybe once did we eat outside. So this time around, I wanted to create more of a conversational atmosphere where we could relax with a glass of wine and chat after work. I imagined a bistro table with a sitting area under the window. Once you have a game plan and a rough sketch of the design it is time to make a few purchases.

Budget. I set a budget of $400 for the entire project. That seemed big enough to cover a table and chairs, bench, and flowers while still being realistic. I love being resourceful on projects like this and I think I could have done the revamp for less, but I was on a deadline and being resourceful takes more time and energy than I had in this case.

So once you’re ready to buy, it’s time to hit up craigslist. In the past I have had a lot of luck with craigslist finds, so that was the first place I turned. I’ve found the best strategy is to go on the site with something specific in mind, so as to not get distracted/overwhelmed. I knew I wanted a bistro set and some kind of bench, and I found a few good options, but nothing perfect. The key to craigslist is patience, but in this case, I was anxious to complete the project. So I went to home depot.

One quick city-specific side note. Doing a project like this in a city, without a car, is a beast. Because of this, I did a lot of research and found furniture options from websites that offer free shipping. Before heading to the depot, I found back-up options online, which gave me good price points and helped me stick to my budget. For instance, I found this bench and this bistro, both offering free shipping (not to mention I had one of those 20% off coupons for BB&B). Fortunately, Matthew and Laura were kind enough to lend us their car for an afternoon, so we avoided the online route, but the research made all the difference because I knew what I wanted and how much I was willing to spend.

We ended up purchasing everything from home depot. The Adirondack chairs were a total score at $36 each and the wodden end table was $12. We stained/weather-proofed them ourselves, which was quite the eye-opener since I learned I am not great with a paint brush (tip: stain them after assembly to ensure all the visible parts get covered). The tiled bistro table was $99 and the chairs were $19 each and we spent about $150 on pots, planters, and flowers. Finally, we converted a glass table that was already on the balcony into a grill station in the corner. We went a little over budget due to additional costs (pillows, broom, stain and brushes, watering can, zip ties, etc.), but Suj saved the budget by stepping in and buying the tile table when I was leaning towards the much cheaper metal version. So glad he did, I simply love that table.

I couldn’t be happier with the results and I am thrilled that we been spending the past few evenings on the balcony. Mission accomplished.

busy week!

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

This has been a crazy week and a few things (ahem, this blog) have been a little neglected. Good news is the balcony is finished and it looks amazing! (Post to come!) Now I am getting ready to visit Tennessee for the holiday weekend. I am so excited to see my good friends, Laura and Matthew, get hitched! I am also looking forward to staying at a haunted hotel in Chattanooga and then a quick trip to Nashville.   For now, here are a few things I have been enjoying in DC:

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{sneak peek at the new balcony}
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{Erin’s famous banana bread}
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{empty park in front of the white house}