Refresh Your Porch or Patio in Just One Week

Welcome to this month’s Pinterest Challenge and this month is all about getting ready for summer celebrations, cookouts and getting together with family and friends. This month’s challenge is to share our Porches and Patios with a clean inspired refresh… 

This month’s Pinterest Challenge patio inspiration comes from Bria of Bria Hammel Interiors. I love Bria’s coastal style with easy-style bamboo and outdoor wicker furnishings, a fresh blue and white color scheme, and a celebration of potted plants on the porch, in a teacart and hanging from the wall. 

I love her potted trees in those what I’d say are large square French-style planters! Gorgeous chalky blue color!! Bria used touches of black, too, and that’s what jumped out at me.

PC graphic
As we get into my post I’d like to thank Cindy of County Road 407 for once again hosting this challenge, thank you Cindy! 💝 And if you are coming over from Lora from Lora B Create and Ponder, welcome! Lora’s colorful vintage porch style is pure fun!! 
Last summer’s A Small Summer Home Tour.
This is how our back patio has looked since last summer. It was a bunch of mismatched furniture, a couple of potted plants and one of our “Girls” bringing in the French country style I love. 

Here is how our patio has changed since last summer. I worked on creating a little French café earlier this spring. Now it is a pleasant place for Mr. Ethereal and I to come outside and sit, and to enjoy cool mornings while the mourning doves, sparrows, the seasonal cardinals and other wildlife visit…

Simple, clean, and French inspired!

How the patio has changed

Even before I knew what this month’s Pinterest Challenge was to be I had already planned to repaint our park benches so this challenge was perfect timing! The green Wayfair bench I’ve only had for four years has rusted really fast because of North Texas’ hot and humid summertime climate. 

The white cast iron bench I’ve had for years and it came with us to Texas last year with our movers. In California, the lower humidity kept the iron pristine (except for paint peeling off the wooden slats). I think this bench is 15 years old?? I bought it when our last home was new to us.

My former rose garden parterres…


I sat down with some of my favorite French style design books and looked at what makes authentic French style so appealing. I realized right away what I wanted…

Our benches needed to look like those gorgeous park benches one sees at large public parks in France and even here in the United States (think Central Park, NYC). They needed to be able to move effortlessly from porch to yard on a whim. 

They needed to be black…

Over the course of a week I was able to repaint both benches, the new plant stand and also another hanging basket. Working with spray paint is easy ~ just as pie is a natural dessert for a summer picnic!

Our backyard patio porch now has the cohesiveness it lacked  and looks very close to our inspiration photo:

With wicker chairs and benches for relaxing, hanging baskets adding their lovely southern green touches, and lavender plants bringing in that French country style that is me. I am in-love with the curves and diamond patterns ~ how they repeat from piece to piece! Now to find the perfect seat cushions! (Always something, lol!)

Thank you for stopping by my patio refresh today and next up is my friend Michelle of Thistle Key Lane whose porch looks amazing! I love how elegant Michelle’s patio looks with all the blue and white, and her teacart is a favorite in my book!! 

Please pin, thank you! 💜

We have a big group of friends in today’s porch and patio tour for you. Please come back and restart here, or from any of today’s participants, if need be. 
Also sharing with
Wonderful Wednesday ~ Stilettos and Shiplap
Tuesday Turnabout ~ My Wee Abode

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Enjoy the tour,


DIY Projects ~ Laying Bricks for a Trash Bin Patio

Laying paver bricks  is something I have wanted to try for a while. Mr. Ethereal and I have finally figured out how we want our backyard to look so for my first attempt at laying bricks I began with a troublesome area of our yard ~ our trash bin area. Let’s begin this DIY home tutorial and lay some bricks!…

Phase One

I began this brick laying project about a month ago when I set all these keystone bricks as the border for our family’s trash area. This area sits just outside our back fence gate and next to our roll-up garage door in the alleyway and it is constantly muddy. Definitely needed a refresh!
Level both across and width-wise adding sand/dirt underneath to get each brick nice and level. Set the next bricks the same way leveling the first row across all bricks. You can turn the bottom row upward to create a stop-fence for the successive rows. I didn’t need to do that for this project since bricking will butt up to these keystone bricks. 

