Friday, June 22, 2007

My Little Outdoor Retreat

A couple of weeks ago, Cheryl of Copper's Wife posted an entry about fixing herself a little poolside retreat where she could sit and watch her boys in the pool while she relaxed and read, and she was doing it for as little money as she could get by with. Well, let's just say that her project inspired me to tackle my own desire to make myself a little back porch retreat. I didn't have much money to spend either, so we had that much in common!

First of all, let me tell you that our back porch is tiny. It's long and very narrow, stretching across half of the back of the house. I can stand in the middle of the porch and touch the house and the rail at the same time. So it wasn't much space to work with, width wise. Wes isn't much of a sit-outside person, but I love to sit out on warm days and relax, so I knew he wouldn't be upset if I only made it a retreat for one. So I swept off the porch, steps, and walkways to make it cleaner and more tidy (we have a tree right next to the porch that likes to float leaves and all kinds of stuff down onto the porch). Next, I brought a patio chair from the carport, where all that stuff is temporarily stored, and set it up in the back corner of the porch.

I had been yard-saling a few weeks ago and found a tall plant stand for $1.00, so I used that to house a terra cotta pot of impatiens, and potted the rest of them in smaller pots and set them on the rail above the other pot.

I wanted a table out there to set my drink on (you can't relax outside without a glass of iced tea!), but I didn't have one small enough to fit. Then I remembered a tiny chair that had been given to us when friends were moving last year. It was already weather-beaten, so it would do for outside use. I put the little chair beside my patio chair, and there was my table (this is probably temporary; I still want to get a taller table). Last to be added was my chiminea that we bought the summer we moved up here when we were visiting my parents on the border of Texas and Mexico. It's big, but I love, love, love its color and texture, so I wanted to include it in my retreat.

My total spent was $7.83!!! All I bought were the flowers, potting soil, and plant stand. And I tell you . . . I am enjoying this spot even when I'm not out there! There is a window as you go up the stairs that looks out onto the porch, and every time I go upstairs, I look out and see my little pots of impatiens. They bring a smile to my face every time I see them. I have some plans to add a birdhouse in the tree, put up my outdoor thermometer, and maybe place a candle or two on the porch rail. It's the simple little things that seem to bring the most enjoyment, isn't it?

Cheryl, I'm so glad you posted about your retreat! I had it in mind to do something on my porch, but without your encouragement to "use what you have" I might still be just thinking about it instead of enjoying it! The only reason it took me so long to get it done is because I had to wait for a sunny, dry day to get the porch cleaned off. Thank you!


  1. What a wonderful idea to make yourself a little back porch retreat!

  2. Oh your little back-porch retreat looks so welcoming and relaxing. Very pretty! (o:

  3. Very creatively done and very cozy-looking!

  4. Susan ~ I love it! Very cozy, and I bet the warmth of your chiminea close by makes it extra welcoming on a chillier day. I've always thought those were neat! Great job!

  5. Oh, how fun it's been to see Cheryl's progress and now to see this! :o) What an inviting place to enjoy the fresh air. Very cozy!

  6. Looks like a great place! to sit and relax! I need to spruce my front porch up a bit!

  7. Very nice, Susan! My front porch needs a bit of a spruce-up too, but I do enjoy sitting out there. I love to have my devotions on the porch, as well as work on other sit-down tasks like the grocery list and menu planning.

  8. Oh Susan, I meant to add an idea I have used for a "table" on my porch. I used one of those inexpensive plant stands (which I already had on hand) and simply set a pretty yard-sale plate in it. Makes a nice little table for a glass of tea or mug of coffee or whatever. Just a thought! When the "table" gets dusty, I just wash the plate.

  9. Susan!!!! It turned out lovely! The perfect spot for one to relax, pray, read, or just think for a spell. Well done!!!!!!!!!

  10. Thank you all for your comments about my retreat. It's begun to rain again, so I haven't been out there to sit since Wednesday, although I peek out there every time I go upstairs. My flowers are growing by leaps and bounds already.

    Deb - I haven't lit my chiminea since we got to this house! It takes it a while to die down, so I'll have to light it when I can stay close by and not let it burn the house down. But it is wonderful to sit by it and watch the flames!

    Mrs. T - that's a great idea for a table. I'll have to keep an eye out at yard sales for something like that. Thanks!

    And Cheryl - thank you again for the inspiration!

  11. Lovely Susan...
    In fact we went to our storgae area today and got my outdoors table, infact I am sitting here with my laptop...a little glare to say the least....
    but nice to be out in the fresh air...and dh is painting some crown molding so we are visiting at the same it...

  12. I *loved* this post Susan! You did such a nice job on your little retreat!!


Thanks for taking a minute to read my ramblings and leave a comment! I appreciate it!


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