Category Archives: Plants

Faux Wood Flower Box Tutorial

supplies-flower-boxes

Disclaimer: This is by far one of my LEAST favorite DIY projects in the history of the DIY Playbook. Even though I’ll go back to the normal positive tone after this rant, don’t let anything about this post make you believe that this wasn’t the most ANNOYING and FRUSTRATING process ever. For one reason and one reason alone– drilling into concrete/brick is absolutely awful. And unlike I was, do not be fooled by the YouTube videos that make the process look graceful and simple. Not. Even. Close.

More like a ____(insert swear word here)______  MESS!

Now that we got that negativity out of the way, let’s get back on the positive train and proceed with today’s project, shall we? Faux Wood Flower Boxes.

IMG_2519A part of my summer DIY to-do list was to incorporate some charming flower boxes under my windows. I love the look of flower boxes but didn’t love the price tag that came along with real wood flower boxes. And quite honestly, May has been the craziest month EVERRR so I was not in the game to completely DIY wood flower boxes on the cheap.

So after a little internet research and not finding a cheap alternative, I stumbled upon these cheap plastic boxes at our local hardware store. At $9 a pop, these were more in my price range, yet the orange-y plastic look wasn’t going to cut it against the red brick. Enter brown spray paint. IMG_2554I gave these plastic flower boxes TWO coats of spray paint just to make sure they were completely covered.IMG_2557Eventually I flipped the boxes and spray painted the inside of each of them as well. Somehow the plastic-look was gone and these boxes transformed into giant KitKat bars and every time I look at this photo I immediately crave chocolate. Anyone else see it?IMG_2566I put a coat of that same brown spray paint on the brackets I bought as well. Each package of brackets (good to hold one flower box) cost about $9, making the total for each flower box and hardware combo $20-ish. This project definitely isn’t free, but considering that one wood box can cost upwards of $50, I’d say I did pretty well cutting down the cost. IMG_2863Let me re-emphasize one more time… do NOT let this picture allow you to think, “wow, that doesn’t look too hard to do, I can totally tackle this project after work one day”. I made that mistake so you don’t have to. After literally FOUR trips to our local hardware store in one evening, I was very close to throwing those oversized KitKats in the garbage. But having already invested a little over $100 in the project for 6 window boxes, I couldn’t bring myself to throwing that money down the drain. After some frantic calls home to my dad and lots of swearing, I was finally able to secure these bad boys to the brick (about 5 days later).

A few tips when drilling into concrete:

1. Use Concrete Screws
2. … and a Concrete Drill Bit
3. Use Lots of Muscle
4. .. and a hammer
5. Drill into the mortar (aka the brick’s “grout”) as much as you can so you can avoid drilling into solid brick.
6. When drilling into the mortar, don’t tighten the screw too much or you’ll “blow out the mortar” and have to start OVER. (Again, I made the mistake so you don’t have to)

Literally it’s been about a month of having these babies up and even though they feel sturdy to the touch, I continue to have nightmares that I’ll come home someday and the brackets will be broken off.

IMG_2545unnamed-1Knock on wood, all flower boxes are still currently hanging (and filled with flowers!).

IMG_2551IMG_2853I had two sets of double windows where I had to hang two flower boxes instead of one (3 inches down from the bottom of the window to the top of the flower box is what is recommended online). So on top of what a freaking NIGHTMARE these things are to hang, you have to try to make sure both boxes are level with each other. <– add insult to injury why don’t you flower boxes. Rude.

When all was said and done, I don’t think they’re exactly perfect, but in my eyes, they’re as close as they’re going to get. And although I will probably continue to curse this project until the day we move out, I am pretty proud of myself for sticking with it and figuring it out… all by myself.
IMG_2841IMG_2868Now all that was left to do to these flower boxes was to add flowers. I tossed some coffee filters on top of the holes so that dirt didn’t leak out when I watered them and filled each of them up with potting soil.
IMG_2871Lesson Learned: Drilling into to concrete is officially my worst enemy. I hope we never have to work together again…. like ever.

But now that the hard part is over, let’s switch gears away from all of this complaining. See the flower boxes WITH flowers hereIMG_4491IMG_4525FlowerBox
Bridget Signature

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How To Remember what you Planted the following year…

