July 11, 2012 by stpaulhaus
Got the stairs stained.
It turns out that ‘brick red’ is actually red after all. Shocking I know, but I was suprised to see how red it really came out, especially after seeing this picture claiming to have used the same color:
So my after photo does NOT look like this house. Boo. I’m not going to bother sanding it down and restaining it at this point. I’m going to live with it for a bit and see how I feel about it later. Of course, I am expecting there is be some wear and tear, it is stairs after all, and perhaps it will fade slightly in the sun?? If you look closely you will see that there are a couple spots where the stain didn’t take…that is because I got lazy and didnt sand off the little bit of paint that was left from the previous owner.
Why they painted the steps I have no idea??? But the elements seemed to have taken most of it off. I bet it started peeling off approximately 28sec after it was applied. I cannot say enough about how bad of an idea it is to use paint outdoors. Anywho…For a full view of all the colors this stain comes in you can view the brochure here.
On a separate note, my parents just recently had a bit of bad luck and their house was damaged by a hail storm that ran through. They are getting a new roof and some siding. My dad decided to tear out the old chimney that was not in use (I need to do this too) up in the attic and off the top of the house. The hole where it used to be will be covered by the new roof. Luck for me this means there are a lot of bricks that need a new home. Ironically enough, they are actually not red at all. They are more of a tan color. I am planning laying a path down in front of the house. This will help eliminate some of the grass there. My ultimate plan is to have no grass there and have it all filled with easy to maintain plantings. The brick path would be helpful for maintenance and pruning. I would also like the do the same on the other side of the steps as well, but I don’t plan on doing this anytime soon. Here are a couple of photos that I am using for inspiration:
I have dozens more, but you get the idea. I should really be giving credit to the people who took these photos but I have been collecting them for years, and I have no idea where they came from anymore. I do know that a few of them came from the most wonderful article in This Old House. I particularly love this article, because the lot they were working with is nearly the same size as ours, its in the middle of the city, and I have a similar style. You can see that I am leaning toward a yard that has a formal feel with clean lines, but I dont want it too be too stuffy. I want to be able to sit in my yard with a cup of tea, but not have to make sure my pinky is out. There needs to be a couple of those towering arborvites somewhere, and some big old white hydrangeas, and there is something extra nice about a perfectly edged lawn. Now back to what it currently looks like:
Meh. The randomly stacked limestone rocks there came from behind/underneath the old retaining wall. I just threw them up there for now. I want to tear those all out and actually dry stack them properly. See that strangely shaped shrub all the way to the right–that is actually supposed to be getting full sun, which is why I think it is growing all weird. It is supposed to look like its brother on the left. I want to dig that out and put it on the other side of the sidewalk/steps so they will be on either side. This spirea bush looks absolutely lovely in the spring and it gets completely covered in small white flowers. I made the mistake of pruning off the branches before it bloomed last year and it only ended up getting a few flowers that year, but this year it was very pretty. I think next year it will be even better. It should really be allowed to grow as large as it wants and its branches are supposed to be really floppy. It should almost look like a mop when in full bloom–like it does in this photo from Northscaping:
I think I am going to stick to a monochromatic color scheme of greens and whites. Hopefully the red steps won’t take away from it. Now we just need to get that old rusted-through railing torn off and replaced with something more sturdy to complete these stairs. I think the mail man, whom is actually a mail lady, hates us. I wouldn’t be happy if I had to hold on to that railing everyday– that’s way I usually just stick to parkouring from the top of the steps before I leave for work.
The garden is really blooming this time of year. Always around July 4th.
Photos from top to bottom: Painted lady daylilies, hosta–don’t know the type, Stella de Oro daylily, and lily of the valley. I guess the previous owner really liked lilies–I have a love-hate relationship with them. Just by chance caught that bumble bee in a pic.
What do you think about the stairs? Total failure or do you think they look all right? How do you feel about formal gardens? What are some of your favorite go-to plants?