When we bought our house five years ago, we bought it for the potential and location, not for the exact state it was in at the time. It definitely had appeal to me, but not necessarily the curb appeal I really wanted.
Very slowly throughout the years we’ve changed, renovated, added and upgraded so much of the house that it feels more like us, but still maintains some of the original charm for which we bought it. We’ve tried to put our money and effort into permanent changes and not those that will eventually change when the money tree flowers and we can go ahead with the second phase of our addition to the front.
However, there are a few things that needed immediate attention when we moved in. One of our top items included replacing the chain link fence. It was not part of the original house’s appeal and adding a higher, more private type of fence is a change that will definitely see returns if it stays just five years, or twenty-five more years.
My dog thought it was the #1 piece of curb appeal because he could see and bark at everything.
So replacing that fence was one of the first things we did to the exterior of the house.
Unfortunately staining and finishing the cedar fence was one of the things we never did to the exterior. Ooops. (I think the key to a good before picture is a hose, some wayward mats and a compost bin, no?)
So when you get a year of awesome free paint & stain, what do you do? Well, first you wish for at least 48 hours of sun in an Ottawa summer and then you get your stain ready.For the first time ever, I think I remembered to take a picture of the paint can before I opened it and dripped stain down the side of the label. I chose PARA’s TimberCare hybrid stain for exterior wood in a solid colour. Here’s my big tip for the post: for a fence or a gate like ours, you can use a solid colour stain. It doesn’t take any heavy foot traffic so it will hold the colour well. If you were staining a deck you should consider a semi-transparent or transparent stain, it will make for a longer lasting finish underfoot. Check with your paint specialist for the best advice on a specific deck or fence though.
So it was off to the races for us. I chose the colour Ebony for the stain on my gate. It pulled in the colour of my door and the colour of the mulch we use on our front yard. (I am no green thumb, so we had to ditch the lawn in the front yard.)
For preparation I sanded the fence and gate with a palm sander. It was worth it for this gate because it was a small surface and helped to get the old wood ready to absorb the stain. I used a thin, medium-sized brush so I could get both the boards and the nooks and crannies between the boards. And here’s an action shot selfie since Sue and I always seem to shy away from our own pictures on the blog…
And here’s how it all turned out.
I finally got around to adding the post caps to the fence, and since it was looking so finished over in the corner, I put out my planters, some beach pebble for the edging and solar lights.
Don’t judge me for putting mums in my planters so early! I love them, they fit my budget and I promise you that it was not the reason for this early fall weather we seem to have been unfortunate enough to experience this past week. I’m positive we will go back to our regularly scheduled summer and my mums will be just fine….
My hydrangea tree was in such great form this year, even after the great dig in the winter, so I couldn’t resist a shot of them in bloom. I pretty much stick to hydrangeas, geraniums and hostas in my front garden. They love the soil, the early morning sun and the shade that covers them throughout the rest of the day.
I’d love to be tall enough, have a ladder long enough, or perhaps borrow the stilts from the performers I saw at Lansdowne Park this weekend so I could finally paint the last remaining bits of brown on the eaves of the front of the house. But for now, I’m just focusing on the stuff I love, which now happily includes the fence. It’s a small, subtle change, but it sure does make me happy. The feather in my cap was when I was crouched down putting the edging in beside the fence one of my new neighbours was exclaiming to her walking partners how great this little house looked and how much progress was made in just one day. I surprised her by practically jumping up from behind our vehicle and saying thank you! thank you! It was such a great compliment to overhear that I couldn’t just be demure and accept it sitting down.
Is anyone else working backward and painting and staining at the end of the season, rather than the beginning? We are just about done staining the back decks — just waiting for some dry weather and a little bit more stain to finish the job.
Disclaimer: As part of the PARA Blog Crew, Sue and I were handed over the keys to our own virtual paint shop. We received the paint for our Para projects and want to make sure you know that when you read our posts.