Home Outdoor Improvements

Recently I did a post updating yall on some of the indoor home improvements we’ve made lately…here is one about the stuff we’ve (and by we, I mean ZACH) been doing to improve the outside! You can see how the outside looked originally here!

When we first moved in our house we really didn’t do much to the outside. It was low, low, low on our list of priorities! We didn’t even have grass in some places of the backyard and didn’t have a single plant either back there. Slowly, we’ve been working on getting the backyard how we want it to be. We still have a lot of long term plans (outdoor kitchen being on the list!) but right now I feel like our backyard is perfect for our needs. We enjoy hosting the Parker clan often in the summers and now we have lots of seating options on the porch for cook outs as well as seating around the pool area and plenty of storage for all of our pool towels, toys, and supplies. Who wants to come over for a swim? 😉

I’m SO blessed with such a handy husband. I love that when I married him I knew so many wonderful qualities he had but that as the years go by, I only continue to discover new blessings about him! Who knew when we got married that he was so dang handy?!?!?! 😉 He build an awesome storage bench for the back porch and, legit, it looks super mega professional.

Over the fall the boys worked hard on the back porch area. Zach bought stone that matches the stone around the front of the house and put it around the back porch. He also stained the concrete on the porch so it flows better with the house and now it’s a nice gray color!

Zach actually built the porch storage bench last summer but we had a super tough time finding a cushion for it. In hindsight we should have measured the size of cushions and built the bench to fit that size. But we didn’t think about that so we had to save up some funds to be able to get a custom cushion made. I am IN LOVE with it. We went ahead and did it right and used an outdoor fabric that should prevent it from fading and protect it from the elements. It reallllllly completes the area and can now be used for actual sitting! Stacy over at Hearth & Home did a fabulous job making our cushion. Her prices are super reasonable, she has mega quick delivery time and does GREAT work! Def check out her Etsy shop here!

On the list of longer term outdoor goals was also to have a big table rather than our old cheap cheap iron one. The table item got bumped up the priority list when Zach was over at Big Daddy’s house one afternoon and Big Daddy offered to give him a bunch of old cyprus wood that used to be a fense around his property back in the day. It’s SO awesome! It’s especially meaningful to think about how Zach’s dad and Big Daddy worked together to build the fense back when Mr Rusty was a boy. Super, super awesome. Zach has NEVER built something like this before and it turned out wonderful! I think all the rest of the family is fighting over who he will build one for next 🙂

Since I got the new centerpieces for the kitchen table I decided to move the laterns that were on the table before to the back porch table. I took out the candles (duh, they wouldn’t last a day in the South Ga sun!) and stuck some seashells in them that we had leftover from our wedding rehearsal. Free way to decorate the new table!

I love that we have extra cool decking on one side of our pool and we saved up to purchase some outdoor lounge chairs. When I went hunting for some I wanted to find something that could lay completely flat, was made from a material that wouldn’t get hot, looked fine without needing any type of cushion, and matched our decor. I found a GREAT deal on a set of four chairs from overstock.com! Originally I had planned on just buying two chairs but it worked out where getting the set of four was cheaper and they are so durable I see them lasting many years to come. They are actually made for hotel chains to use and are a plastic type material but they are in a dark gray color which matches our house perfectly! I love the way they look and how functional they are too!

A big thorn in my side was Zach building his storage shed. Goodness it took AGES and cost a lot more than we originally anticipated. However, it’s FINALLY completely finished! He build it literally from the ground up completely by himself. I told ya my guy is impressive! It has electricity, insulated walls, and even a ramp for the lawn mower. You can see the outside of the shed here! When Zach put stone around the porch he also added stone around the shed and stoned the steps so it really flows well with our home. After the outside of it was completed it took him quite some time to finish up the inside. I’m SO glad it’s done and I know he enjoys having this space for all of his tools and such!

He made build in shelves as well as work benches

Kye has his own work space too!

As I mentioned earlier, we didn’t have any plants or anything in the backyard when we moved in. Honestly, I don’t get the point of them. I’m not really into plants and Zach really isn’t into yard work. We decided to just buy some bushes to plant around the pool pump, ac unit, and propane tank for our fireplace. They will grow to be nice and big and full and cover up the “ugly stuff” but won’t be high maintance either. We also decided not to mess with stupid pinestraw or anything in those areas and just let the grass evenutally grow in. No, we do NOT have green thumbs haha

We also made some improvements to the front yard. We really needed to fix the plants and finally got around to it. When the builder put in our plants a lot of them were junky and weren’t placed in favorable locations to thrive. We had a SUPER nice guy from a local nursery come out and help us maximize the usage of the plants we already owned and help us decide on what plants needed to be added. Zach worked hard and moved several of the old plants as well as added new ones. It looks much better and, hopefully, everything will thrive now!

When we first moved in we didn’t have anything on our front porch other than two black pots with some plants in them. Gah those things were a PAIN. We struggle to keep plants alive so we were always having to buy new plants to put in them. Finally we said goodbye to the pots and switched things up! We also have a large gray glider on one side of the porch and two rocking chairs on the other with a little blue table between them (to pay homage to what used to be our old blue front door!). I just realized I didn’t post pictures of them in the original post so I’ll be sure to add some pictures to this post eventually!

A couple years ago Zach won two outdoor lanterns at an Aflac event so we decided to use them as front door decor. I filled them with more seashells from our wedding and lucked out and found a blue “P” from Hobby Lobby! I like how they turned out! Much better than the dead plants haha!

I’m all about finding ideas from Pinterest for our house and I saw this idea long ago and knew it would work well for our front porch. Zach found a post from Lowe’s and painted it the same blue that our door used to be. He then made a frame and painted it with chalkboard paint! He attached a hook to the post and tied some twine we already had onto the frame and bam! New front door Welcome sign! I love that we can change out the message for events and such and that it adds some color to our front porch too.

At our old house Zach built our fense himself, but when we moved into this house Zach had back surgery (like, legit, a couple days prior to moving. That was THE most stressful time of my life no doubt!) and there was just no way he could do that big of a project on his own. We also HAD to have a fense because we have the pool so we hired someone to put it up. Duh, we went with the cheapest we could find and we’re pretty sure the dude that did it was drunk the entire time but whatever, we have a fense and now Zach’s back is good to go so he can repair it as it falls apart (which he’s already had to do several repairs to portions of it). One of the ways we decided to improve it was to stain it a dark gray color to better flow with our home. It looks SO much better and since we’re on a majorly busy corner lot, it’s much less embarrassing now too 🙂

I love that we are in our forever home and that we can continue to slowly add and change things as we see fit. We have a “house priority” list that we go over at the start of each year with what goals we have to accomplish on our home and how much money we need to save to achieve them. The current project is finishing the bonus room we have upstairs to make it into the permanent playroom! Zach is working SUPER hard on it and it’s AMAZING! Our kids are super blessed with a Daddy who works so hard for them and I’m very blessed to have such a devoted husband!


  1. Katie1315
    July 3, 2013 / 6:52 pm

    Looks great! Staining the concrete on the back porch makes a huge difference!

  2. Rachael_Copponex
    July 3, 2013 / 6:59 pm

    Lol. FENCE

  3. ChristiK
    July 3, 2013 / 8:33 pm

    Great work!

  4. Robyn Mullican
    July 4, 2013 / 7:43 pm

    Omg – I totally was going to say the same thing. Love you, Em!

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