Keystone bricks are awesome as they are already pre-made to break in the middle. Just score your brick with a flat brick chisel then repeatedly hit with a hammer to fracture it. This brick broke beautifully for me!
I used a small level, both flat and spade-edged shovels, my trusty garden trowel for putting dirt underneath each brick, and a lot of elbow grease! 

I dug out the dirt from underneath the wooden fence and leveled the area tamping it with our square tamper (that tool to the right of the flat shovel). All the removed dirt I moved into the two flower beds I made last summer and last fall.

Bonus prizes!! Former homeowners had set in this round and a couple of flat wide bricks and a metal edging to try and deal with the mud. I also found a round medallion for a rose bush which used to be on this site, which I kept. Sentimental, I know… 🙂

It only took two days (about 4-5 hours each day) to level the dirt under the wooden fence and put in/level each one-to-two-level stack of red and black keystone bricks. 

I curved this section to make a nice edging mirroring the curved cement driveway transition into our garage.  And to prep for Phase Two…

This photo shows the lower set of brick which are buried and are more for support. Some of the Old Town bricks were also used to fill gaps as needed. In back are some of the materials used in this project: the 15″ x 15″ main pavers, bags of sand for underlayment and the keystone bricks themselves.

Phase Two

I chose a combination of keystone brick, wide brick pavers (approx. 15″x 15″) in a red/black mixed color, and regular-size Holland Old Town Blend pavers from Home Depot (not sponsored; I wish!) to make an interesting combination of bricks to fill this area.

Begin by taking out dirt to create a level space to add in sand. Be aware that this takes A LOT of physical work. I removed dirt, some tree roots and a bunch of weeds and acorns getting this mostly level. For bigger projects, a rented electric tamper would make this really level. For my project I just used our hand tamper and eyeballed the leveling.* I also ran a long 2×4 across the dirt to help level the area.

Note: Enough dirt needs to be excavated to leave room for gravel (if needing drainage underneath) plus a couple of inches of sand plus the top height of the bricks to be flush with the surrounding edging/walkway/keystone bricks. 

Lay down and pin landscape fabric into the dirt below. I used three pieces of this fiberglass-type fabric here and make sure to overlap each piece by about 8″. This keeps the sand and mortar from seeping below, and also keeps any weeds from rising up to crack through your brick project.

Dry run your bricks

Lay in your outer bricks and cut any to fill gaps. I had some trouble here as I have a tile saw and tile blades but not a brick or paver saw blade, so I had to break bricks by hand… If you have the right saw, use it! 😉

Use a large square to help align your edging bricks and then begin laying the larger bricks from that 90 degree corner. Add sand in low areas and recheck for level in both horizontal directions on each brick AND brick to brick. Use a long level for this step.

Score and hammer off sections of brick as needed to fit each section as you go. This was tricky and didn’t always work as I would have liked so I filled in the final section with these wonky pieces.

The Free Press WV

Here I was adding in sand underneath so moving small piles of sand closer to the work area was helpful.

Ready for sand! In the dirt section below I’ll add some Sweet Alyssum seeds to beautify this area. Alyssum grows well in clay soil and doesn’t require much maintenance.
This was another two days of work where I finished around 4:00pm and left brushing in the sand for the next day (third day).

Use the right sand

First I swept in the underlayment crushed granite sand, which normally would have been fine… Except I realized I wanted this to be permanent and keep out weed growth and to let water to run off this paved area.

So… I had to brush most of the sand back out of the cracks and use paver set sand instead. This paver sand is much finer and gets underneath the edges of your pavers to really bond and hold all the bricks together. 

Tamp tamp tamp

This paver set sand works great but your pavers have to be really dry to use it. Take a small container and pour paver set sand around each joint and then just brush it in with your work broom. 