IMG_7091
Last year, I was really happy with the our selection of flowers. It was our “first rodeo” as gardeners and it turned out that Matt and I were pretty darn successful (and really enjoyed the process). Who knew?! It could’ve been the super amazing greenhouse we bought most of our plants from (thanks to a generous housewarming gift from Casey’s mom!! #bestideaever), it could have been the fact that we are both teachers and had a lot of extra time throughout the summer to give all of our plants some serious attention or maybe it was just a classic case of beginner’s luck. I guess this summer will tell…
Either way, I was happy (and actually surprisingly proud) with our flower selection and placement last year, but when I went to purchase the same flowers again this year… I realized I had a small problem. The problem: not remembering what type of flowers I loved so much from last year. I wanted to re-create last year’s look but had no clue where to start. What were the names of those flowers in our planter box? How many of each did we buy to fill the pot? How much soil did we need again? Am I an idiot or do normal people ask themselves these same questions every.single.year?!
While I aimlessly walked the aisles of every garden section around town, today’s project (and solution to this annoying problem) instantly climbed up the to-do list. I officially decided right then and there that I needed to be proactive about documenting exactly what I planted this year so I didn’t face this frustration again next spring. When I finally decided on what flowers to buy (hel-lo clueless shopper), I planted those suckers and made this for future reference:
A little something I like to call, “The mindless gardener’s guide to remembering what the heck to do each year”, a gardening essential if you ask me. It’s my cheat sheet of what I bought, how much of each I bought, and will also be a quick reference point if I forget the basics about caring for each flower. Like… which one needed to be watered every other day instead of every day? Or which one needed direct sunlight instead of shade? I mean seriously, how do rookie gardeners keep this straight? #rocketscience
Before we get into the how to guide for making your own cheat sheet, allow me to show you some of my favorites from this year’s shopping spree.

Pretty right? Exactly why I don’t want to forget what kinds of flowers I bought this year…next year. Or maybe I will want to ditch some of the ones I chose this year – – the cheat sheet will help with that too.

Alright, now let’s chat about this gardening must-have that will probably take you about 4 minutes to create. To begin, you’ll have to collect & clean all of the plant tags.
You don’t need much for this, but you will need:
  • Plant tags (duh)
  • Hole punch
  • Marker (optional)
  • String/twine/metal ring

To add a little extra information onto my gardening cheat sheet, I added a few notes onto the back of each plant. Totally optional, highly encouraged. I noted where I planted each, how many I planted there, where I bought the baskets, and even how much soil we bought.

As far as I’m concerned, the more information the better! Be as detailed as possible, you will thank yourself next year and save some serious shopping time.

Once you’ve noted everything on the back of each, hole punch each tag and string them through the twine, string or metal ring.

Now pat yourself on the back, because that will possibly be the best 5 minutes you’ve spent all spring! Your gardening tags are organized, easily accessible, and full of fun facts for next year’s planting season.

If I decide to add flowers as we go, I will definitely add the tags right onto this bunch. And if for some reason, a specific plant kicks the bucket… I’ll note that on the back and hopefully remember to skip over that kind next year. Now to the hardest part of this whole project — making sure you remember where the heck you put this cheat sheet when the time comes.

I’m super curious… am I the only crazy one that has this problem?! Be honest…
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Wheelbarrow turned Fall Planter

planter-wheelbarrow

The DIY Playbook is rounding up our FALL FANTASY DRAFT week with a project for the home. 

Technically this project is for the outside of the home…but hey, we don’t want to limit our creativity, so outside will just have to do! We’ll slap a Home and Garden tag on it and call it a day!

One of my favorite parts about DIY projects is when you take something that is heading to the garbage, and find a new life for it.  That is exactly what happened with this project.

My mom has this old, rusty wheelbarrow that she uses in her yard for mulching. Well the thing was on its last wheel leg…as the wheel was pretty deflated and useless.  She was just going to wheel it out to the garbage, and say her goodbyes.  But that’s when we thought of a new purpose for the ol’ guy!

red wheelbarrow
With a little creativity it went from a wheelbarrow…
fall wheelbarrow planter
…to a Fall planter, in no time at all!

At first we thought we should spray paint our new “planter”, but ultimately we decided we liked the rustic look that this guy had going on. The worn, red color gave it an autumn feel and we knew that would fit perfectly with the plants and flowers we had in mind.

Electric Drill
Drill holes in bottom
Jan using drill
The first thing we did was drill holes in the bottom of wheelbarrow. This is to ensure proper drainage for the plants. With the help of a large drill bit, electric drill, and some safety goggles…we had 5 holes in no time at all.

Next, we found a spot in my mom’s front yard and wheeled this sucker into place. We decided to angle the nose of the wheelbarrow down, so onlookers would have a great view of the plants. 

Digging holes

To do this we simply dug the wheel into the dirt a bit and slid her into place.

Wheelbarrow wheel
Wire to hold down wheelbarrow
We knew the planter might be a little bottom heavy, and we didn’t want the wheelbarrow to ever flip forward. So, we used wire to hammer the back into place. This sucker wasn’t going anywhere.

Garden soil
Planting mums
Finally, it was just a matter of filling our new “planter” with soil and our fall favorites.

Creeping Jenny plants
Swiss Chard
Phoenix Green Plant
We included mums, kale, phoenix green, swiss chard, and creeping jenny. They’re all supposed to grow well during these crisper days. We’ll see if we can keep them all alive and healthy! 

fall flowers in planter
Isn’t she a beaut?

pumpkins
fall wheelbarrow planter in front yard
We think it shows that our house is all ready for the changing season.

happy fall friday
We hope you guys loved our FALL FANTASY WEEK as much as we did! Be sure to check out Michelle’s, Clare’s, and Sarah & Tiffany’s projects out for some serious fall inspiration. 

Bridget and Casey DIY Playbook

 

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