A Few Quick Front Porch Updates

Last October we transformed our porch into a spooky display complete with pumpkins, spiders, and creepy branches (read about that here). Well, this summer we sorta achieved the same thing by accident. But more in an “is this house abandoned?” way. Here’s what I mean:

Our best excuse is that caring for a newborn resulted in us neglecting the porch plantings, meaning we got dead bush…

…after dead bush…

…after so-dead-that-the-squirrels-must’ve-taken-it-and-given-it-a-proper-burial bush.

It’s embarrassing, we know. So we bucked up and finally decided to rectify the situation. Not just for ourselves, but also to earn back some of our curb appeal for the whole Project Sell This House initiative. And all it really took was a quick trip to Home Depot to grab some colorful plants (two mums, a pansy, and a hosta to be exact):

The mums were for the two big square planters on either side. So the first step was to say good riddance to the old somehow-they-turned-orange boxwoods that used to live there. Sayonara suckers.

Now here’s where I normally would’ve dug in the new plant. However, we’ve realized that plants on this porch will inevitably have an expiration date. They don’t get much sunlight nor any water thanks to the roof above (although we do our best to water them ourselves), so we agreed it’d be silly to waste our time trying to establish a permanent bush again. Hence the reason we snagged this seasonal mum in a square container (see where I’m going with this?) so that we can just plop the thing right in over the leftover dirt, planter and all…

Voila. Instant update. And it can now easily be swapped out for other planter-ready pot when the seasons change (by us if we’re still here or by the new homeowner if we’ve already moved).

Plus because it’s still in the original container, we can easily take them out and place them on the lawn in the sun every once in a while to help keep them happy since the porch is such a shady place.

So anyway, with the mums just dropped in (which took about ten seconds), I did take the time to dig in the other plants since I wasn’t going to be able to pull off the same trick in those other containers. But they were small enough that it took almost no time. And I can also place them out in the sun a few times a week to keep them looking perky (and opposed to dead).

Then we gave the porch a good sweep to freshen it up a bit. Happily our painted stripes from last spring are still going strong and showing nearly no wear and tear, which is nice since we feared that the light colors might end up looking dingy. And after sweep-fest 2010, just like that we were back in business. No more unintentionally creepy porch.

It’s amazing how under $35 in plants (the mums were $12 each, the rest were $10-ish total) freed us from our previous porch shame.

We even proudly introduced ourselves to a neighbor the other day by saying “we’re the house with the yellow flowers on the porch.” Hey, it beats “we’re the house with the dead orange bushes.”

What’s the deal with your porch – or your front entryway in general? Anyone else with curb appeal shame going on? Or do you also have mums in action in an attempt to keep things looking good?


  1. bria says

    I am a plant murderer -inside in out. Its actually pretty depressing. I love plants I just can’t seem to get it right! Except for bamboo. bamboo and I are friends.

  2. says

    The new flowers look great! I am a total plant killer! I somehow managed to make our succulent (the one plant we have that isn’t a cactus) look very, very sad recently. Hopefully it’ll perk back up…

  3. Stacy says


    What is your outside home maintenance? Do you pressure wash once a year? I thought for sure you would mention spider webs on the porch, which is what my house suffers from. Any tips other than grabbing a broom and “sweeping” the webs?

  4. Nikki says

    Mornin y’all. (Can you tell I’m from Texas?) The porch looks great. I know I have seen a list of where everything in your house came from, but I couldn’t find it today. Where did the white-used-to-be-brown-planters on the porch come from. Thanks.

  5. says

    I love how you spruced up that adorable porch of yours – plants and color make it feel so nice and cozy! An aside, I’m also a HUGE fan of how you did up your spooky porch last year for Halloween (and was inspired this weekend to do the same to mine!). I might go and pick up some mums to top it off – I heart those little flowers!

  6. Kim says

    After having our first child, we became non-potted plant people (inside or out), for the same reasons you are experiencing now! We just enjoy the plants that are IN THE GROUND, AROUND the house, and let mother nature do the rest (we do trim them). You can still use pillows and other accents that don’t need maintenance, and you can freshen things up seasonally with pumpkins, wreaths, etc.

  7. says

    We’re REALLY bad about our porch… mostly because we always forget about it as we use the side door entrance to our home. We freshen it up every now and then but somedays we go out there and it’s scary just like your situation. Ha! One day I went out on the porch and my neighbor was like “hey you know that package has been there for three days!!” I suppose I should venture out there more often…

  8. says

    Curb appeal shame? ::raises hand::

    With the ridiculously hot summer we had, my zinnias shriveled up and died… except for a few adorable buds. Since they still had a lil life in them, I didn’t have the heart to pull them up. But as of this week, they are officially dead and need to go. Buut, I did buy some new planters and doormat this weekend so there is hope!

  9. says

    It is amazing what fresh flowers/plants can do. Love the yellow! Take heart. The house 2 doors from us sold the day before the open house.

  10. Holly says

    We carved pumpkins this weekend which gave our ugly porch some nice bright orange. I would love to geta yellow and Red mum to put by them!
    your porch looks beautiful!

  11. Liz W. says

    Here’s reason #586 I hate living in an apartment… I have a porch, but it’s not the HEY WELCOME TO OUR HOUSE porch. I bought my 6 month old his first pumpkin and put it on my mom’s porch…

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