The Year of Outdoor Projects


hydrangeas house plants outdoors welcome matIn light of Earth Day, we have some outdoor updates to share. (Although Earth Day should definitely be everyday.) We are hitting spring in full force to tackle the outdoors that are in much need of some TCL. Here’s a list of outdoor projects that are top of mind:

  • Landscaping
  • Paint exterior of house
  • Survey land for potential addition
  • Marina
  • Garden
  • Goose control
  • Set up patio furniture and hammock
  • New mailbox
  • Shoreline restoration
  • Plant more native plants to attract bees and birds
  • Fix deck railing
  • Clean the gutters
  • New board for woodpecker-induced hole in siding
  • New board for rotted out section of porch
  • New windows
  • Mulch ✔️
  • New roof ✔️

Those are just a few items that come to mind. Yikes! So far, we have picked up sticks in the yard. Insert slow clap here. Let me first preface by saying this is not a list of complaints. Just trying to keep it real with you guys about how much work goes into home renovation projects on a budget. We chose the DIY life, and the DIY life chose us.

So What did I do First?

Hydrangeas. Bought hydrangeas. Because they make me happy and because I had a 20% off and because Joe decided to wait in the truck while I totally I promise window shopped only in the garden center…

hydrangeas house plants outdoors

And because I was overwhelmed by this list in my head.

I realistically don’t think we’ll be able to tackle this whole list in one summer. We will be prioritizing and starting some of these in between all the weddings, graduation parties and spontaneous backyard BBQ’s that pop up on the weekends. It’s also hard to pin down both our schedules to work together. I can do some of these on my own, but I need Joe’s help for a lot of them.

That was basically my (Leah’s) punch list. Joe’s list is probably as follows:

  • Finish painting jetskis
  • Make the lake bottom sandy (aka: Operation Muckinator™)
  • Fix up pontoon
  • Build jet boat
  • Irrigation (front and back)
  • Run electrical to beach
  • Internet cable burying
  • Insulate upper garage
  • Seal garage floor
  • Aerate and fertilize yard (pesticide-free)
  • Have a killer 4th of July

hydrangeas house plants outdoors welcome mat

Just when I think we’re getting some traction and making progress, I take a look outside. And we still have some indoor strings to tie up before it starts getting nice out! It’s enough to make anyone’s head spin… I’ll try to remind myself Rome wasn’t built in a day. That it’s about the journey, not the destination. And all that fluffy stuff. You know, the funny thing about my to-do lists is they always somehow get done. Some things don’t get done for a very very long time, but when I look back, I realize they do eventually get done. All good things start with a plan and big idea. Let’s be honest – We both know we wouldn’t want it any other way: It’s the DIY way or the highways for us.

hydrangeas house plants outdoors welcome mat

So I bought hydrangeas. Much as one might buy a new pair of running shoes to start training for a race, or a blazer for a new job. Or a bottle of nail polish for a pick-me-up. This is my motivational symbol. The low-hanging fruit to kickstart operation outdoors.

Oh yea, and these

I replanted my windowsill herb garden. Last year’s crop didn’t make it through the winter indoors, so I had to buy new. I planted half inside, half outside to hedge my bets of them surviving.

fresh herbs windowsill garden basil mint parsley

Last year I tried basil, mint and dill. The dill didn’t last long, and I only used it once or twice for salmon or cucumber salad. So I swapped that out for parsley this year. Which I will surely use on the regular.

fresh herbs windowsill garden basil mint parsley

We’re going for a charming, quaint, cozy vibe. You know, all the words a realtor uses to describe a house with “character”. Code words for a house that needs some love and attention. But I have no doubt, we will see our vision through in this lifetime or the next. Above all, we plan to enjoy the precious, glorious few hours that are a Minnesota summer.

What’s on your spring cleaning list?

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