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Sunday, March 30, 2008

My Carport Patio

When you rent a house you don't get to put in a nice deck out back, you make do with whatever the house came with. The house we're in came with a large carport in the backyard. Its fairly private, I don't think it was ever a good carport cuz its a 90' angle from the driveway into the carport, my personal driving skills would be severelly challenged if I tried to park in it. On the east side of the carport is my kitchen, from which I am now writing, on the west is most of our yard, the garage and my little bit of garden around my arch trellis, north is more backyard, our swimming pool, and a tall dense holly hedge which effectively blocks the view to the neighbor on that side. The south side is the only area that lacks some privacy as it faces a neighbor's yard and can be partly seen from the street.

My goal for this summer is to find a way to 'screen and shade' the patio without doing any carpentry. I'm thankful for the roof over the whole thing which will keep out some of the heat, but we will have both southern and western exposure-- which since we plan to use the patio mainly in the evenings, western is probably the worst for heat at that time of day. Since I have my arch trellis and a bit of garden directly in front of the west side, I think that part will not be too difficult to 'cut' some of the sunny late afternoon heat from. The little dogwood will be fullly leafed out by then too. There are 3 support posts holding the metal canopy up on the west side as well--I plan to train vines up those posts--I hope to have moonvine there and some other vines, and four o'clocks at the bottoms of the vines. This is because I love the exotic beauty of moonflowers at night, and I want to have something blooming that smells great like 4 o'clocks.

The southern side of the patio needs some 'screen' to keep the neighbors from being able to get too good a view of us and vice versa. I am thinking clusters of plants and possibly some kind of free standing trellis thing? I saw a perfect metal trellis at rountree nursery the other day--it has 3 panels and is free standing and pretty and would have been great, but it is too much money for me right now, so I just scratched that idea. Right now my plan is to put some elephant ears in pots and be able to move them around with smaller plants clustered near them in order to maximize the value of their huge leaves. I have 10 elephant ear "bulbs" that I picked up earlier this spring, I hope to get at least some of them in pots today. I'd also like to hang some trailing plants in certains spots along the carport roof--but-- I need to find a way to do that without putting any holes in it. I'm thinking my son might be able to make some kind of 'clip' from metal that would just cip onto the roof and come down to hold a hanging pot hook. He once made me some nice metal clips when we lived in Wisconsin so I could hang pots from our deck railings without damaging the wood. This job would be trickier but he's a pretty bright kid and I've seen him figure out things like this before. Nice baskets of hanging vines and flowers could block more sunshine and neighbor's views and just make the whole patio feel more private and luxurious. (carport luxury? ~smile~)

I have an old metal table with 3 matching chairs--wish it had 4, but the fact there are only 3 is why I got the thing so cheaply. I'm planning to have same son do a little bit of repair on the table top this spring and I bought a big piece of table cloth vinyl with a bright tropically pattern to cover the table for summer. I also picked up a scrap of bright pink burlap which I plan to use to cover some black plastic nursery pots--a very semi-frugal idea. I also have some leftover sage colored and light brown burlap from last summer that I may use for a shade cloth if I must, or find some other use for it.

I saw a couple things at the thrift store that I want, I'm waiting to see if they lower the prices on them this week--though it may be they will be sold to someone else-- shrug--could happen. One is a wicker bookcase/plant stand. I think it would be perfect on my patio painted a nice spring green, then it could hold small terra cotta colored pots of plants. The other is a brand new in the box rubbermaid type garden bench that opens up for storage--that would be great--I'm debating paying what they are asking for it. I know its a good deal, just I'd sort of like an even better deal. We'll see. I may just pop over there today or tomorrow and see if it has sold yet. That one might be too good to wait on.

Anyhow I would love to string some lights along the carport roof as well-- that is in the back of my mind. I have christmas lights of course, but they aren't quite right for that job. I need to look around some. Maybe something on ebay will catch my eye?

All in all I think I have some good plans for a wonderfully relaxing summer retreat place making use of a carport. I'll post before after photos as I get this job done and if my son comes up with a good little invention for hanging plants I'll post photos of that too, also of my burlap plant pots. A semi-frugal summer awaits!

2 comments:

  1. This probably isn't so frugal, but I think I will buy about 6 areca palms that are about 5 ft. high (if possible to transport)...and lining them up outside of my back room (sunroom) where I dont need my neighbors staring in)! I think I will keep them in pots and maybe elevate them somehow...so they can block more view...maybe stack up some of those pallets that are made of wood that you can find behind stores! I saw how people paint these bright colors for a lovely elevated area to place potten plants on!!!

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  2. That's a neat idea though! I was looking at palms myself--I just am not sure--cuz of weather. I could take one small on in the house for winter but that's all. Still that's a good idea. Hubby got in on this and has decided to make a privacy screen with wood and lattice. We went out to the street and saw that in certain areas you could see our whole patio and the pool from the street. So we felt we'd prefer to screen it off. If we make a portable screen that is free standing and doesn't have to be attached to the house or the carport--we can take it with us wherever we move next.I can still put plants around it too.

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