I live in a condo complex with an HOA. This means that there are many rules to abide by regarding the property exterior. I love that our property is maintained by gardeners weekly, but it is frustrating that my porch only consists of a bed of rocks. I live in lush Oregon, and my porch looks like a dried up pond!
Now that the snow and rain are gone, it is time to spruce up my front porch. I can't go to crazy because like I mentioned there are strict guidelines from our HOA. However, our unit is unique in our entrance is more private because it's located on the back side of the building. This means that the only other residents that see our entrance are the residents above us. Don't tell anyone, but the HOA gave us a little wiggle room since we're a bit hidden back here- Sshhhh....
As a designer I want to add colorful planting pots, or a cute bistro set, but I think that goes beyond the so-called "wiggle room." Instead my plan is to add color with greenery of the plants. I went to Home Depot and asked for recommendations for greenery with out flowers. In other words, NOTHING THAT ATTRACTS BEES. They chuckled because they thought I was kidding, but I sure wasn't. I do not want any flowers, and I prefer grasses or succulents that are more architectural in style.
The nursery consultant suggested a few grasses, the bush which I refer to as the spider bush, and hydrangea. I considered hydrangea for a moment because they thrive in the shade, and surprisingly don't really attract bees. However, I stuck to my original design plan and selected a beautiful yellow-green and green, potted bush. My husband was on board, so we grabbed our supplies and escaped the 100 degree weather. (Check out our selfie while we waited in line)
My hubby and I were determined to get this project done in less than an hour. I set Baby S into his playpen, started Sesame Street for extra entertainment, and took the baby monitor with me outside. Overall, this is an easy shopping list. The consultant suggested the potting soil to use.
First I placed the pots where I would like them to go. I considered putting two under the window, and a third one on the far side of our door. Technically, nothing is supposed to go on the far side of the door which is under a staircase. I also think that three plants together will look more balanced, and have a stronger impact as you approach our front porch.
We were about to starting planting, when I remembered the consultant strongly suggested I choose a pot with holes for drainage. Of course, I chose my pot based on the design aesthetic and price rather than holes. Luckily, my hubby has a wonderful collection of tools. He used his power drill to add three holes to the base of each pot in a matter of seconds. Yay, power tools!
With the pots in place, my hubby added some potting soil and helped me set in each bush. If you have a friend nearby, it definitely made it easier to get the bush out of the pre-potted container. Squeeze each plant before placing it in, and then add some more soil on top. I've never planted before, so I was just winging it. (But they're still alive 3 weeks later, so I think I did okay- Lol) And... voila!.
I know it's not earth shattering, but having greenery on my porch has changed my world! Like I mentioned, we just had some wiggle room from the HOA. I chose the pots with a little carving detail for some interest. The oil-rubbed bronze finish complements that iron details of the windows frames, porch light, and the nearby staircase.
I was so excited to bring my baby outside and show him our new spruced up, front porch!
I think Baby S was excited too. Well, he was definitely curious and ready to explore our new plants.
And for some reason, Baby S was also very excited to explore the rocks...Like putting them in his mouth. Well, if I think about, I've never set him on the rocks until now....so I guess the rocks are new to him as well!
All in all, I'm so pleased with our front porch spruce-up. It's so nice to seen green plants when I come around the corner. Our porch is so much more inviting, compared to the desolate rock garden it used to be. It's even refreshing when I open the dining room window in the mornings. It just feels good!
My lesson for living with an HOA? It never hurts to ask! The worst that can happen is they deny your request. I'm so glad my hubby speaks up for us because now we have a happy porch.