Just one year ago we closed on this property — with a backyard filled with cement pavers, drastically unleveled by time, tree stumps and ferocious city weeds. I was determined to have a vegetable garden in our little 1,200 square foot plot, especially after enrolling in UMaines Master Gardener Program in York County that ran from January to June.
Spruced up our tired entrance way with a fresh coat of Benjamin Moore Arbor Coat Sea Gull Gray and exterior Fairview Taupe.
The side yard to my home in on Clark Street in Portland’s West End had clearly been under-loved when I purchased the property in July 2014. The yard itself is quite small—measuring 15 feet wide along the brick sidewalk and 35 feet back from the street. It was uninviting, but a few redeeming features included a large maple casting full time shade and beautiful small stone retaining wall. Abutting the property is a small 4-6 car parking lot for the next door apartments. The yard was unkempt; the garden was pitiful; and the view of the asphalt lot was unpalatable. I set out with the goal of transforming the yard into usable space with an inviting layout and bounty of shade-loving plants.
We originally had a above ground swimming pool, we had to reinvent our backyard so brought in fill, leveled it off, installed patio brick, framed the brick with 2X4’s, than boarded that with red mulch and drainage rocks.
Description of Project: We’re residing the house! By Hand! Since buying our home in December 2011 we have tackled a lot of DIY projects. We have rebuilt the front porch, doubled the size of the back deck, built a 12×12 shed, installed countless gardens including a hedge of 5′ of arborvitae, install two new picture windows at the base and top of the stairs, and completely renovated our kitchen. This is just the beginning! We have a 10 year DIY plan to turn this old house into our dream home. And part of that dream is cedar shake siding in a beach-house-worth shade called ‘Stormy Skies”. I’m painstakingly staining each shake, while my husband Ed balances on staging between two 32’ ladders putting them up one-at-a-time.This is our ongoing summer-fall 2015 project. Right now we’re 1/4 of the way done and by the end of this season we hope to have the north and south sides complete. Thankfully we’ve had a little help from friends and family on the staining, but its still a DIY one-step-at-a-time miracle project that’s steadily coming together.
Description of Project: Ed and I bought our home in the winter of 2011. The first project we tackled when the snow melted in spring of 2012 was the front porch. This poor structure not only looked terrible it was rotting off the house! Ed put his foot through the floorboards right before we started demolition. What did we personally do? EVERYTHING! We propped up the roof and demolished everything underneath. Then built from the ground up till the new architecturally attractive columns. From the detail work of the corner brackets to painting every single turned spindle to rebuilding the stairs! DIY from top to bottom.
Description of Project: Back Yard Transformation! My husband Ed and I bought our 1908 home in late 2011 and have been “bringing it back to what it never was” ever since. We’re in a tight knit old-fashion neighborhood where the houses are all very close together and the kids play in the street; we’re also adjacent to the South Portland Greenbelt so our house is viable from all for sides. So what did we do? In July of 2014, we transformed the back yard from a patch of under-used grass to a garden party space with a custom pergola, stone patio and curated gardens. Who did it? WE DID! Every last bit. DIY from start to finish. From the design of the garden layout and the custom pergola to setting the stone and removing the sod. Hundreds of bags of mulch! Thousands of pounds of stone! And the effect? HEAVEN. We vacation in our own home. You can’t see it in the pictures but in addition to the over all effect of a back yard oasis-Shangri La, Ed built a one-of-a-kind water fountain in the “L” nook of the deck and there’s a hammock hiding just near the red mulch pathwath to the Green Belt Walkway.
Yes, the house is a different color… That was a DIY project too, but last summer. This summer we removed the front fence and built retaining walls around all of the flower beds. The gardens in the front were definitely overgrown when we purchased the home and have been our work as well. The reaction of our neighbors has been overwhelming. While we were building the wall, many people slowed down, lowered windows and offered many compliments and words of encouragement.
A paint job was long overdue on this apartment house I own.