Landscaping in Mt. Rainier

Bland, bland, bland, boring, awkward, and bland.

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That’s what our house looked like when we bought it. No landscaping. No real character (I’m sure you’re thinking but it’s a cute farmhouse from the 1900s! but trust me, in comparison to the rest of the neighborhood? Not. at. all.). Just a big house situated awkwardly on a big plot of land.

In our area, .25 acres is a LOT of land, so we really wanted to take advantage of the space that we were able to get, and make it very lush and welcoming.

Fast forward five months and several Lowes plant sales later and we now have this:

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We weren’t necessarily aiming for “tropical” when we started planting, and many of the plants intermixed with the banana leaves and tobagos are butterfly bushes and black eyed peas, but the over-all look and feel of the garden ended up being pretty Caribbean. I mentioned before that we went to Puerto Rico in January and I think that being fresh from that experience certainly influenced our gardening decisions.

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Maybe just a little.

Steven’s biggest requirement for a new house was that it had to have a porch. He tried very hard to find a house that met our needs that had a wrap around porch, but as we’re not in the deep south, and the style of the neighborhood is “Sears Craftman” this was about as close as we could get. It’s a great porch, with a tile floor, and plenty of room. But like most of the house, it was just very bare and spartan when we moved in, with no real character. I think if we stay in the house long term, then the goal is to build a deck on the side of the house, and at that time we’d probably repaint the entire house (including that awful periwinkle blue trim) and maybe add stained beadboard to the porch to make it more authentic. Steven really wants to put a fan out there too.

In the meantime, to liven up the porch we added flower boxes, hanging plants and picked up those excellent Ikea chairs. They’re super awesome and once it gets cold, they’re coming inside. I love the look of them, especially with a lambskin thrown over We also added our metal west elm martini table to give ourselves some table space.

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I created the hanging lights out of an As-Is light pack from Ikea and have been pretty impressed by how much light it gives off. The structure was very organic; we just put a hook into the ceiling and I looped the strands until I got a structure that I liked.

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We also found a patio (yup, found) the first week we moved in. There was a small piece of concrete exposed and my parents recommended digging around to see what it was. Turns out it was an almost pristine concrete patio. We know our house had plumbing issues when the investor who we bought it from originally bought it, so I imagine they dug around in the yard and the dirt run-off resulted in sod growing over the patio. It took about an hour to remove, and suddenly we no longer felt the need to invest in building a deck right away.

We added a little flower box and a trellis to give the area a privacy screen. We also planted squash and cucumber. While we got some of the cucumbers, the squash has really taken off. So has this crazy set of weeds and bushes.

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The nice thing is it blocks the chicken coop from view from the street. And is a great place to hang lights. The downside is that we constantly have to hack away at it, or else it takes over.

We’ve named it Audrey II.

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