Follow the directions on your container of paver set sand for this section as you go, and finish this with tamping each brick with a shovel handle (flip your shovel upside down to use he handle rubber top) to compact the paver sand. 

After it settles the first time, add more paver set sand and tamp again. Repeat until the sand stays put at about 1/4″ below the top of each brick.

Finished set pavers two days later after plastic was removed.
The final step is to gently spray-mist the paver set sand following the manufacturer’s directions. This brand had me gently spray it until it wouldn’t accept any more water, then let that water soak in, then spray again. Repeat until each section won’t accept anymore water without causing white foam to run on top of the bricks. Wipe off any white foam so the bricks won’t look hazy when dry.

Cover with plastic for 72 hours to help slowly cure the paver set sand and then uncover and enjoy! This little brick patio is ready for its trash bins!

*This brick trash bin storage area project turned out pretty good. I only have one real boo-boo spot at the front left side where the Old Town bricks butt up against the existing tabby walkway ~ it’s a little low spot which collects water, but I can live with that! 😌 I asked Mr. Ethereal how I would fix it and he said I’d have to remove a few bricks and reset them. If you have an area like that as you build your brick patios and walkways, feel free to reset your bricks as needed. 

Thank you for sharing any of these photos!

Please leave me a comment and do let me know if this helps you in the future when you are laying bricks. I’ll be doing more outdoor projects as we move into summer, so check back for more. Thanks!


3 Easy Steps to Decorate a Front Porch for Fall

Decorating  the front porch for fall is a favorite pastime and I am sure it is for you, too. If it isn’t, then let’s take a look at how we can make your porch
 look fabulous for fall! With a quick changeout in decor and some new greenery and plants, any porch can become festive and welcoming for the holidays…


First a quick bath…

Something I like to do whenever I change my porch decor for the next season is to give the porch a quick scrub. I did do that here, but the wind blows a lot here in Texas in the fall and some early falling leaves make it look like I didn’t. Trust me, it was nice and clean a day or two before.  😉

This is how the porch first looked before the addition of new plants found on clearance at Lowe’s.

The stacked Cinderella pumpkins from the fall dining table have moved outdoors with the cooler weather.

And our little dog statue has moved across the walkway to look in a different direction…  ;)’

Easy ways to add fall decor to a porch

  • Bring in fun colorful fall foliage with mums, orange and multi-hued lantana, and propped up cornstalks and bundles of grasses or wheat.
  • Add colorful pumpkins and gourds on chairs, set inside a favorite cart or wheelbarrow arranged on your porch, or just piled or stacked against each other on the ground. Pumpkins in today’s soft blush and greens or in traditional bright orange now fit in with anyone’s decor!
From our time in our Prairie Home trailer...

Check the clearance aisles

This fun Texas star insert and burgundy pink potted mum and the yellow mum in front of it were found at Lowe’s on clearance and on sale. The yellow mum was clearanced for $8 and will live on for a couple of years with just repotting, pruning and cutting back and covering during winter. 

The old one I pulled from the trash last year is still blooming madly in the backyard! It can just be seen out by the chairs way out in the yard to the left of the shed. 

Don’t you just love watching birds?
A quick look at our back porch and a plant sent by our local florist ~ actually a mistake!

And sharing your refreshed porch with a real animal or two when you go out to enjoy it is fun, too! Mr. Yoda gets to pass by and smell the flowers on his daily walks…

Decorate the front door

Don’t forget to add a little fall-something to your regular wreath or hanging decor of your front door or change out that piece completely. Earlier this spring I had a basket that looked a bit like a fishing creel hanging on ours. I left it up partly into summer, but then I found this fall basket in late July or early August for 60% off at Joann Fabrics. I am over the moon as this beauty, which can be taken apart to reuse the basket in other ways, was $11.00!

The earlier door hanger which could also be redecorated for fall with dried berries and faux fall foliage.

I hope these tips help you with your fall porch decorating in your own home and that you will share them with family and friends. Let me know how I can help you!

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Happy decorating!