I have always been a little jealous of one part of my parents’ house. Out back, Mom has a large covered porch where she can sit and relax – even on rainy days. It’s cool and shady and just perfect for house plants.
A lot of house plants are from the rainforest, so while they love being outside in our hot, humid summers, they can’t be in the direct sun because they will burn. This has always been a problem at our townhouse, because my backyard is full sun. I’ve made do with a patio umbrella, and by strategically placing them under and around our limited outdoor furniture.
But I’ve longed for something better. So when we saw this house, and the enclosed sun porch on the back…
… I might have gotten a little excited. It was mostly because it was perfectly situated to become a catio (there’s already a pet door from the kitchen to the porch, and that fenced in area will be re-fenced with cat-proof fencing), but it was also because it was the perfect summer home for my extensive house plant collection.
I’ll admit, I didn’t realize just how extensive my collection was. Every time we go to the house, we load Dory up with stuff so we have less to move come moving day. And since the plants aren’t something I want to put in a moving truck, they were the perfect candidate for a pre-move load. At least, I thought it would be one load. I blush to say… it was actually three truck loads. That’s the entire back (with back seats folded flat for more cargo space) of my Ford Escape, filled to the gills with potted plants.
Like the rest of the house, the porch has been a little neglected. We will probably have to completely replace it in a few years, but for now it’s workable. We have to investigate why the one corner is sinking, but Dad and Dave are fairly sure they can jack it up and get it supported. That’s for after we move though.
In the meantime, I wanted to get the interior a little more usable.
I took this little panorama not long after we took possession.
It’s not great, but it gives you a sense of the interior. The porch is a good size – I haven’t measured it, but I’m guessing it’s at least 10ft square (maybe even bigger). There’s a door on either side (one onto the driveway (where the steps down are) and on the opposite side that leads to the fenced area. There’s also the door into the house. (Which you can’t see here).
As you can see, it was covered in that infamous green outdoor carpeting. Like everything in the house, it was well past its prime. That said, I wasn’t in a big rush to remove it (we have a lot of other priorities, as you’re aware). But then things got hot and humid…
… and all you could smell was urine. We know the previous owners had a dog, and I’m guessing it was allowed to go all over the porch. It was horrible. That carpet had to go. So while Dad and Dave worked away inside, I got on my leather work gloves and went to work…
Much like the carpet in the house, it wasn’t too bad to get up. It stunk, but at least there was no underpad! In short order, I had it all out of there and hauled to the dumpster. (If you ever have to do a reno like this… I can tell you, a dumpster rental is 100% worth the money!)
Underneath is a very thin particle board layer. And as you can see, it’s rotted away in a few spots (probably where the previous owner’s dog was peeing). Underneath that is a standard plank deck floor that appears to be in decent shape. However, Dad decided I should wait until we have more time before I went crazy, and ripped all the particle board off – just in case that deck floor isn’t in as good as shape as I think.
With that decided, there was nothing left to do but get my little plant friends all settled.
First, I loaded up my big wooden plant stand on the right side of the driveway door.
The cacti and succulents and smaller plants found space on the small metal plant stand on the left side of the driveway door.
I mentioned in a previous post that the previous owner was a big fan of nails… and as luck would have it, there were many nails throughout the sun porch in spots just perfect for hanging plants.
And off on the left side of the porch I lined up the pots too big for the stands. (They will be moved around once we get moved in and I get some furniture out here).
I was quite pleased with myself, and happy to see all my plant babies in their new home.
About an hour later, it was time to leave. While I was packing up stuff in the kitchen, Dad headed out to his truck. A few seconds later, he called my name…
As the driveway door closed behind him, there was a big crash. As I mentioned, the porch isn’t 100% level, and poor Dad thought the door banging closed knocked it over. But if you look closely, the shelves are flat… This unit is supposed to fold flat to make it easy to move. Unfortunately, it’s old and worn out, and the screws don’t just won’t stay tight to keep it upright (I didn’t realize this when I put the plants on it). It was probably just coincidence that it collapsed flat just as he left.
And while it looks REALLY bad in that picture, in truth it could have been much worse. A few pots are chipped or cracked, but they are inexpensive dollar store pots I can replace easily enough once we get settled. My poor little elephant broke in two (you can see his head lying there), but I’m pretty sure I can glue him back together. In the end, only one plant was beyond saving – a shamrock, and I have several of them. It was in a cute ceramic watering can pot (which was not a cheap dollar store find), and it’s been smashed to smithereens… but it could have been a lot worse!
Once we get settled, I’ll find a new plant stand (or two!)