Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Stairway to Heavan

I finished working on another major project today - the back steps. I have lived in this house for at least 16 years and although I always wanted to improve these steps, I have never taken any action. I thought about removing them and building a small deck, but I don't have the know-how or cash to make that happen. So, I decided that rather than continue to wait, I would at least do some minor enhancement.

As you can see above, the stairs were ugly - just a slab of cement that was original to the house.

First, I painted the steps green. I also wanted to cover the top. I knew the paint wouldn't last since there was only a basic metal awning above that doesn't cover all the steps. So, I purchased some rubberized squares with fake red brick patterns. They were cheap at $4 each. I then cut and secured 1/2 inch quarter round PVC to the outer edges of each step to help hold the rubber pads in place. 

Once the white PVC edging was painted green, the finished stairs looked much better. Total, I was able to give the stairs a makeover for less than $100.

In addition to updating the stairs, I also decided to add some plantings to the corner. First I moved a Spirea that I had in the Dragon's Spine area along the back of the yard. I planted two there last year along with a Hosta. Both Spirea grew very large this year and the Hosta became enormous, bigger than any Hosta I have ever planted. As a result, all three plants were becoming crowded together. Additionally, the one Spirea was getting crowded out by the Japanese Maple. So, I removed the Spirea, moved the Hosta over opening up that area. 

The Spirea, before transplant, is just to the right of the maple.

The Spirea I removed was then transplanted next to the back step. I also added the Melting Fire Coral Bell (Heuchera 'Melting Fire') that I had removed earlier this summer from near Buddha. It may be only temporary, but its better here than in a bucket.

Around the base of the electric meter box, I transplanted some Black-Eyed Susans that had been growing near my wife's vegetable garden. I had to split them somewhat, so they may take some time to recover from the split and transplant. If they survive, great. If not, no loss- they were free. I am hoping they do well and eventually fill in the base of the electric meter box. After all was planted, I put down some mulch. A small strip of plastic edging separates the mulch from the peastone. Not my first choice of material, but it curves very easily and is inexpensive.

Overall, I am happy with the changes. I should never have waited so long.

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